Summary: Saying no to God was the start of a donward descent by the Prophet Jonah. God had called him for one specific place-but he said no and ran from God. He is typical of many who do likewise and as Jonah, all rebelious people pay a heavy price for their stubb
PROBLEM PROPHET’S PITIFUL PLIGHT
God’s longsuffering is amazing. How many of us would have given up on Jonah at the first time he openly rebeled? I am glad that we do not see things as He sees things and I am realy grateful to know that He knows human hearts better than we know them. God knew Jonah and He knew that this prophet could do the job which He wanted done whereas there was simply no other person who could do the task of going to Nineveh, preach to it and reap the rewards that God wanted. Let this man, this situation forever be uppermost in our minds when we think we cannot do that which God has called us to do. He believed in Jonah when the prophet did not believe in himself. God believes in us, even when we are doubtful of the tasks He has outlined for us to accomplish.
Continuing with the theme of my series on Jonah, I see three things about these fisrt three verses of Chapter One. The fisrt thing I note has to do with God’s PRONOUNCMENT, His clear calling to Jonah to go and preach for Him. The next part of my sermon has to do with the PROBLEMS which became evident when God called Jonah to His mission field. Then, I note the PREFORMANCE of God’s man for the hour and for the city of Nineveh.
I. PRONOUNCEMENT: I cannot but notice the words that God spoke to Jonah in these first three verses of chapter one. God certainly knew His man’s heart and his prejudices, but He knew that Jonah was thee man for the job and He would not take, “No” for an answer.
I notice that God told Jonah a thing which is vital for all people who are to proclaim the name of our Lord-regardless of our ability: “Arise, get up, be industrious and do something for Me.” If one declares to believe in God and yet is lazy, the testimony of that lazy person is equal to one’s inactivity-it is a lazy message. God wants people who are active to be proclaimers for Him. All people who name the name of Christ can do something for Him, and we are to arise, get up, and do what God wants us to do.
It did no one any good for old Jonah to sit and say that he was a follower of God and do nothing. No, God said to old Jonah, “Hey, you believe in me, get up, and go Preach for me. Not all Christians can be preachers but every Christian can do something for God. God gave Jonah his marching orders and he was to get up off of his cushioned seat; get out of his town; and, get down to Nineveh. God disturbed His prophet by giving him His message, but then God has a way of doing that to all of us who name His name. He likes to come along and stir us from time to time to get us out of our comfort zone and do something extra ordinary for Him.
Church history has verified this over and over again. God told Francis of Assisi to start out to preach about Him, and not stay with his father’s very profitable furniture business. Francis did and look what happened!!! God told Hudson Taylor to go to China-leave comfortable England and go preach to the Chinese-look what happened!!! God told David Livinstone to leave comfortable England and go to dark Africa-look what happened!!! God called the Wesley boys to leave comfortable possibilities of being priests in the Chruch of England and go preach to miners who worked long hours in the darkness of the earth-look what happened!!! God called John Calvin to leave a comfortable law office and go preach for Him-look what happened!!! God called William Booth, the Founder of the Salvation Army to go preach to the poor of England-look what happened!!!
God has a way of calling, convincing and commissioning people for His work and Jonah was called to go and Preach, but first he had to get up, get ready and go.
Next, I note the place where God sent this man to go and preach for Him-Ninieveh. In my last sermon I outlined some of the barbaric practices that the people of Nineveh practiced against their enemies. That would be enough of discouragement for any prophet to face. However, there is something else involved here.
Some ministers are selective about where they are to go due to their self-inflated ego, but these places may not be where God wants them to go. Certainly Nineveh did not regester on the top ten Churches of any district or conference as far as being the choisest plum of parishes. In fact, there was no congregation, no building of worship for the most High God, no set salary, no perks, no lfe or health insurance, no fancy house, no fine cars-no nothing to attract one who has just been commissioned to preach for God. Jonah was to go to a place and start from nothing and work up to something and he said no.