Summary: This is a message of the price Jonah paid to flee from God, and the counterinsurgency by God to deal with his rebellion
Jonah Fleeing from the Presence of God
Text: Jonah 1:1-17
(Note to pastors, powerpoint with images available, contact me firstname.lastname@example.org)
The book of Jonah has a lot of unexpected twists in it.
Last week we talked about how Jonah fled from the call of God, for among other reasons the difficulty of what God was asking. He was called to go to a nation that was a sworn enemy of his own, tell them they were about to be destroyed, and the journey alone would have taken more than a month through some of the harshest wilderness on earth. Reminds me of a popular song with this line in it:
Nobody said it would be easy,
Nobody said it would be so hard.
The challenge of the message last week is the question of whether or not we only follow God when it is convenient, or do we simply excuse ourselves from the will of God when the request is demanding of a pound of flesh.
Often parents will send a note to school Please excuse...
God never accepts notes of this sort, because He knew everything about your life when He sent the summons for you to show up.
Jesus tells a parable of an invitation to a feast and how people made excuse to not show up. Most of us don’t use excuses for the feasts but the excuses really start to fly when God asks us to show up at an event we don’t like. Too often we are more like Jonah than we care to admit, and that is probably why this book is in the bible. To speak to the rebellious side of His servants.
Today we are going to talk about Jonah fleeing from the presence of the Lord again, this time we will be honing in on
The Cost to Jonah and
The Counterinsurgency by God
First lets talk about what it cost Jonah to flee from the presence of God
First it cost him:
(PPT of face with tear)
1. The smile on God’s face
We hardly ever think of sin in the terms of its effect on God as our Father. What parent has not known the anxiety of pacing the floor when a child is out of contact for even a short while. How much more is a parents agony if a child is not serving the Lord. Sleep flees from our eyes, gut wrenching sobs are poured out before the Lord. We all can relate to the agony of youth, she loves me, she loves me not, it is the same and even worse when a parent struggles with their child’s walk with God. Every whisper in that direction is a "he loves God petal," every indiscretion is a "he loves him not." The lot of a parent of a wayfaring child is a tortured lot. We can all relate to Job, the greatest of all human sufferers:
Job 1:5 And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings [according to] the number of them all; for Job said, "Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did continually.
When we flee from the presence of God, one of the things we cause to be lost, is the smile on God’s face. That thought alone should cut a backslider to the heart.
The second thing Jonah’s sin cost him was:
2. The Peace in his own heart
(PPT image: broken heart)
Joh 14:27 "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
The bible talks about a peace that passes all understanding, it is a peace, a rest if you will that comes from God. Only the redeemed know it. It is a sense of right standing before God, no it is more than that, it is an inner sensation that God is pleased with you.
Jonah lost that, and instead he traded for a spirit of conviction. A conscience that hounded him every chance he got. That is why Jonah rose to flee from the presence of the Lord. He could deal with the sin he was happy to commit, but he could not deal with the voice that nagged him, and told him of the wrongness of what he was doing.
When a person succeeds in shutting off his conscience there is no telling the horrors of what he is capable of.
Your conscience is a precious gift from God. The first casualty you will meet if you fail to listen to it, is the peace in your own heart.