Summary: There is no where to hide when god is doing the searching.

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Title: The Wilhelm Scream

Text: Jonah 3:10-4:11

The Big Idea: There is no where to hide when God is doing the searching.

Acknowledgement: The title and four major points are lifted from Homiletics Magazine, Volume 20, September 21, 2008. The Wilhelm Scream, PP 21-24.


Let’s take a moment to listen to what has become a rather famous Hollywood sound effect. It originated in old westerns and has been used in all the Star Wars and Indiana Jones series. It was even used in the the production of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Theme parks also use the scream in their pre-recorded sound tracks, which has become known as The Wilhelm Scream.

Play the sound track of Wilhelm Scream.

I suspect the main character in our story today did some screaming of his own… The first scream we hear in our text is the scream of Jonah in full retreat from God.

1. The Scream of Retreat

And the Lord said, “Get up and go to the great city of Ninevah! Announce judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction… to get away from the Lord. Jonah 3:1-3

Jonah’s dilemma is not unlike any one of us who have a sense of what God wants us to do. A tension exists wherever and whenever we have to make a choice.

a. Being obedient to God has to do with external directional movement.

External directional movement is about what we do with our bodies… it has to do with action and activity.

• Do we do what God wants us to do?

• Do we do the opposite?

Jonah took doing the opposite to the extreme in that he literally ran in the opposite direction. Joppa was nearby… Joppa was a seaport town on the Mediterranean Sea a few miles northwest of Jersualem. Ninevah was considerably further away in the country we now call Iraq and was northeast of Jerusalem. Jonah was asked to go east but he went west… he did the opposite in an attempt to escape from God’s will for his life.

b. Being obedient to God outwardly or externally, is directly related to our internal directional movement.

Internal directional movement has to do with our wants and our will. It has to do with do we want to do God’s will or don’t we? It has to do with our willingness to move inwardly and outwardly in the direction God is leading. So ultimately, our outward direction is decided inwardly.

• Will we move out of our comfort zones and into the zone of God’s will?

• Will we move with our comfort zone and away from God’s will?

Jonah wanted no part of God’s plan. Jonah heard the Word of God and knew he should go to Ninevah, but something in him rebelled and he went with his gut instead of with his God.

God’s will is not necessarily difficult or dangerous. The fact of the matter is this, whenever anyone does not do what God wants them to do, it is because they do not like what God says or commands. So they do the opposite.

The High Point: However, there is no where to hide when it’s God who is doing the searching. But Jonah tried…

A week or so ago, during one of our area pastor’s meetings I saw a colleague who spoke here several years ago. He had moved away and had since returned to the Front Range so when I greeted him I remarked about how favorably he had been received and commented on his excellence in the pulpit… and then I jokingly said, “I generally don’t invite people in who make me look bad.” Unfortunately, another colleague and friend, who has also spoken at our church was standing nearby. What was intended to be a light-hearted exchange to make one colleague feel good… made another colleague feel like he was chopped liver.

Apologizing is not something I do or anyone does because it is easy… offering an apology is not in the comfort zone of most people. But I knew that God wanted me to go to the person I had hurt. If I was willing inwardly to do the right thing… then I would outwardly move to make the apology.

If you think anyone can escape the urging of God, you are mistaken. Had I not moved to make the apology… I would still be nagged by the fact that I had unfinished business needing to be done.

A drunk came home one night absolutely plastered… he was dirty, smelly, and had been in a bar fight. So he crept into the bathroom and cleaned himself up and then bandaged his bumps and bruises before slipping quietly into bed.

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