Summary: CHAPTER ONE OF jONAH DESCRIBING HIS CALL AND HIS RESPONSE
A man and his wife were figuring how much money they could save by putting in a garden. The wife said, “With this garden we’ll be able to save over $300.00 by not purchasing canned vegetables.” The husband said, “Yes, and after buying this new tiller, these garden tools and all these expensive fertilizers, it only cost us $1500.00 to do it!” That seems to be a pretty non–profit way to save money!
A boy had a paper route. He got up at 4:00 every morning to deliver his papers before school. Finally the first month came to an end and he glumly discovered that he was $64.00 in the hole. Excessive draws, failure to watch his paper count and people not paying him put him in arrears. That’s a pretty non-profit way to run a business.
How frustrated that husband was; how disappointed that paper boy was. God must have some frustrations and disappointments, too, because of some who resist or reject His commission as did Jonah. Jonah – commissioned by God to preach to Nineveh wanted no part of it. He fled to Joppa, making himself, for the moment at least, a non-profit prophet. God had a job for him to do, but he didn’t obey.
We are not going to get negative here, just realistic. We are not going to beat up on Jonah, but we will seek to learn from him. Jonah failed to heed God’s command, but in Chapter 1 we are in the first stage of Jonah’s development.
Most of us, myself at the head of the list, have heard God call and failed to heed.
As you read this chapter notice that everything in it obeys God: the storm, the sailors, the fish. Everyone and everything – except Jonah. Look back at the text with me:
I. FIRST, NOTE THE SINFUL SIGHT: V2:
A. “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 up before Me.’" Jonah 1:1-2 (NASB).
1. Nineveh was the capital of Assyria. This gentile, pagan nation was wicked to the max.
2. They were violent, cruel, oppressive and were, significantly, an arch enemy of Israel.
3. Little wonder Jonah didn’t want to go there!
B. God, however, though He saw the grossness of the sin and immorality and violence of that great city, wanted them to repent. "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." He saw it and responded with grace.
1. It didn’t escape His notice. The sight rose up before Him like an ugly gray cloud.
2. Every sin of every nation and person still rises up before Him. The sins of earth are an awful sight in heaven.
3. Psalms 139:1-4 (NIV) “O LORD, You have searched me and You know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; You perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; You are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue You know it completely, O LORD.”
4. Proverbs 15:3 (NIV) “The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.”
5. Hebrews 4:13 (NIV) “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account.”
C. You can’t hide things from God! We may deceive others, we may fool ourselves, but there is no hiding things from God: When a person peels an onion, the odor is obvious; when you run over a skunk the smell is obvious; when you forget to use your Dial soap, something becomes obvious
D. And when we indulge in sin, it is as obvious to Him as a huge zit on our nose. Unbeknownst to them, He sees the sins of our world and sends us to that world with the Gospel.
E. Talk about being observed without knowing it. A man parked his Mercedes and a thug came along, and thinking nobody saw him, decided to steal it. A girl, looking out a second story window, saw what was happening and called out, “God is watching you!” The thug stopped, looked around and slunk away, looking skyward. God is watching the immorality, the corruption, the infidelity, the vices of this world – and He’s sending His workers with His word – let’s not be like Jonah and prove unprofitable.
II. NEXT, NOTE THE FOOLISH FLIGHT: V3:
A. “Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” Jonah 1:3 (NASB).