Summary: A Wednesday night series of Messages from Jonah.
Being Called By God
* Of all the Old Testament Books, one of my favorites happens to be Jonah. There are many reasons why I like this book. One reason is that I love the honesty found in this book. God called Jonah to do a task that he didn’t really want to do so he (being a little like me) ran the other direction. This book serves as a reminder that, as a child of God, however determined, hard-headed, and stubborn I become that God can be just as determined, hard-headed, stubborn. I love the words found in chapter 3 and verse 1 where it says, “God called a second time.” While I could spend our time giving you all the other reasons I like Jonah, let me say this; I like the fact that God allowed this story to end without the “happily ever after” or the “obedient till death” storyline.
* Tonight we will take just a snippet of this book and who knows, we may develop into a multi-week study before it’s all over. (READ)
* Jonah is a prophet of God which is seemingly only mentioned one previous time in scripture. In 2 Kings 14 we find one little verse written about this man. It is obvious he is a real person. He is not a caricature, symbol, or even a made for Bible personage to teach us truth. He is a flesh and blood person just like you and me. This is important for us to believe and know because “God spoke to him” and put a call on the life of Jonah. Just like God speaks to all of His children. What is obvious is this; Jonah knew who was doing the talking. He was well acquainted with God and with hearing God’s voice. Question; Are you that acquainted with God’s voice? When He speaks can you discern His voice or are you confused about whose voice it is.
1. We must recognize the Call of God. God does call every believer but He doesn’t call ever believer to the same task. Remember, some of us are arms, eyes, ears, hands, fingers, and the like. God’s is speaking today just like He has always spoken to His own. Second Chronicles 15 tells us “He will be with us when we are with Him.”
* This tells me that me that we must be listening for Him so that we can listen to Him and know what He’s called us to do. Tonight, from verse 2 let me offer you some characteristics of God’s call.
a. God’s call REQUIRES ACTION. Better said, when God calls you, He calls you to be and do something. He wants you to be obedience and wants you to fulfill His assignment for you. Look at God’s words to Jonah; “Get Up & Go”. It only takes an elementary education to understand that these are action words. These words are indicative of almost every call God put on mankind. To Abram God said, “Go to a Land.” To Moses God said, “Go to Pharaoh”. To Aaron God said, “Go to Moses.” To the Children of Israel God said, “God possess the land.” To Joshua God said, “Go across Jordan.” This theme clearly runs throughout the pages of the Old Testament. Then Jesus picks up the theme in the New Testament and concluded His earthly ministry with “As you go.” A genuine call from God is a call to be (His person) and do (His bidding).
b. God’s call REVEALS FEAR. Have you ever given any real thought to why Jonah ran away? Did he hate God? Did he hate Nineveh? Did he really think God wouldn’t know what he did? Did he think he could get away? Actually some of these could be and are true, however, it could well be he was simply afraid. Jonah was not one of the “big gun”, “high powered”, TV type of prophet. He was basically a no name, a common person, just an ordinary guy. God called Him to go to the “Great City” of Nineveh and “cry against it.” Maybe Jonah wanted to see his grandkids grow up. He knew some of the leaders in that area of the world and how they dealt with outsiders and those who would speak against the government. Rulers like Sennacherib, Tiglath-Pileser, were killing people unmercifully. Some were being skinned alive, others filleted, and still others beheaded. Jonah could have been afraid to go to that area with a message from God because he, like us, wonder about God’s protection.
c. God’s call RISKS CONFRONTATION. Every true call of God involves risk of some kind. Think about this; God has come into this world in the person of Jesus Christ to redeem, reclaim, restore and reconcile mankind. In order to accomplish this, it is required that the forces of evil be confronted by the forces of righteousness. In the mix of it all, God has chosen His redeemed people, His chosen people, and His bride to do His work. By the very nature of our salvation and work, we will always confront this culture. Many do not want to be involved in this. Yes, they want people to say, “You sure do love God,” but to take up a spiritual sword and stand in the gap for God is not really something we are prepared to do. We desire a plush job, with an easy task, an optional participation schedule, and a “duck-out” clause if the going gets to tough. If you ask me, much of the modern day Christianity reminds me of Jonah. God has called us to be salt and light, He has called us to leave our comfort zones, He has called us to step out in faith and risk upsetting the apple cart and the truth is we, like Jonah have and are running in the other direction.