Summary: In this sermon we look at three points about God: 1. God Shows Jonah His SOVEREIGNTY 2. God Shows Jonah His PERSISTENCE 3. God Shows Jonah His COMPASSION

Great God's - Great Fish

Do you recall that back in the first sermon in the series I mentioned - Jonah is not the hero of the story. God is!

At the beginning of the story Jonah is running from God; at the end of the story Jonah is arguing with God. In between Jonah is praying to God and Jonah is preaching for God. But through it all - keep in mind - Jonah is not the hero of the story. God is!

The story of Jonah is a story about a God who wants to see people saved. It is a story of a God who will reach to the ends of the earth to ensure that people hear of His great love and forgiveness. It is a story about a God who is concerned about the people in the city of Nineveh and His desire is to save them. Folks here is a fact:

God Always Wants To Save People

God is in the saving business. That is why God sends Jonah to Nineveh. He wants to see them saved. John chapter three tells us this:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not PERISH, but have eternal life."

John 3:16 (NASB)

God doesn't want anyone to perish - He wants everyone saved.

The story of Jonah also tells us that God shows compassion for prodigal sons and daughters who run away from Him. God never gives up on Jonah, not even when Jonah runs away from God. Not even when Jonah is disobedient. Not even when Jonah sits under a vine and pouts because he's mad at God.

The verse that we are going to look at today - proves this point. Follow along with me as I read verse seventeen:

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 1:17 (NASB)

This is the part of the story we know best. Jonah has run from God. Jonah has been thrown overboard. Now, Jonah gets swallowed by a great fish. From this verse I want us to look at three points:

1. God Shows Jonah His SOVEREIGNTY

Note that the text doesn’t say the Lord “created” a great fish. It says that God “appointed” a great fish. The great fish already existed and God gave it a mission.

Notice that our text does not use the word "whale". Yes we have been taught that in Sunday School - but that is not what the Bible says. The Bible says it was a fish. It doesn’t say it was a whale. It could have been a whale - but we don’t know for sure. You see the focus of the story is not on the fish - it is on the sovereignty of God.

"The LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah."

Jonah 1:17a (NASB)

Did the fish just happen to be swimming in the area of the water that Jonah got thrown into. No! "The LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah." It wasn't just good luck. It wasn't just coincidence. It wasn't just a fluke. The salvation of Jonah at this point is based on the actions of God. Folks here is a fact:

God Saved Jonah

Did the fish have a part in it? You bet it did!

I can almost imagine the conversation that went on between the Lord and the fish.

Lord says to the great fish; “I’ve got a job for you.”

The great fish replies; “Yes sir.”

God: "I want you to sallow a fellow for me."

Fish: "Yes sir."

God: "Now no chewing. No biting. You need to sallow him whole."

Fish: "Yes sir."

God: "Now I'll give you the exact GPS coordinates. Do you know where that is?"

Fish: "Yes sir."

God: "You will need to be there at a precise time, on a precise day, at a precise location. Do you think you can handle it?"

Fish: "Yes sir."

God: "Good let's go for it."

"The LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah."

Jonah 1:17a (NASB)

Folks here is an interesting aspect of the story:

The Fish Obeys God Better Than Jonah Did

God wanted Jonah to head for Nineveh - Jonah ran in the opposite direction - Jonah headed for Tarshish. The fish swam to the exact place where he was needed to be. And because the fish is there - Jonah's life is spared. He was there in the right place at the right time.

Point two:

2. God Shows Jonah His PERSISTENCE

God told Jonah, “Go to Nineveh.”

Jonah said, “I think I’ll go to Tarshish instead."

In other words God said, “Go east.”

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Daniel Heaberlin

commented on Jan 22, 2015

Great stuff Tom!

Tom Shepard

commented on Feb 1, 2015

Thank you.

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