Summary: When we are obedient to what God wants us to do…He will open doors that seem impossible for us to be opened.
Four Things that will Change Your Life…2c…Obedience
Over the past couple of weeks we have discussed obedience.
We talked about the obedience of Noah doing all that God commanded him, even when it all seemed too much to accomplish.
Last week we began talking about Jonah. And, that he was opposite that of Noah, because he was disobedient.
God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh to cry against the people because God was aware of their wickedness.
Yet, God loved them…and so, He wanted them to have an opportunity to turn from their evilness before he would have to destroy them.
But, instead of obeying God…Jonah ran from God.
He ran from what God wanted him to do.
He boarded a ship bound for Tarshish. There was a storm, the boat almost broke apart…and the sailors found out that it was all because of Jonah’s disobedience.
We ended last week with Jonah being thrown overboard the boat, and a great fish swallowed him up.
The Bible tells us that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of that great fish.
Now, to many this might seem unusual…but, God can use whomever, and whatever He chooses.
It was no accident that Jonah was swallowed by this fish…the Bible tells us that the “Lord had prepared…a great fish…”
Here Jonah is trying to run away from God, and the assignment that God wants him to do…Jonah has this great plan that he has come up with to go in the opposite direction God has told him…to get as far away from Nineveh as possible…and, yet, it ends up that all this time that he has spent running…and all this time he has been on this boat trying to get away…God has had this great fish making its way in the water to meet him at just the right moment.
Isn’t it amazing, all the trouble that Jonah is having to go through…simply because He doesn’t want to do what God has told him.
He disliked the people of Nineveh so much, that he would rather go through all of this trouble…the running, the storm, the breaking apart of the ship…he would rather have himself cast overboard and perish in the water, then to share the message that God had given him with them.
Evidently, Jonah’s heart was so hardened towards God, and towards what God wanted him to do…that it took three days and three nights to convince him that he had the wrong attitude.
I don’t know about you…but, five minutes would be long enough for me.
Jonah was stubborn.
Jonah was selfish.
Jonah was prejudice.
Jonah knew the Lord…but, forbid anyone else learn about Him.
Especially, those evil people of Nineveh!
God may love them, but I don’t have too!
When we allow disobedience to God to enter our lives…it begins to distort our view of things…our view of people.
You will not find very many people who have a close relationship with God…who dislike other people.
It is kind of one of the key things to walking close with God…
Ga 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
It is bad enough that we go against God, but when we set ourselves against His very creation…when we allow ourselves to reach a point that we had rather someone perish into an eternity of hell, rather than reach out to them with the message of salvation…I do not know of a more farther away point a person can get from God than this…
And, Jonah…a prophet…found himself there!
Finally in vs. 1 of chap. 2, we have a breakthrough…
1 ¶ Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,
And all of chapter 2 is basically his prayer toward God. I think vs. 7 is somewhat the key verse of this chapter…
7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
When Jonah couldn’t fight anymore…when he couldn’t any longer be selfish, be stubborn, be prejudice, be disobedient…When he realized that there was no getting away from the Lord…Jonah remembered the Lord.
What did God say to Jonah’s prayer?
2:10 ¶ And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
We would think that God would say what many of us would say… “Sorry, Jonah, too little, too late!” “You should have listened to me, and obeyed me to begin with.”
“I don’t have any use for you now!” “Go away, I’m done with you!”
But, that isn’t what happened. God spoke to the great fish, and had him spit him out upon the land.