Summary: Many remember Jonah as a book about Jonah and the big fish. This book is really about the relentless love and pursuit of God.
Intro: What do most people remember about Jonah if you have ever heard the story in VBS or Sunday School? You probably remember that it is a whale of a tale. There would be lots of talk about Jonah and his disobedience and reluctance to go where God tells him to go.
The problem with remembering the prophet and the book of Jonah that way is that it is man-centric or man centered.
Jonah is not about a man, a fish or even a great city. The story of Jonah like all the rest of the Bible is about God! It is the story of God’s great love of His creation especially mankind.
This is an amazing story to discover the Love of God!
This morning we are going to look at the love of God’s call in Jonah.
There are three questions that people ask outside & inside the church
How did I get here – The question of origin
What am I here for – The question of purpose
What happens when I die – The question of destiny
Jonah answers the second. (Jonah – dove, peace & compassion. Amittai – Truth. God wants to get His truth, over us, in us and through us so that we will live in peace and compassion!
You can’t tell it from most modern translations but Jonah begins with “and the word of the Lord came to Jonah.”
What would you do if you began a story or book that began that way? You would think something was missing. This is a way to show us along with 14 other books of the Old Testament that God’s story of love is ongoing!
-- Not to be read as a parable or allegory
-- Jonah is a type of Christ – does not minimize the historicity of the story
I. God calls real people
A) The God who speaks – personal revelation
1) Who is God speaking to? A real person.
? His name is Jonah and it means dove. Symbol of peace and compassion (irony)
? His father’s name is Ammitai and means truth
? He prophesied during the reign of Jeroboam II.
? Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25 as a true, faithful, successful prophet.
? Jesus mentions Jonah as a real person in Matthew 12:38-41
2) How is God speaking to Jonah? (personally)
3 different calls of God: 1) Saved 2) Changed 3) Sent
When God speaks and reveals His will to us what do we face?
We are also faced with a choice. It is a two-fold choice!
• Will we believe it, receive it and obey it!
• Or we disbelieve it, reject it and disobey it!
In Indiana Jones and the last crusade, Indiana (named after the dog) was looking for the Holy Grail. When he and his team finally made to the cavern when the Grail was stored he had to face a series of tests.
He faced death, he spelled the name of Yahweh correctly in Latin, last he had to take “leap of faith” to make it to the room with the guardian knight and a room of assorted cups.
Now he is faced with a choice!
The knight makes clear that he needs to choose carefully. His exact words are, “choose wisely.”
Because with choices come consequences. Choosing the wrong cup led to death. Choosing the right cup led to life.
Good news even when we miss it or mess it up God is the God of second & multiple chances!
Our God is not a 3 strikes you’re out God!!
B) The God who sends – personal responsibility
When you reject the responsibility that God calls you to you have to face the consequences.
We are free to choose our choices but not their consequences
1) It will cost you to disobey (1:3) He paid the fare.
Rebellion is saying no to God’s rule of your life. Jonah as a great man and successful prophet said no to God! We are more like Jonah than we want to admit. We make ourselves feel better by comparing ourselves to others. We might say it like this, “I don’t smoke, drink, or chew or go out with girls that do.
But real Godliness comes from our willingness to say yes to God even when it’s difficult! Jonah makes clear that if we say not to God it will cost us!
2) It will cost others if you disobey (1:4-10)
Sin in our life is like a rock in a pond. The rock never just affects itself.
Some of your family, friends, associates are suffering because of your sin.
The greatest thing you can do for those around is respond with a resounding yes to God’s call. (result closeness to God and cleanness in your life)