Summary: This message is all about running outside of the will of God for our lives it looks at the symptoms to be found within the individual the consequnces that take place around us and the remedy to be administered.
Jonah Chapter 1: 1 17. Hide and seek
Do you remember the children’s game hide and seek..... did you ever get such a good hiding place nobody ever caught you maybe you did? This opening chapter of Jonah is all about the Christian game of hide and seek - Jonah tries to get into such a good hiding place that God won’t bother Him anymore... which involves him continually going down to Joppa, going down below deck, eventually going down to the bottom of the sea.
When you consider trying to hide from God it’s ridiculous when you think about it... (Omniscient, omnipresent omnipotent God) Yet Jonah does exactly that. It’s a bit like when you play hide and seek with a little two year old and they hide behind the curtain /behind daddy leg) God wanted Jonah for a special task (Nineveh) but Jonah was a reluctant prophet, he goes in the opposite direction he chooses to disobey rather than obey God.
A reluctant Christian
But how many times have we tried to hide from God, Maybe God has laid something on your hearts yet we’ve been reluctant to obey what he wants us to do ( for Jonah it was a people group he hated) Just because we don’t want to do it.... doesn’t mean its not the will of God for You. So Jonah begins a downward spiral it’s called backsliding.
Like Jonah we are not immune from this downward spiral of backsliding, we often take our lives into a different direction – I believe there are countless Christians living a life that is continually running and hiding from God in disobedience. (I BELILEVE WE ALL DO) often unmoved, indifferent to what God wants for our lives.
(We know it here in our minds - but fail to experience it in here our hearts and so neglect living it out because we are unwilling to say not my will but your will be done ) If that’s you, you need to stop running because God often has a way of bringing you round to his way of thinking. The saying is true we can run, but we cannot hide and at some point we all need to start touching base with God.
That’s exactly where we find Jonah, playing hide and seek with God, unwilling to touch base with God. But Jonah will come to learn the truth that you can run but you cannot hide from God. And He will learn some valuable personal lessons about Himself and about the God whom he is to serve. And so I hope each one of us too will learn and apply some valuable lessons as we travel through the book of Jonah and we too will touch base with God.
1. V 1- 3. Jonah runs. (from the will of God).
Background and setting : Jonah son of Amittai was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam 2nd his ministry span around d 40 years form 793-753 BC Jonah was in a privileged position. He was probably also connected to the company of prophets that was connected with Elisha ministry 2King 2:3. It was probably the first prophetic Bible college
V1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah: As a Prophet the word of the Lord came directly to him v1 but it wasn’t the first time either the word of the Lord had come before 2King 14:25 here he would announce God’s message of blessing on a people who were completely undeserving the nation of Israel. This was during a time when the King did evil in the eyes of the Lord 2King.14:24 and yet land would be restored. The Lord’s compassion was demonstrated towards them v27 even without repentance, yet the nation continued in their Idolatry, power seeking, selfishness and greed.
• The first message goes like this “this Church is going to continue to grow in 2008 – were going to be blessed of God – membership is going to double in 2008 - everybody will be prosperous. Many people will come to know the Lord and be baptised. The Church is going to know great days of revival God is going to show compassion despite our sin. That exactly what happened in Israel no wonder Jonah shared that message who wouldn’t?
But the Word of the Lord comes to Jonah again with a 2nd assignment is the exact opposite go to that city of Nineveh (heathen, Gentiles) and tell the people to repent if they do not destruction will come... This time Jonah doesn’t like what he has been told so he runs away from the Lord and headed for Tarshih, he went down to Joppa.
But let’s face it who wants to share a message like (Repent or be destroyed) to a ruthless people like that? As far as Jonah was concerned they were enemies of God who were ruthless towards their enemies: Heads would be cut off and paraded around the city walls of Ninevah on poles. No wonder Jonah ran in the opposite direction. It’s a bit like God calling you to go to Afghanistan and preach to the Taliban calling them to repent and turn to Yahweh But do you know that is exactly what God has called some Christians to do.