Summary: When we make the wrong choice God does not give up on us but brings us back to Him.
THE CHASE IS ON!
1. Ann and I like to watch shows that challenge the mind, like Cash Cab and The Chase. The Chase is a quiz show hosted by Brooke Burns, and features Mark Labbett (nicknamed "The Beast") as the "chaser". He chases people in order to crush their hopes of going home with some money.
At 6 ft. 6 in. 380 lbs. and with a nasty disposition, the Beast is intimidating.
2. What a contrast with God, when we rebel against Him, He also says, “The Chase is on!” But not to blast us but to bless us. The good news is that God pursues Jonah. He does not let him go and start looking for another prophet who will obey Him, or God could have let the rebellious prophet drown, but instead He goes after Jonah, in order to rescue him, and give him another chance. God never gave up on Jonah, and He will never give up on us (Heb. 13:5-6).
One of my favorite books in the Old Testament is the book of Hosea. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute. He did, loved her and cared for her, but then, one day she just left him. God told him to go get her, bring her back and he found her on the slave block. He had to buy her, taker her back and love her as if she had never deserted him. God says that is the kind of love God has for His people.
I told my wife, if she ever leaves me, I am going with her! I learned that from my heavenly Father.
Trans: We have seen Jonah’s Chance, his wrong Choice, and now the Chase. Jonah 1:4. God’s Word is clear, His love is unconditional, eternal, and the basis of our confidence. Jonah fled but Jehovah followed! He always does!
See Isa. 49:15-16/Jer. 31:3/John 13:1/Rom. 8:39/Eph. 3:17-18/1 Jn. 4:18.
C. The Chase is on. 1:4-16
1. The Lord’s Storm. 4
a. God’s Sovereignty.
4 The LORD hurled – this is a strong word, in the modern Hebrew the word is used for a missile!
The root twl (“ hurl, send, throw”) is first used in this verse and three additional times in chapter 1, increasing the sense of power and danger in the situation: 1: 4: Yahweh sent a great wind on the sea. 1: 5: [The sailors] threw the cargo into the sea. 1: 12: “Throw me into the sea,” he replied. 1: 15: [The sailors] threw him overboard.
Colin Smith notes, “Literally, Jonah tells us, God ‘hurled’ this wind, as if He had thrown it out from heaven with His own hand. You could hardly have a clearer or more dramatic picture of God’s direct intervention. Storms don’t happen by chance. God sustains all things by His powerful word (Heb. 1: 3). The wind and the waves obey Him (Mark 4: 41). That means that storms, floods, landslides, volcanoes and earthquakes happen by God’s decree.
God’s sovereignty is seen in nature.
• God controls the Weather.
I was reminded of something I read, a dense fog halted all flights from the big airport. The lobby soon filled with passengers eager to be on their way. Most of them philosophically accepted the airlines’ obvious explanation about the fog. However, one extremely wealthy woman, used to getting her own way refused to be satisfied. Taking a position directly in front of the counter, she rejected all efforts of a young assistant manager to explain the delay. Finally she said, “Young man, I don’t believe you know what you are talking about. I insist on speaking to the person responsible for delaying my flight.” In a voice loud enough for everyone to hear, the young man said into his telephone, “Hello, operator, would you connect this party with Extension One in Heaven?”
• God controls the Disaster.
Notice Jonah 3:10, which again attributes calamity to God!
Sadly, we have many Christians, even preachers, who refuse to see God’s sovereign hand in disasters because they lack God’s wisdom to see how it will fit into God’s eternal plan.
On March 1, 1997, a series of tornadoes swept through Arkansas, killing twenty-six people and resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. To protect disaster victims, the Arkansas legislature passed a bill that would bar insurance companies from canceling the coverage of storm victims, and sent the bill to Governor Mike Huckabee for his signature. To the surprise of the legislators, however, the governor refused to sign it, objecting to one phrase in the bill. The New York Times reported:
"Mr. Huckabee said that signing the legislation 'would be violating my own conscience' inasmuch as it described a destructive and deadly force as being 'an act of God.'...He suggested that the phrase 'acts of God' be changed to 'natural disasters.'"