Summary: Running from God is what most people do when they are avoiding God and do not like what He is telling them. Disobedience will cause us to run, but coming clean with God causes us to make wise decisions.
Nowhere to run
Jonah chapter 1:1-1:7
This morning we will look at the familiar passage of the prophet Jonah running from God and what can happen if you choose to run from him.
This passage will speak to each of us because all of us have attempted to run from God, hide from God and some are still hiding from God and wondering why we are having a rough time of it.
Recording of my old answering machine
Hi, you’ve reached the home of Tony and Becky Zibolski, I’m sorry no one is home, but if you would leave your name, number, and a brief message we will call you back as soon as possible. Jonah message to God when God called him to Nineheh went something like this- Hi, this is Jonah, I am not available right now, but then there is no need to leave your name and number, because I have no intention of calling you back.
Jonah chapter 1:1-1:17
Why would we think that we can find a place where God could not find us?
People hide in churches because they can get lost in the crowd, people won’t ask questions or ask them to do something, but Jonah was not running from people, he was running from God.
Prophet Jeremiah records - “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them.”
Writer of Hebrews-
“Nothing in all of creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
We cannot hide from God and certainly cannot run from God. Jonah attempted to do both, but quickly learned it is not possible.
Jonah was a prophet along with Amos and Hosea of his day. They were called to the nation of Israel to draw the people back to a right relationship with God. Jonah already had issues with God because he was opening up and showing compassion for others instead of just being for the Jews.
Verse 1 is what sent Jonah to flight.
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come before me.”
How dare God call and commission a prophet of God to go to “those people”
“Go” is an action word, to warn those people that God was not happy with them.
I heard it said that for Jonah to go to the Ninevites was like the Jews coming to Hitler during the World War II and telling him that God loved him. He hated them and not only did not want to warn them but would have taken great joy if God’s wrath would have fell on them.
God called this prophet to “go” to Nineveh and preach against their rebellion. He was to tell them the God’s good news and the bad news if they did not.
Jonah is not happy that God called him to do that and he flees and runs from God.
Why would he run?
He didn’t like what God had asked him to do. He rebels.
He thinks it is more than he can handle. He runs.
The bottom line is that he is being disobedient.
So if you are taking notes, disobedience will cause you to hide or ride away from God.
Disobedience can come in all kinds of boxes.
You can blatantly disobey and not care what others think including God.
You can secretly disobey God -God knows you’ve walked away from Him but to everyone else you are the perfect Christian.
You can disobey and you battle inside to do the right thing and be praying that God and others will help you.
You can disobey because you do not like what God is doing because you are selfish and only thinking about yourself.
That is where Jonah was at the time- he was a Prophet, he cared about the things of God but he could not do what God had asked him to do so he ran away from God.
Jonah hated the people of Nineveh.
The people were nasty and cruel.
They tortured their captives.
They gloated the power they had over the people.
They cut the tongue out of their mouths and skinned people alive for something to do.
They built pyramids out of human skills outside of the city.
Jonah felt justified to disobey God because he did not feel the same way about those people as God did.
God had compassion for them and Jonah hated them.
Jonah disobeyed God because he had no compassion for Nineveh.
He felt God should not even consider redeeming “those people” to a relationship with God.
Why warn them, give them what they deserve while enjoying the grace and mercy of God for himself.