Summary: Sermon series on the Book of Jonah. Some of my resources come from John Hamby’s sermons as well as Jerry Giffords
“Returning to God”
“Cost and Consequences of Disobedience”
Jonah heard God’s call one day. It didn’t sit well with Jonah. This wasn’t what Jonah wanted to hear. The call of God for Jonah was to go over to Nineveh, the great capital city of the Assyrian Empire, a place quite unlike Jonah’s home and certainly not friendly to Jonah’s people. There Jonah was to tell the people of Nineveh that they were wrong. That is likely to get you yelled at, cursed and spit on – or worse killed. So Jonah did just about what most of us would do: he ran. Jonah ran as hard and as far as he could go in the other direction. Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid his fare and went on board, to go to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
He decided not to go to Nineveh but rather to flee from God. The last verse we examined (1:3) stated, “But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” This morning I want to resume our study by examining the cost and consequences of Jonah’s disobedience to God; for there will always be consequences for sin! This morning I want to draw four principles from Jonah’s experience.
I. God Loves You Too Much to Let You Remain Disobedient (v. 4)
“But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.” Jonah had chosen the path of disobedience and God would have been within his rights to have said, “Jonah, you have disobeyed me, and as such you have forfeited the right to be called my child. I am letting go!” But he did not do so.
I want us to notice the contrast between the first two words of verse three, (“But Jonah”) and the first three words of verse four, (“Then the Lord”). Jonah expressed his weak rebellion but God loved him too much to let him go. The Bible says that God sent the storm. This was not just an ordinary storm but a storm so “great” that even the veteran sailors were afraid.
We know that the LORD can calm the troubled waters of our lives, but have we ever stopped to think that He is the same LORD who can stir them up into a great frenzy. It all depends on whether He is in the boat with you or not. If He is in the boat then we can call out like the disciples when they found themselves in a storm, “Master save us.” But if He is not in the boat and you are running away from Him in disobedience, then what?
I want you to consider that, God took the call upon Jonah’s life so seriously that He would actually sink the ship on which the disobedient prophet was sailing if necessary, rather than let him continue on the path of disobedience. You see, God is too merciful and too loving to allow His children to drift into open rebellion without disciplining them. The Psalmist David wrote, (Psalm 119:67) “Before I was afflicted I went astray, But now I keep Your word.” (Psalm 119:71) “It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes.”
Some believers seem to think that they can go on and on in unrepented sin without the discipline of God but that is not what God’s word teaches. The principle concerning the discipline of God is found in Hebrews 12:9-11, “Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? (10) For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. (11) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” God cares so much that he disciplines us. This is what happened to Jonah. In fact if I were outside the will of God and felt no chastisement from him, I would begin to examine myself to see if I was indeed a child of God.
In Jonah’s life the Lord sent a storm. When storms break out in our lives we may blame God, when in reality it is our own disobedience that has led us into the middle of the storm. The Lord may use a storm to bring these things upon so that we will stop our defiance and run back to Him. So remember God Loves You To Much to Let You Alone AND…