Summary: The story of Jonah, who was called by God, but ultimately leaves a shameful legacy. How do we avoid a legacy of bitterness?
What are the experiences in life that can cause us to become bitter?
How do we avoid a legacy of bitterness?
1. When God speaks act first and ask questions later.
1:1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
a. What are ways we hear from God?
Invite congregation to call out ways we can hear from God.
b. Understanding and further insight always follows faith and obedience.
John 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him." NIV
How do we avoid a legacy of bitterness?
2. Look for God in the storms.
Jonah 1:4-17 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish."
7 Then the sailors said to each other, "Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 So they asked him, "Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?"
9 He answered, "I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the 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.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?"
12 "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he replied, "and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you."
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried to the LORD, "O LORD, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O LORD, have done as you pleased." 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.
Jonah 2:1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.
a. There are two kinds of storms, those that are caused by God and those that are allowed by God.
b. What is my storm? ask them to write this down
c. What is God trying to say to me in my storm?
d. What is God trying to change in me in my storm?
e. How does God want to use me in my storm?
3. Embrace God’s grace toward others.
Jonah 3:7-10 Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish."
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. NIV
a. Who are the people we love to hate?
“Why don’t you work in my life like you work in theirs?!”