Summary: Jonah was a runner. He was one of a long list of people who tried to flee from God’s presence. What is the presence of God and why would we flee it? Eventually God sends a storm to get Jonahs attention. God is after us to!
Invest and Invite
Jonah #2 “The Go Mentality”
Read Jonah 1:1-3
What do Jonah, Moses, David in the OT, Jacob in the OT, the prophet Elijah, and Peter the number 1 disciple of Jesus have in common?
They were all runners. They ran from responsibilities, they ran from duty, they ran from daring opportunity, they ran from calling but mostly, they ran from the Lord at some point in their life.
Moses ran after he had tried to make God’s plan happen by his own hand, his own power. Remember how he felt the call to save his people? Remember how he killed the Egyptian, the beginning of the revolution? But when it didn’t pan out like he thought he ran. He ran from God, he gave up on God…until God sent a storm.
David ran when he sinned. He didn’t want to face it, didn’t want to confess it and so he ran from God and pretended it never happened…until God sent a storm.
Jacob ran by being self sufficient. He did it his way, in his time and couldn’t be bothered with God’s calling on his life. So God sent a storm into his life and made him stop and face Him.
Elijah ran from a woman. It was a powerful woman who promised that she would have his head on a platter. Here he was the prophet who called fire down from heaven and took on 450 false prophets, and now he was running, scarred, nervous, hiding out. God sent a storm that made him get his act together.
Peter was a runner. Disappointed with his own failure he ran back to his old job, his old ways and tried to forget about the divine calling on his life to be an apostle. He was running from Jesus, he didn’t want Jesus to see the guilt on his face. God sent a storm to get him back.
Jonah was a runner too. Running from his calling. Running from his duty. Getting away as fast as he could.
- He hated those Ninevahites. He didn’t want to talk to them. He didn’t want to reach them, for all he cared they could go to hell. They were mean, brutal, different, partying people who didn’t deserve to be saved.
So Jonah ran. The Bible says he was running from God. This thing is all about God. It’s not a referendum on the Ninahvites, it’s not about the plan, and it’s not about what you think of me, ITS ABOUT GOD AND WHAT YOU WILL DO WITH WHAT HE IS ASKING.
He was fleeing God’s presence..
You know why much of the church has lost its power? Because many of us are running from God’s presence. Like Jonah we have a clear cut mission, but that mission doesn’t really appeal to us, why would God ask to do something like that anyway?
“Those Ninahvites are going to take a lot more work than I can muster up.”
“I might miss the price is right.”
I would like to talk to for a minute about a mystical aspect of being a Christian…this “Presence of God” concept. What is means to run from it, what it means to be in it.
Have you ever run from the presence of God?
In the NT people ran to be in the presence of Jesus. The only ones who ran away from it were the dissenters, the deserters, the complainers, the “in”power group.
In the presence, the literal, physical presence of Jesus, there was power. There was awe; there was a degree of love that allowed people to bare their souls as sinful and unworthy as they were. There was always something happening…
People were drawn to his presence, burdens were made lighter, and troubles that dogged them seemed insignificant. When people were in his presence they were in the presence of the Almighty, the All powerful, the all knowing AMD THAT WAS GREAT…
Jesus exuded strength when you were in his presence. Nothing was impossible. A mountain of a problem became miniscule. Evil was banished. Sins forgiven. There was grace, an acceptance that was unavailable anywhere else.
His presence was exhilarating and miraculous. It was safe, warm and peaceful. There was total freedom.
You just wanted to give him everything, and people did.
You could ask for anything, and people did.
His presence left you feeling whole. It left you glowing and strong. It left you secure. It was real, it was the real stuff. It wasn’t religion, dos and don’ts, it was relationship. IT WAS GOOD, VERY VERY GOOD.
+++++ Moses once prayed…”LORD, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY.”
yOu see he was tired of all the mundane, cheap, dead religion around him and he wanted something more.
He was tired of faith that people had one day but it disappreared the next.