Summary: We can run but we can't hide.
As I prayed this week asking the Lord to give me the message for today, He brought me to the book of Jonah. Many people find this particular piece of scripture hard to believe, but we should not, for we know that nothing is impossible for our God. Today we are going to examine what happened to Jonah and see if there is a lesson to be learned from it. We are going to see if his experience applies to us today. Let’s open up our bibles and let’s read what happened to Jonah.
Jonah 1:1-17 - Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. 3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. 4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. 6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. 7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. 8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? 9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. 10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him. Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. 11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. 12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. 14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. 15 So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Wow, is his something or what? This is why I said before that many people find this particular piece of scripture hard to believe. But, let’s examine what occurred here, because when we analyze this incident we will realize that what happened to Jonah in this instance is not to fat from what happens to us now a days. Before we go on, I want to take a couple of minutes to give you a little background on what is happening here.
As we can see, God called upon Jonah to go into Nineveh and preach His word. When we just read this quickly, we just see that God called him to preach in a city, but when we research it we se that is was much more than that. The city of Nineveh was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. This empire was huge and perverse and was the most feared by the Jewish people for the atrocities they had committed. Therefore, from childhood Jonah had been taught to hate the Assyrians and their authority. He hated them so bad that he did not want them to receive God’s mercy. Keeping this in mind let’s go on and see what happened here and how it applies to our lives today.