Summary: Discusses Jonah’s attitude and how it is reflective of ours today.
The Jonah Attitude
This morning I have a question to ask you, "Have you ever met someone with a Jonah attitude?" I will tell you more about Jonah later, but right now I just want you to begin thinking about whether or not you’ve ever met someone with his attitude. Maybe you know one really well or maybe you looked in the mirror and saw Jonah’s face instead of your own. In my message today, we will look at the traits (ways to identify) the Jonah attitude that is literally killing the Church.
There are many times when I find myself talking with people and trying to convince them about how good God is and how He will take care of them. Many times I am not sure if I am getting through to these people. I mean people who claim to be Christians are the hardest ones to convince about God’s goodness. These are people who actually believe in God yet because of their own individual struggles take the stance that maybe all of this goodness that we talk about with God is only hype. Is it hype or is God really good and we are Jonahs? This morning I want you to consider the story of Jonah in a manner unlike before. As I get deeper into the message, ask yourself "Do I have a Jonah attitude?" I will tell you that I have had a Jonah attitude before and I am sure that I do not want that attitude again.
Let me give you an example of a situation when someone is drowning. I am not sure how many of you understand what happens when someone who cannot swim begins to drown. They say that your life flashes before your eyes as you are slowing sinking, I am not sure. But one of the things that often happen is that the individual who is drowning often out of panic begins to struggle against the person who has jumped into the water to save them. There have been times when the rescuers had to knock the person out in order to save their own lives and the life of the person they were trying to rescue. When you consider that scenario, the one who jumps into the water to save the life of the one who was drowning must hurt the person physically in order to save them. They did not do it because they angry, they did it to save their lives. The reason I am sharing this with you is this, if God is trying to help you and you are fighting against Him, there are times when He must knock us out so that He can save us. Our Jonah attitude influences us to fight against God.
This morning we will look at the goodness of God compared to what I will call throughout the message, the Jonah attitude. Turn with me to the book of Jonah where we will look at he man who decided to fight again God, lost and then became angry at God for His goodness and mercy.
Before we talk about Jonah, let me clarify something first, again as proof of God’s goodness. Throughout history, there has been a lot of discussions as to whether or not Jonah ever existed or if this story is factual. It has also been questioned as to whether or not there was every a large fish that could swallow a man and preserve Him. To these points I would submit this: while the throats of most whales are too narrow to swallow a man, the sperm whale can as well as some other species of whales. These whales could swallow a man and preserve his life, this is a proven fact. As it relates to the rest, I would quote Jesus. If anyone would know if the story was real it would be our Savior who was present on the day of creation. Jesus said in Matthew 12:40 "for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." If Jesus believed the story then that is good enough for me. Now let’s get to the heart of the message.
I. In The Beginning Was God’s Goodness and Jonah’s Attitude
In the first two verses of chapter one of the book of Jonah we find God’s goodness. Verses one and two reads "The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, ’Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come before Me." (Jonah 1:1-2) God looked down and saw the wickedness of the city of Nineveh and selected Jonah as His messenger to save the city. God was acting out of His goodness and His love for those people, not necessarily the city itself, but the people who dwelled therein. You see, God is good, all of the time. He is not like we are, He is always good. He did not have to reach out to the people of Nineveh, but that was His nature.