Summary: We cannot escape God.


Jonah 1:1-17

S: Evangelism

Th: My Life as God’s Light


KW: Stages

TS: In Jonah 1, we will find seven stages that unfold showing how we cannot escape God.


The _____ stage is…







VII. CARE (17)

RMBC 7/15/01 AM


ILL Notebook: Escape (fire!) [modified]

Three athletes are about to be executed. One is a dark-haired soccer player, one is a baldheaded tennis player, and the third is a tall blond-haired football player.

The guard brings the dark-haired soccer player forward and the executioner asks if he has any last requests. He says no and the executioner shouts, “Ready!…Aim!!…”

Suddenly the soccer player yells, EARTHQUAKE!!!” Everyone is startled and looks around. And he escapes.

The guard brings the baldheaded tennis player forward and the executioner asks if he has any last requests. He says no and the executioner shouts, “Ready!…Aim!!…”

Suddenly the tennis player yells, “TORNADO!!!” Everyone is startled and looks around. And he escapes.

By now the tall blond-headed football player has it all figured out. The guard brings him forward and the executioner asks if he has any last requests. He says no and the executioner shouts, “Ready!…Aim!!…”

…and the football player yells, “FIRE!!!”

To all the tall blond-headed football players in our midst this morning, I apologize.

But the truth is the truth you know…

Well, have you ever needed or wanted to escape?

1. Have you ever wanted to run away?

We probably all have that feeling once in a while.

We just want to get away.

Sometimes I feel that way being in the ministry.

It is so hard trying to keep so many people happy, and I feel pretty frustrated at times.

Sometimes I think just walking away would be easier and better for everybody concerned.

But every time I think of that, today’s story is a reminder to me.

Because, being AWOL (absent without leave) is not where we want to be…

This is what happened in the Old Testament to a prophet named Jonah.

2. Jonah is an illustration of an attempt to evade God’s summons.


Our introduction to Jonah is his commission…

I. The first stage is COMMISSION (1-2).

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 up before me.”

1. Jonah had a mission to accomplish.

He is told to “go.”

And he is told to go to a particular place—Nineveh.

Nineveh was a significant place, for it was most likely the largest city in the entire world at that point in time.

Not only that, it was the capital city of Assyria, which was the most powerful and dominating empire on earth.

So, he was to go to Nineveh, for…

2. Jonah had a message to deliver.

Because the wickedness of that city had gotten so bad, he was to go and preach.

He had good news and bad news to tell them.

They were going to be destroyed if they didn’t turn around.

But the good news was that God was giving them the opportunity to repent of their sins.

God wanted to save them from this terrible and deserved judgment.

And Jonah comprehended this…

II. The second stage is COMPREHENSION (3).

But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.

1. Jonah was not interested in going to Nineveh.

And so, he decides to get as far away as possible.

Instead of going to Nineveh which was 500 miles east of Jerusalem, he decides to go sailing 2000 miles west of Jerusalem.

He heads for Tarshish, which was the farthest point known to him.

It was a Phoenician outpost in southwest Spain, at the very edge of the Mediterranean world.

So, why does Jonah go the opposite direction?

Certainly going to Nineveh would have been a difficult mission.

He probably would be made fun of and run out of town.

Perhaps he would be physically beaten or even executed.

After all, these were dangerous and wicked people.

On top of that, why does God have to send him to Nineveh?

There were plenty of problems right there in Israel.

It was in trouble morally, spiritually, and socially.

Perhaps he felt that Israel needed to take of her own act first.

But the truth is…

2. Jonah held no compassion for Nineveh (Nahum 3:1-4).

The prophet Nahum gives us some insight on what caused Jonah to go the other way…

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