Summary: Maybe you are in a storm today. Perhaps it has come because of your disobedience to God. Don’t panic; it’s a loving storm from a loving Father calling you back home.
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Jonah and the whale: there probably is not any other story in the entire Bible more ridiculed than this. However, the focus of the biblical story of Jonah is not about the whale or great fish. Fact is, there are only three verses that refer to it. The story of Jonah is that he was called to do something he did not want to do. And because God loved him, He would not let him off the hook. God got his attention and Jonah finally obeyed and a massive revival took place.
The opposing team’s coach, Georgia Tech head coach Bill Alexander, watching this said, “He’s running the wrong way. Let’s see how far he can go.”
The message of the Book of Jonah is: God gives second chances!
Let’s pick up where we last left off. God came to the prophet Jonah and told him to go and preach to Nineveh. God said “Go,” Jonah said “No,” and God said “Oh?” Jonah flat out refused and found a ship going in the opposite direction.
The reason for this was that Jonah hated the Ninevites. They were a very wicked people, known for murder and horrific atrocities. They were so wicked they “stunk to high heaven.” As God said, “Their wickedness has come up before me.” They also were the enemies of Israel, so Jonah wanted nothing to do with them. In many ways, he was a racist, having no concern for their souls.
The reason he would not go, is Jonah knew the merciful and loving nature of God. He did not want the Ninevites to hear a message of hope and then be spared. He was told to “go and preach,” and he flat-out refused. So, he found a ship, he paid the fare, and he went down to Tarshish.
If you ever run away from God, you’re always going to pay your own fare, and you’re never going to get where you thought you were going to get when you put your foot in the boat.
So the last time we saw Jonah, he was going down. Sin will always take you down. Remember this: sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to spend! But know this, God will always have the last word!
the hard to swallow truth about obedience
Jonah 1:4 “But the LORD sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep!” (NKJV).
V4. But the LORD sent out a great wind
The Lord sends a mighty storm to the prodigal prophet.
We will all have our storms in life. I believe there are three kinds of storms we will face in our lives as Christians: protecting storms, perfecting storms, and correcting storms.
1. Protecting storms. This happened right after Jesus performed the miracle of fish and loaves. The people wanted “to make Him king by force.” So Jesus got His boys out of town as fast as possible. He was protecting them from the adulation of the people. They were safer in that storm with Jesus than on the shore without Him. There out on Galilee a storm came, but Jesus said “Let’s go to the other side.”
2. Then there are perfecting storms. Look at all of the trials and tribulations that young Joseph went through. Sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape, wrongly imprisoned. These were perfecting storms. Joseph had done nothing to bring those things on himself. The very opposite was the case, but the Lord allowed calamity to come into his life to mold and make him into the man that he needed to be. He ultimately became the second most powerful man in the world of his day.
3. Correcting storms. That was certainly the case here with Jonah. He brought this on himself for sure. Now because Jonah is His child, God chastens him. This was a reminder to Jonah that he was indeed a true child of God.
How do we know God loves us?
Because he lets us go wherever we want to go and do whatever we want to do? Not have any standards or rules but just live as we choose? No, that is not a sign of love but neglect.
That’s pretty much the story of my childhood. Sadly, it’s also the story of many children in America today too. No rules, no curfews, no expectation of good grades. I might add, no discipline, no bedtime story, no home-cooked meals, and no parenting.