Summary: This message shows the power of prayer.
Prayer Is The Key
Prayer is perhaps the most important weapon one could obtain. The bible says, pray without ceasing, men ought always to pray, pray in secret and God will reward you openly, if any two shall agree as touching any one thing is shall be done. Call unto me and I will answer thee and show unto thee great and mighty things that you know not. Jake Hess’s signature song, “Prayer is the key.”
Jonah is praying in the belly of the fish in his darkest hour.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.” Nineveh, which represents the world in its natural greatness, full of pride and iniquity, not heeding the word of God or His authority, were deserving of the righteous judgment of God.
Notice the honor God placed upon Jonah, in giving him a commission to go and prophesy against Nineveh. His name signified a dove, a name for all of God’s children who should be harmless as doves, and to mourn as doves for the sins of the people. His father’s name was Amittai, meaning my truth; and God’s prophets must be truth tellers, for the truth will set you free.
Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah, he knew the voice of the God, and this time he is told to, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city.” Nineveh at that time was the metropolis of the Assyrian monarchy, it was a great city, forty-eight miles in compass, some say larger. This city was filled with perversion, and wickedness was found everywhere and they did not worship the one true God.
Nineveh was great in population, in power and dominion, having at one time been marked with greatness, but had become a heathen city. This was a city sitting darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death. Their wickedness had come up before the Lord; their wickedness was presumptuous, for they had sinned openly before the Lord God Almighty. So God instructs Jonah to go and cry against the wickedness of the city.
He must witness against their sins and warn them of the destruction that was coming upon them. Jonah was to sound the alarm, cry aloud and spare not. He must not whisper his message in a corner, but publish it in the streets of Nineveh; he that hath ears let him hear what God’s prophet has to say to the city.
He must go and carry the message, that’s what real men of God are supposed to do. Those who do ministry for the Lord must arise and go forth and accomplish their mission. Jonah was instructed to go to Nineveh; yet, he dishonored God in refusing to obey his orders and went in a different direction.
Instead of going to Nineveh, he went to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, he was not bound for any particular port he just wanted to get away from the presence of the Lord. Have you ever tried to flee from the call of God? David said, “If I go to the highest mountain, you are there, or to the depth of the sea you are there.” There is really no place that we can hide from God.
Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh because it was a long and dangerous journey, he was afraid he would not be able to deliver such an ungrateful message to the people. Yet this was the word that would deliver this great city if they heeded the prophet call.
Aboard a ship to Tarshish, thinking he was in a safe place, unaware that he was being pursued by the storm at sea. God sent a pursuer after him; a mighty tempest in the sea, this mighty tempest became a problem for Jonah, you can run, but you can’t hide.
Notices, disobediences will always bring a storm into the soul of man, into the family, into churches and nations; it became a disquieting, and disturbing thing in the life of Jonah. This wind was so strong that the mariners expected the ship to sink. This wind was sent for Jonah, to bring him back to God and his reality.
The ship’s crew was alarmed by the tempest, but Jonah was not concerned. They begin to question him about his occupation and where he came from and what he was doing aboard this ship. After much conservation they cast Jonah overboard; and the sea ceased from her raging. When problems are removed, then peace will come.
But this brought the feared the Lord upon the crew, knowing they had thrown Jonah into the sea, and they offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. So the Lord prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. He is in the belly of the fish but, the call of God is still pending and Jonah must make a decision on behalf of the people.