Summary: A story about obediance...his and ours
Today we are looking at a portion of the Old Testament prophet Jonah.
We’re pretty familiar with Jonah’s story. IT is the biggest fish storey in the bible and so we believe that any fish story is a FISH Story. Something you really can’t believe because you know how fishermen are. But this is s story from God and that is dramatically different. In fact, This story is not really about a fish at all. It is about obedience and the results of disobedience.
Jonah wound up in a whale because of direct disobedience to God.
There’s a little Jonah in all of us.
We don’t always get the message of God’s will right the first time around. So God sometimes has to give us a second chance...and all too often a third chance...
The first time God told Jonah to go to Nineveh he balked. His response to God was, "Here am I, send somebody else. Thoes Assyrians are just trailer trash, and generally all round unlikable people anyway.
Unfortunately that’s the part of Jonah’s autobiography that every body remembers.
But Jonah’s story is more about a second chance than it is about God’s discipline in his life. The provision of a whale for Jonah in the storm tossed sea is actually part of the Jonah’s second chance. If God had only wanted to judge Jonah he would have let him drown in the sea. The whale wasn’t about judgment - it was about salvation! It was transportation, it was inspiration.
God didn’t want to curse Jonah He wanted to bless him! God wanted to bless Jonah by giving him a part in His plan and wanted to make him a blessing to the Ninevites. He wanted to bless him by giving him an opportunity to change his mind, heart and spirit.
God also wants to bless you and He wants to make you a blessing. But there’s a big obstacle in the road to that happening. That obstacle is – a negative spirit. Just like Jonah, God can’t bless you until your spirit changes from negative to positive. Not that He won’t try, you just refuse to receive.
A negative spirit is like a virus that lives in us and our body normally keeps it in control. Yu are never totally cured of the virus and if your immune system is weakened you suffer the illness all over again.
A negative spirit is a virus that man kind can suffer from at a moment’s notice. Its symptoms are discouragement, depression, the general idea that things are never going to turn out right, Perhaps the feeling that people don’t like or love us. Being filled with worry. Keeping bitter and angry feelings toward others. Talking pessimistically, to think that we will never be able to overcome the bad things we have done or the bad things done to us. A negative spirit leads us into living a life in the pit of despair.
The good news is that, although we’re all carriers, we don’t have to let this bug become active. We don’t have to let the human nature to negativity take charge in our lives. Because of God’s love we each have a chance to develop a positive spirit.
Jonah sinned because he was self-absorbed. He tried to exert his will over the will of God. He was more concerned about his prestige than he was about the Assyrians coming to know God.
Basically that’s what sin is – putting ourselves in God’s place.
Jonah sorely needed to develop a positive spirit and that’s really what this book is all about.
Humans have this natural bent towards negativity.
God wants to give you a second chance to see that your negativity is placing a strain on things. A negative spirit can wreak havoc on things like your relationships, your finances, and more importantly – negativity can ruin your walk with God. He wants to give you another chance to develop a positive spirit.
Even if a negative spirit has controlled you in the past and it has messed up things in your life, as it always will, you don’t have to keep letting a negative spirit call the shots in your life. God has a positive message for you today! God can help you develop a positive spirit for your life.
The text of Jonah’s story gives us the essentials we need.
Jonah 3:1-2 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you."
Notice the term, "second time" in verse one. When I was a kid I remember asking my mom for a second chance many times. I think it was most often when she told me to go out a get a switch.