Summary: You see Saints we can go kicking and screaming into Gods service whining and complaining or we can go willingly and immediately with enthusiasm and joy. What is the condition of your heart?
God is calling You Now as Time is Short
Jonah 3:1-5, 10
In today’s scripture references we see two ways that people respond to Gods call to follow Him.
We have the Old Testament account of Jonah who was a man that followed God but who did not willingly answer The Call of God. What I want to do today is to compare Jonah and his reaction to The Call of God on his life to that of the first Disciples and The Call that Jesus had on their lives.
It may be a very obvious conclusion but we need to be reminded of the two very simple choices we have when God Calls us to His work.
We can say Yes Lord here am I send me or we can say No Lord I’m not interested in what you want me to be a part of ask someone else.
Jonah as we know first refused Gods call and tried to run away from God.
Why do you think that was?
Did Jonah have a problem with the people of Nineveh?
Did Jonah dislike traveling by sea?
Did Jonah feel unqualified?
We learn that Jonah was already a follower of God and that he was on the run.
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.
It is not until chapter four that we discover Jonah’s reasons for running away from The Call of God.
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
2 He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
3 Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah was not upset with the people of Nineveh particularly but he did have an issue with Gods character. Jonah knew that God was compassionate and gracious abounding in love even to people who did not deserve it.
Jonah needed to be reminded that he was one of those people.
For that reason God had a great fish swallow him up for three days and nights. What a nasty way to learn a lesson.
You see Jonah was by his own admission a Hebrew and a follower of God.
Like many of us Jonah was only willing to follow God so far.
God had to remind Jonah just how far away his thinking and attitude had separated him from the fallen people all around him and how far away his heart was from the things of God.
The nasty time spent inside the fish got Jonah to praying and reflecting on his relationship with God and his relationship to other people.
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”
Jonah got the message. It was about salvation.
God could have sent the message to the people of Nineveh by Himself but He wanted Jonah to see them first hand. Our Heavenly Father wants us to be a part of His plan in reaching others. God wants us in ministry with Him. Directly not indirectly. God is all about reaching people and we are invited to be a part of His ministry of salvation.
Fast forward to Jesus and the first Disciples and we see men who are also Hebrews and who have already been followers of God most of their lives.
In fact they made an effort to stay informed about the things of God as they went out into the desert to listen and follow what John the Baptist taught.
Many of us are like that today we are willing to go to church and even make an effort to go and listen to some guest speakers here and there. We think we are engaged and involved but just how engaged and involved are we willing to be?
John the Baptist pointed out someone who had come that was greater than he was. Someone called The Lamb of God. Jesus. John encouraged them to follow Jesus instead of him.