Summary: In the book of Jonah we come to an age old crisis as we walk with Jonah and deal with the same question he dealt with. Will I put my trust in God? How will my life testify to my trust?
A TESTAMENT OF TRUST
The foundation that we would like the world to be built on is trust.
It is the thing that we are asked to do, probably more than anything else.
It is also the thing that is abused more than anything else in the world.
How many times have you heard the words "trust me".
A used car salesman bought some bales of hay once and put some of it in the trunk of the cars he was selling.
He told prospective buyers that his cars were owned by little old ladies who only used them to drive to church on Sunday and lived on a farm during the week.
I met a guy on a city street who rolled up his sleeve and tried to sell me one of the watches on his arm.
They are twenty bucks, and they are not stolen.
He was picked up the next day with stolen watches.
A mother is trying to get a young child to take cough medicine.
She tells him it tastes good.
Someone is going to invest your life savings in a land deal.
All the ocean front property you want.
You just have to be off it when the tide comes in.
He’s got a great deal, Trust me!
A man takes the witness stand in a courtroom on Los Angeles.
He promises to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing bu the truth.
In other words he is saying TRUST ME!!
State your name for the record.
Everywhere we turn we hear people say trust me.
And they betray our trust.
Given the circumstances of our day, it is no wonder the world is skeptical when the church goes to them and says: TRUST ME.
Everytime evangelists like Billy Graham face the world and ask them to "trust me", when the gospel is preached, we are asking them to do something that they are being culturlaly trained not to do.
We are not the first to see this
The attempt to trust goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.
It is also a key concept in the story of Jonah.
Our record of Jonah goes back to II kings 14:25 where we are introduced to him as the son of Amittai, during the reign of Jeroboam II.
The time of his writing is set at 775 - 750 B.C.
This would be at around the time of Amos and Hosea, just before the fall of Israel in 721 B.C.
In fact Jonah would have prophecied during the last positive times of Israel.
Now it would be easy to prophecy to a people about things that are good.
But Jonah was to be sent to a city where the peole were powerful and wicked.
Sin was the order of the day in Ninevah.
The lessons of Jonah are unique in that they centre on the prophet and not on the people.
Basically the people hear and obey.
The one with the problems is Jonah.
The people had no problem when Jonah told them "trust me."
Jonah on the other hand had several problems when God said to him "trust me".
The interesting thing is that it is no different now than it was then.
We all have problems when God says to us "trust me"
Does He not instruct us to trust Him when He teaches us to pray: "Give us this day our daily bread."
Is it not true, that in times of crisis, we depend on our own strength, and then turn to God, when we are told that all that can humanly be done has been done?
Isn’t that the Lesson of 1 Corinthains 1:27,28.
God displays His strength in the things we are too weak to do, because in our strength we do not depend on him.
Today, we are not going to get caught up in the interpretative details of the book.
The historical details of the book have no relevance to the theology of the book.
The book can be divided into four parts:
1. The first call to Jonah
2. The second call to Jonah
3. Ninevah’s reaction to Jonah’s message
4. Jonah’s reaction to Ninevah.
The First Call Of Jonah:
God has often called people to go and do those things which doesn’t seem logical (in human terms)
Jonah was no exception.
For an Israelite to go to Nineveh would be very unpopular indeed.
Israel at one time paid tribute to Assyria.
Jonah also would know of the suffering at the hands of the Assyrians.
Nineveh was the capital of Assyria.
Nineveh was itself was a very great city.
It had a population of over 600,00 people.
The city was over sixty miles through. Jonah 3:3 tells us that the city was three days journey through.