Summary: An examination of Jonah’s first call and the God Who called.
Jonah’s First Call Jonah 1:1, 2
INTRO.: As a boy, if I asked permission to go somewhere when it was close to mealtime, my mother would often say, I’m only going to call you once,” or “Don’t make me call you twice.” I knew, if she stuck her head out the door and called, I better be close enough to hear her and be listening. Otherwise, my family would eat without me.
Jonah was fortunate enough to receive two calls from God: one before his submarine ride and one after. He would have done well not to make God call twice, because by the time Jonah received his second call, God made sure he was ready to heed the call, even though he didn’t agree with God.
Let’s see what we can learn from Jonah’s first call:
I. The God who calls:
A. ILLUS.: The New Testament story of Ananias and Sapphira proves He is a God Who takes note of sin.
1. He saw the sin of Nineveh. “its wickedness has come up before me." Jonah 1:2
2. He sees the wickedness in our land. Babies killed before they see the light, sexual perversion running wild, welfare fraud that abuses the poor, political corruption, etc.
3. He sees the secret sins in which we indulge.
B. He warns us against such sin in Heb. 10:26, 27
1. Just as He warned Nineveh in Jonah’s day. 1:1 & 3:4
2. He loves us and would rather not send His wrath, so He sends warnings and gives opportunities to repent.
3. We see things happening in our world today that should give us warning of wrath to come.
4. It is the task of His Church to preach God’s message of love and repentance, warning sinners of wrath to come.
C. What would have happened if the people of Nineveh had not repented? We serve a God Who will judge.
1. They would have been destroyed like the people of Noah’s day.
2. Or like Sodom and Gomorrah in Abraham’s day.
3. Or like Jerusalem after they rejected and crucified Jesus.
4. Or like us, if we reject His loving provision. Acts 17:31
D. But, they did repent and God forgave them. 3:10
1. Because we serve a God of compassion Who would much rather not destroy His people.
2. The cripple lowered through the roof needed forgiveness and found it in Jesus. We see the compassion of God in Jesus. Mark 2:5
3. Forgiveness is available to us when we turn to Jesus and confess our need. I John 1:9.
4. We serve a God Who will forgive.
II. The call of God:
A. Jonah was God’s choice for the task at hand.
1. Remember the story of Moses’ call. He mustered up every excuse available and finally pleaded,"O Lord, please send someone else to do it." Ex 4:13
2. Jonah proved God would settle for no one else. He wanted “Jonah, the Son of Amittai.
3. God may lay a special task on your heart. If so, you are His choice. He will bless you in the accomplishment of that task.
4. Don’t make Him call twice.
B. ILLUS.: Many missionaries and Bible teachers could make more money in secular work, but sacrifice time and wealth because they feel the call of God to a particular field of service.
1. Jonah might have been content to stay in Judah and preach. He was strongly nationalistic.
2. But, God chose Nineveh as his “field.”
3. Sometimes God puts us in places or situations uncomfortable to us. He may be working to accomplish great things through us.
4. As the song says, “brighten the corner where you are.”
C. The Apostle Paul declared, “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Cor 2:2. God had given him one message to preach and he preached it.
1. God told Jonah what to say. 1:1, 3:1-4.
2. God has given us a message to share with the world. The message of salvation through Jesus.
3. Every Christian needs to be ready with this message. I Pet. 3:15
4. Whatever task God has called me to, my primary aim must be to let that message shine out.
CONC.: Jonah was a rebellious reluctant preacher. He preached to people he hated and feared, a hostile audience He preached a negative message. When they heard and heeded him, he became angry and resentful. Everything was against him.
Yet, by God’s power, he accomplished the salvation of a city. Does it make you wonder what God could do through a people committed to His mission and preaching His message from a heart of love?
Does it make you wonder what God could do through you? Or what He may even be doing through you? Wherever you are, however you feel, walk with God and He will bless you and others through you.