Summary: This is the first in a series of sermons preached on the Book of Jonah. In this sermon we discuss chapter one and we look at the motivations behind Jonah's rebellion
Jonah Series 2013 (You Can Run on For a Long Time)
Running From God
Text: Jonah 1:1 – 17
Open your Bibles to the Book of Jonah… We’re going to be spending the next few weeks looking through this book… and while you’re turning there; let me just start by saying that I believe that God is moving… I believe that we are in a place where God is preparing His people for something. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him.” I believe that He is preparing His people, and that He is making a distinction… drawing a line in the sand if you will.
Alright… so we’re going to be looking at Jonah… Most of us are familiar with this story. Kids love it, but as we get older it sometimes loses its awe factor. I don’t know why, but it seems like adults read through it and go, “Ok, guy runs from God, gets swallowed by a big fish, gets puked out and then goes and preaches in Nineveh, the people repent.” Well I want to tell you there’s a lot more to it than that.
I remember quite a few years ago, that secular scientists claimed that since the Bible says Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, that this story couldn’t be true, since no fish could do this… until a few years later, someone actually got swallowed by a whale shark and lived… and in case you didn’t know it, a whale shark is a fish… not a whale. Whales are mammals. But even if it wasn’t a whale shark that swallowed Jonah, I believe it’s a true, historical event. And I’ll tell you why. It’s because in Matthew 12:40 – 42 Jesus speaks of the event as a historical fact. And I don’t know about you, but I’m going to stick with Jesus.
Ok; let’s look at Jonah… I’m going to read all of chapter 1 and if you will, follow along with me.
Now as we go through this book, I want everyone to understand that Jonah’s story is our story. Not necessarily the fish part… but I think that if we honestly look, we’ll see that we all have something in common with Jonah. And that is; that at some point in our lives, we have run from God… either we have run, or we are running. Maybe as a teen, or a young adult, or even now in your life. But here’s the great truth I’ve learned from Jonah… you can run from God, but you can’t out run Him! The Bible says that there is nowhere that He can’t reach you. And when I talk about running from God, I’m not necessarily talking about physically running like Jonah does here. I’m talking about a person who maybe when they were a kid was forced to go to church, but then once they graduated high school and left home, they left the church and all notions of God behind them. Or maybe the person who runs from God in a specific way… you know… the person who says, “Well God’s Word says I shouldn’t steal, and I shouldn’t commit murder….” And they don’t do those things but they have that one little area… maybe coveting, or lust, or pride… you know that one secret sin, and they are saying, “God you can everything in my life… but not that.” You know… that’s the person who; if they were honest would sing the song, “I have decided to follow Jesus… I have decided to follow Jesus… I have decided to follow Jesus… but not to there, but not to there.” There might be some here today. I’m talking about the person who is financially running from God. You know that God wouldn’t approve of how you spend your money… but by golly it’s your money. Or your time… or your abilities.
We can all hang on to things… and basically we run.
And we all run for the same reason. Everyone here… every time we run. This is one of those aspects where we’re all the same.
We run because we believe that if we don’t, we’re somehow going to miss out on something.
You know… we tell ourselves, “I know that God wants this from me, but if I do that… or if I give that up, I’m going to be missing out.” And that’s nothing new. That’s exactly what Adam and Eve fell for in the Garden… they were fooled into believing that God was holding His best back from them. And we’re exactly the same. And that should cause us to ask some questions like: What is this God that we serve really like? And: Why is it that I value this thing more than I value serving God? But truly we do that… we think that God is for some reason holding something back from us, or that if we give ourselves fully to Him and His cause we’re going to miss out on something… like this world has anything to offer us that can compare to what awaits us in glory!