Summary: Analysis of Jonah’s battle with God’s will
God has a way of sending messages to His children. He has three definitive ways of grabbing your attention to let you and I know exactly what is on His mind.
First, there is the avenue of His Word. God’s word has a way of never becoming stale, never becoming outmoded or outdated, and even though His Word has been banned, discarded and even discredited the Words of this book still carry strength.
Secondly, God uses His man to speak to the heart of the believer. The Man of God is His instrument to communicate Heavenly truth and to glean jewels from His word. The Man of God is able to share words with you without an appointment, to touch areas of your life without an X-Ray machine, and to address personal issues without the benefit of a counseling session.
Then there are the times when God allows circumstances in your life to speak volumes to you. The circumstances of life can and will speak to you in ways that you never imagined.
Yes, God allows you to go through circumstances – both self-generated and God-generated in order to get you to the place of His will. Let me be the first to admit that:
God may have to break you in order to build you.
God may have to make you cry in order to allow you to smile.
God may have to take your job in order to grab your attention.
God may have to let the doctor diagnose you in order to heal you.
God may have to let your enemies rage in order to discover peace in Him.
God may have to slap you down in order to pick you up.
God may have to peel away your creature comforts in order to get you to trust in Him.
His will is at stake. Every believer in this room should strive to be in His will. What is His will? For the believer, you have already entered into His will when you came to Jesus Christ. It is His will that none should perish but have everlasting life. That is His primary will. However, God also wants to mold you and make you and conform you to get you into the place where you are in His will.
Can we be honest? There are times when all of us are not in His will. There are times when it is more fun to be out of His will than in His will. There are moments when His will seems secondary to our own carnal adventures of life. There are times when our priorities seem more important than His priorities.
So God unleashes circumstances as a Pandora’s Box, to move us from the outer fringes of His will to dead on center. The interesting paradox to this matter is that we are searching and scrambling to find out what God’s will is for us day after day – and God not only knows what His will is for our lives but He also knows if we can handle it, what we must go through to obtain it, and if we’ll be faithful during the ordeal.
Jonah is the poster child of this principle. God has decided that the people of Ninevah needed to hear a Word from the Lord. God is not interested in raising up a local Ninevite to become “local boy makes good” and to preach to the nation. God is not even interested in bringing in a mega-church pastor to come and share with the nation of Ninevah. God has decided to take, what the old preachers from Bishop College used to call, a “secret” and use him to preach to an entire nation about the goodness of God.
I need to say that if you are a “secret” today – you are in good company. When you read this Bible you will find out that when God wanted to do spectacular things, He chose to use “secrets.”
When you read the lives of the New Testament patriarchs alone. You will find out that God used secrets:
Secret wilderness evangelists.
Secret tax collectors.
Secret woman at a well.
Secret lame man by a gate called beautiful.
Secret former prosecutor of the church.
God is getting ready to move somebody in this room from the “secret” category to the “used by God” category. That’s why you’re catching hell on your job. That’s why your marriage is in trouble. That’s why your children are rebelling. That’s why your family has turned their backs on you. Because your secret days are numbered and God is getting ready to promote you to a position of service for Him.
Jonah is now on a ship. We don’t know how long he has secured passage on this ship, but we do know that has has left the Port of Joppa on the way to the Port of Tarshish. We do know that he must suffer from Klein-Levin Syndrome. In other words, it is an episode of excessive sleeping and a trance-like state.