Summary: God is calling you...do you obey or run. Journey with Jonah and discover God’s call, discipline, forgiveness and mercy.
Jonah – A Study in Stubbornness
Not Me Lord
Jonah 1:1-2 (NLT)
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai:  "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh! Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are."
• Nineveh – Assyria’s most important city. Within 50 years it would become capital of the Assyrian Empire
• Nineveh’s Wickedness
– Evil Plots against God – Nahum 1:9
– Exploitation of the helpless – Nahum 2:12
– Cruelty in war – Nahum 2:12-13
– Idolatry, prostitution & Witchcraft – Nahum 3:4
Key Learnings – The Call
• God’s word was for Jonah
• Had God wanted to use someone else, He would have called them
• God expected obedience
• Immediate and without hesitation
• The call was specific
• Jonah knew where he was to go
• Jonah knew what he was to do
Jonah 1:3 (NLT)
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping that by going away to the west he could escape from the Lord.
Key Learnings – Willful Disobedience
• Jonah chose to run
• He wanted to escape God’s call
• He wanted to escape God’s presence
• Why did he run?
• God was asking too much
Jonah 1:4-6 (NLT)
But as the ship was sailing along, suddenly the Lord flung a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to send them to the bottom.  Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. And all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.  So the captain went down after him. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" he shouted. "Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will have mercy on us and spare our lives."
Key Learnings – The Price of Disobedience
• God disciplines those He loves
• Seeking repentance
• Seeking obedience
• Our disobedience affects others
• Ignoring God doesn’t make Him go away
Jonah 1:7-8 (NLT)
Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, Jonah lost the toss.  "What have you done to bring this awful storm down on us?" they demanded. "Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?"
Key Learnings – Sin Will Be Exposed
• God even used lot casting
• God will even use non-Christian means of exposing our disobedience
• Jonah was exposed to everyone
• Jonah’s disobedience drew unwanted attention from God and men
Jonah 1:9-12 (NLT)
And Jonah answered, "I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."  Then he told them that he was running away from the Lord. The sailors were terrified when they heard this. "Oh, why did you do it?" they groaned.  And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, "What should we do to you to stop this storm?"  "Throw me into the sea," Jonah said, "and it will become calm again. For I know that this terrible storm is all my fault."
Key Learnings – Unplanned Testimony
• Jonah was forced to testify of his faith
• Jonah revealed his prejudices
• He was willing to give his life for the fisherman, but not for the Assyrians
Jonah 1:13 (NLT)
Instead, the sailors tried even harder to row the boat ashore. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.
Key Learnings – Unexpected Compassion
• The sailors tried to save Jonah’s life
They showed more compassion than he did to the people of Nineveh
o Although Jonah confessed...he still lacked obedience
Jonah 1:14 (NLT)
Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. "O Lord," they pleaded, "don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death, because it isn’t our fault. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons."
Key Learnings – The Need for Mercy
The sailors recognized their need for God’s mercy
God’s discipline of Jonah displayed the consequences of sin
• God uses even our disobedience to convict others
Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once!  The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.