Summary: This is a Word that lets us know that when God tells us to do something, we need to do it without delay. There is no substitute for God because there Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Baby!
When I think of the Sermonic Theme, I can’t help but think about a song that Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell sung years ago called, Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing Baby, Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing.
I was singing that song in Junior High School with no real meaning but little did I realize how true it was. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing. Jonah wasn’t singing that song but he soon found out that Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing. With that thought, that brings me to my first of two points.
Point #1: You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide
As we look at the story, Jonah was given an assignment by God Himself to go to a city by the name of Nineveh. He was to go to this city and proclaim, Thus Saith the Lord, because God was ready to bring down His judgment to the city.
Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire, and it was one of the most ancient cities of the world, and one of the largest. It is said that it was a three days’ journey in its circumference. Circumference is the distance around the edge of a circle. Now Nineveh had a large population. It was said that the population was somewhere around 2.5 – 3 million people.
Their wickedness had come up before God Himself. This is making evil personal. This is when evil is being sent personally from earth to heaven and it stands before the Almighty Judge.
It’s like saying, Yes I did wrong, now what are you going to do about it? I know I’m committing idolatry, so what. I took his wife and I don’t care. I raped his children and if I get another chance, I’ll do it again.
This was the attitude of the people in this great city. Now for those that were trying to live right, they were under such great influence that they too were beginning to slip into darkness.
If we were to take a snap shot of that city named Nineveh, it was a mirrored image of the well-known city called Sodom and Gomorrah. The people of the city were full of sin. All kinds of sins were taking place such as adultery, homosexuality, murders, idolatry, fornication, bestiality, stealing, cheating, spousal abuse, pornography (Greek word is Porne’), etc. What ever came to their sinful minds was a go.
Jonah didn’t want the assignment that God had given him. Jonah felt that God should just wipe out the entire population in Nineveh. His feelings were that they did not deserve to live. Jonah really felt that God should kill them all and call it the day. Jonah had already made it up in his mind that he was taking another route.
He was determined that he was not going to the city of Nineveh. He went to Joppa for passage on a ship and found one that was headed for the city of Tarshish.
He was running from God. Little did Jonah realize is that you can run, but you can’t hide. I don’t know about you my brothers and my sisters, but I have had my day of running from God. I could run, but I couldn’t hide.
As the ship left the port, Jonah went below deck and went to sleep. God caused a fierce storm to come at sea. The winds blew and the waves rolled with great force.
The captain of the ship having experience with being in a storm, he commanded his crew to throw the cargo overboard to make the ship lighter which would help the ship stay afloat.
The captain along with his crew began to pray to their different gods for help. Nothing to their avail was working. The crew of the ship was horrified and knew they were at their doom.
But the captain went down below deck to where Jonah was sleeping. He asked Jonah how could you sleep while this storm is raging. Aren’t you afraid that we all could perish? I think it’s time you call on your god. Maybe your god will have mercy on us and not let us perish out here at sea.
They began to cast lots among themselves and God made it so that the lot fell on Jonah. They began to question Jonah about himself. They asked Jonah what country was he from, what did he do, and who are your people?
Jonah had to confess. He told the crew that he was Hebrew and that he worship the God of heaven who made the land and the sea.
They wanted to know what had he done to offend his God.
He told the crew he was running from God. The sea began to get worse and the crew began to get more worried. They asked Jonah what should we do with you? Jonah told them to throw him into the sea.