Summary: This message is about Jonah......man on the run !
Some things about Jonah we need to see, and learn for our own spiritual lives.
Jonah was born and raised in a little town named Gath-hepher which was about two miles from Nazareth. The time of his life and ministry is approx. 800 years before Christ. His ministry coincided with those of two other well known prophets.....Hosea, and Amos. Most of what we know about Jonah is found in the book bearing his name. We do know however from 2 Kings
14:25 that he was a servant, and prophet of the Lord who prophesied concerning the restoration of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. I would imagine that Jonah was well known and well liked due to the nature of his prophecy. Jonah had been faithful in the past, but faithfulness in the past does not guarantee the same in the future. Thus the need for perseverance, and progression in our spiritual lives, and in our relationship with the Lord.
I would imagine at one point....Jonah may have said the words that we have said.....nothing that I want do for the Lord......no place that I want go......no message that I want share !
But there comes the day when...
II. We See Jonah Fleeing From The Presence.
What happened ? The prophet of God faithful in the past now boards a ship trying to flee from the presence of God, and from his calling.
a. He Was Comfortable.
Jonah was probably quite content with where he was. Smooth sailing......sucessful ministry ! We like being comfortable ! Comfort in our homes......church.....surroundings........but the threat is that we may become too comfortable in our relationship with the Lord.
In Teaching to Change Lives, Howard Hendricks tells about an 83-year old Michigan woman he met at a Sunday school convention in Chicago. "In a church with a Sunday school of only 65 people, she taught a class of 13 junior high boys. She had traveled by bus all the way to Chicago the night before the convention. Why? In her words, ’to learn something that would make me a better teacher.’ "I thought at the time, most people who had a class of 13 junior high boys in a Sunday school of only 65 would be breaking their arms to pat themselves on the back. Not this lady." Hendricks concludes, "84 boys who sat under her teaching are now in full-time ministry. 22 are graduates of the seminary where I teach."
b. He Was Calloused.
Why didn’t Jonah want to go to Nineveh ? Because Jonah was insensitive to the Assyrians. They were enemies of the people of God....why should God be concerned about them ? Why should God expect him to go and preach to the heathens ?
Why are so few being saved across our land ? Why the lack of repentance and turning to the Lord ? Could it be because of our own level of concern and compassion ? Have we forgotten that our mission is outlined in the great commission ? We are to go into all the world and preach the gospel ! Someone has said that "The World Will Not Care About How Much We Know........Until They Know How Much We Care !!! How much do we care ?