Summary: God molds and shapes the human heart to see the end of the foolish paths we choose for ourselves in opposition to his purposes.
“Call me Ishmael” (Moby Dick)
In the great novel by Melville, the sermon preached in the chapel, the preacher said:
’Shipmates, this book, containing only four chapters -- four yarns -- is one of the smallest strands in the mighty cable of the Scriptures. Yet what depths of the soul does Jonah’s deep sealine sound! what a pregnant lesson to us is this prophet! What a noble thing is that canticle in the fish’s belly! How billow- like and boisterously grand! We feel the floods surging over us; we sound with him to the kelpy bottom of the waters; sea-weed and all the slime of the sea is about us!
As sinful men, it is a lesson to us all, because it is a story of the sin, hard-heartedness, suddenly awakened fears, the swift punishment, repentance, prayers, and finally the deliverance and joy of Jonah. As with all sinners among men, the sin of this son of Amittai was in his wilful disobedience of the command of God -- never mind now what that command was, or how conveyed -- which he found a hard command. But all the things that God would have us do are hard for us to do -- remember that -- and hence, he oftener commands us than endeavors to persuade. And if we obey God, we must disobey ourselves; and it is in this disobeying ourselves, wherein the hardness of obeying God consists.
GOD BROUGHT JONAH TO YIELD TO HIS WILL. This is a study of the doctrine of repentance. In the past, the Reformed Church has confessed:
Second Helvetic Confession (Swiss) Bullinger
What Is Repentance? By repentance we understand (1) the recovery of a right mind in sinful man awakened by the Word of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit, and received by true faith, by which the sinner immediately acknowledges his innate corruption and all his sins accused by the Word of God; and (2) grieves for them from his heart, and not only bewails and frankly confesses them before God with a feeling of shame, but also (3) with indignation abominates them; and (4) now zealously considers the amendment of his ways and constantly strives for innocence and virtue in which conscientiously to exercise himself all the rest of his life.
Heidelberg Q88: In how many things does true repentance or conversion consist? A88: In two things: the dying of the old man, and the making alive of the new.
Q89: What is the dying of the old man? A89: Heartfelt sorrow for sin, causing us to hate and turn from it always more and more.
Q90: What is the making alive of the new man? A90: Heartfelt joy in God through Christ, causing us to take delight in living according to the will of God in all good works.
God grants repentance but that repentance is brought through a variety of means.
REPENTANCE THROUGH ABANDON 1:12
REPENTANCE THROUGH AFFLICTION 1:17, 2:2
REPENTANCE THROUGH ACCEPTANCE 2:9
1) SEEK REPENTANCE THROUGH ABANDON 1:12
ADULTS, FATHERS, MOTHERS, YOUTH, CHILDREN
self abandonment - surrender - self divesting
God molds and shapes the human heart to see the end of the foolish paths we choose for ourselves in opposition to his purposes.
When still green it is like a persimmon. It may result in bitterness and irrational action.
It does not appear that Jonah’s first step of repentance was very ripe.
11 Then they said to him, "What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?" -- for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12 And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me."
13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.
14 Therefore they cried out to the LORD and said, "We pray, O LORD, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You."
15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the LORD and took vows.
2 SEEK REPENTANCE THROUGH AFFLICTION 1:17, 2:2
17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
NKJ Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish’s belly.
2 And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.