Summary: A sermon to show the folly of disobeying God.
“Jonah, The Defiant Disciple”
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
I. Jonah’s Direction
a. The character of the man
Jonah (a dove) is probably the first Hebrew prophet and was from the tribe of Zebulun in Galilee. He lived and ministered during the reign of Jeroboam II. Jonah has been ridiculed and treated as a mythical character most particularly because of what happens to him at the end of chapter one but Jesus believed him to be a historic person as proven by the references in, Matthew 12:39-40, Luke 11:29 and the reference to him in 2 Kings 14:25.
b. The call to his mission
Jonah is called to go to the city of Ninevah which was approximately 500 miles beyond the bounds of Israel and call them to repentance. The Ninevites were a particularly cruel and barbaric people to the Jews primarily because they were Gentiles, they had been used by God to bring judgment on the Jews and the mistaken isolationist notion that salvation was for the Jews alone.
II. Jonah’s Disobedience
a. The problem in focus
Jonah’s real problem was his concept of God. It was under developed. Jonah saw God as a being with influence and power limited to a certain geographical area (a concept that was common among the idol worshipping nations that surrounded Israel) therefore he sought to get as far away from his God as possible. In this case, 2,500 miles from his home to Tarshish (located on the coast of Southern Spain) and 3,000 miles from Ninevah, so he boarded a ship at the port of Joppa.
b. The price of the fare
The text says that “…he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it…” Defiance always costs us something. In Jonah’s case the price for his disobedience is affliction and suffering. It’s ironic that we have to take the medicine and pay for it too! This is true in Jonah’s case for the medicine for him was suffering and affliction and he had to pay to have it!
III. Jonah’s Discipline
III - Roger Staubach who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in ’71 admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run and only in emergency situations could he change the play (and he had better be right!). Even though Roger considered coach Landry to have a "genius mind" when it came to football strategy, pride said that he should be able to run his own team. Roger later said, "I faced up to the issue of obedience. Once I learned to obey there was harmony, fulfillment, and victory."
a. There a powerful storm
The Lord sent a “great wind” and a “mighty tempest” so great that the ship was in danger of breaking up! Most likely this storm had hurricane force winds and waves taller than a two story building. This storm was probably very similar to the “Eurocyldon” mentioned by Paul in the book of Acts that sank the ship he was on.
I have also found that God has a discipline to match our disobedience. If our defiance is great then the discipline will be designed to match our defiance.
THE REFINER'S FIRE
III - The story is told of a group of women that met for Bible study. While studying in the book of Malachi, chapter three, they came across verse three which says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered how this statement applied to the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out more about the process of refining silver, and to get back to the group at their next Bible study. The following week, the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him while at work. She didn’t mention anything about the reason for her interest, beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith work, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire, where the flames were the hottest as to burn away all the impurities. The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot, then she thought again about the verse, that "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the entire time the silver was being refined. The man answered yes, that not only did he have to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on it the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "But how do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that’s easy--when I see my image in it."