Summary: 1. Depend on God's deliverance (Jonah 2:1-9). 2. Make the most of God's mercy (Jonah 3:1-10). 3. Stop majoring on the minors (Jonah 4:1-9). 4. Care like the Lord cares (Jonah 4:10-11).
Overcoming Setbacks and Discouragement
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 27, 2013
*Almost everybody knows the story of Jonah. It's one of the first Bible stories we learn as kids. They even made a Veggie Tales movie about Jonah, starring Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber.
*But we must understand that this Bible story is absolutely true. The giant fish could have easily been a shark. In fact, history records other sailors who were swallowed whole and rescued. In the mid-1700's, one man toured Europe with the preserved body of a 3,000 pound shark that swallowed him. (1)
*Or take sperm whales as another example. These whales are also able to swallow people whole. They live on squid, which they swallow whole. In 1955 a whole 405-pound squid was removed from the belly of a sperm whale. (2)
*On top of that, all things are possible with God. He is in control of every planet and every particle in this universe. God could make a giant squirrel to swallow you if He wanted to!
*Also know that Jesus affirmed the truth of this Old Testament story. In Matthew 12:40-41, Jesus said:
40. "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
41. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
*When Jesus talks about Jonah being in the great whale or fish for three days, He speaks of it as a historical event. It was just as factual as Jesus being in the grave for three days. So, if you throw out Jonah, you're going to have to throw out Jesus too! -- This Old Testament story is real.
*Let's start today by reading Jonah 1, thinking about how to overcome the setbacks in our life. Would you please stand in honor of God's Word?
*Trapped for three days inside the belly of a really big fish: That's what I call a setback! And we're going to have some setbacks too.
*Sometimes these things will hit you right out of the blue. The last thing Jonah thought when he got on that boat was that he was going to get swallowed by a giant fish. And you may be doing great right now, but all of us are going to have some setbacks in life. How can we overcome the setbacks and discouragement in our lives?
1. First: Depend on God's deliverance.
*We must depend on God's deliverance, and we can depend on the Lord, because He wants to deliver us.
 God wants to deliver us from our disobedience.
*The only reason why Jonah needed deliverance was because of his disobedience. The Lord had told Jonah to go warn the wicked people of Nineveh about soon-coming judgment from God. Instead, Jonah took off in a ship for Tarshish. He was going just as far as he could go in the opposite direction, so the Lord sent a terrible storm to stop the ship. Then He sent a giant fish to swallow Jonah, and steer him back to where God wanted him to be.
*Jonah got swallowed because of his disobedience, and we are all in danger from our disobedience. We are all in danger, because one way or another, all of us have disobeyed the Lord. As Romans 3:10 says: "There is none righteous, no, not one." And Romans 3:23 says: "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
*Jonah needed deliverance because of his disobedience. But then he did the right thing: He depended on the Lord. Please look at Jonah's prayer for deliverance in chapter 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.
3. For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me.
4. Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight; yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.'
5. The waters encompassed me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head.
6. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever; yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord, my God.
7. When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple.