Summary: This is a message about grace and purpose and how that God desires for you to get where he wants you to go more than you want to get where he wants you to go. Your mistakes doesn’t limit God’s ability to use you.
*Turn with me in your Bible to the book of Jonah. While you are turning there, let me say:
1. The best perspective that we can have on how to live as followers of Christ is through the
lens of the scripture.
A. Any understanding that we think that we have gained outside of the scripture must be
weighed against the truth of the scripture.
1. What I mean by that is; it is an easy temptation for us to build our understanding of
who we think God is or isn’t based on our experiences.
2. But the problem with that is that God has clearly told us that His ways are not our
ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.
3. So there may be times that we might consider something right/good where God
may consider it wrong/evil.
a. Thank God we have His Word that speaks to every issue of life…
B. I am thankful for stories like Jonah b/c it gives us a clearer picture of who God is but it
also gives us a look at the lives of those who either obey or disobey God and the result of
that action. And I believe that it is God’s intent for us to learn from it.
Illus: You know something that I have never understood, and maybe you know people like this; but have you ever had someone try something, like some type of food or drink and then they are like, “Ugh. That tastes gross. Here try this.” (My wife – weird organic drink)
1. I believe that the story of Jonah exists to teach us several points on how we should
view God and how we should live our lives.
C. Now I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the story of Jonah:
1. But it is a very short story. It is only 4 chapters, 48 verses, just over 1300 words.
You can read it in less than 15 minutes.
2. Now just to give you a brief synopsis of the story; God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh
and to preach to them. But instead he gets on a boat, heads the opposite direction.
3. Then a storm comes, there’s a discussion among the crew about the cause of the
storm, they determine Jonah is the problem, and so they throw him overboard.
4. Then he is swallowed by a fish, he prays in the belly of the fish, the fish spits him
out, then he goes to Nineveh and preaches to them.
5. The Ninevites are very receptive to his message and repent from their evil. And
then the story ends with Jonah so depressed he wants to kill himself.
6. A quite interesting story!
*Now in case you are wondering, what points could you possibly pull from this story that has anything to do with everyday life? Well there is actually enough here to do a whole series, but before we get to the points let me first say:
D. I believe that the story of Jonah was a real historical event.
1. I say that b/c many teach that the story of Jonah was simply an allegory.
a. And some people get tied up on whether a person could really live in the stomach of
a whale for 3 days or not. But what they fail to factor in is God.
b. So the question shouldn’t be; is it possible for a man to live for 3 days in the belly
of a whale but rather is it possible for God to do a miracle?
c. The bible says that God appointed the fish to swallow him and that God spoke to the
fish to tell it to vomit him.
d. So if you deny that this story happened as the author says it happened then what
about all the other stories? If you deny this one, then aren’t you denying all the
others with miraculous elements in them?
e. And if you deny this one but affirm others, aren’t you essentially picking and
choosing which ones you want to believe?
2. But Jonah was a real prophet. He is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25 as the prophet during
the reign of King Jeroboam. At this time the kingdom was divided in two:
a. Israel, which was the northern kingdom. And Judah, which was the southern
kingdom. King Amaziah was over Judah and King Jeroboam was over Israel.
b. Now King Jeroboam was an evil king but he did follow Jonah the prophet’s word
from God to restore the border of Israel. So we know that Jonah didn’t just
graduate from the school of the prophets when the story that we all know comes
onto the scene.
c. Also we learn in that passage that Jonah is from Gath-hepher, which us just outside