Sermons

Summary: THERE ARE TIMES WHEN WE THINK WE KNOW BETTER THAN GOD WHAT HIS PLAN SHOULD BE. IF A LOVED ONE IS SICK AND IN PAIN, WE WANT TO TREAT THE PAIN RIGHT AWAY, WHEN THE PAIN COULD BE NECESSARY TO PROPERLY DIAGNOSE THE PROBLEM

WHEN GOD’S WAYS DON’T MAKE SENSE, THEN WHAT?

JONAH 1:1-16

WE’VE JUST STARTED A SERIES DEALING WITH THINGS IN LIFE THAT DO NOT GO AS WE WOULD WANT THEM TO. SOMETIMES IT SEEMS AS IF THERE IS TRIAL AFTER TRIAL PUT ON OUR PLATE AND WE WANT TO ASK GOD WHY THIS IS HAPPENING AND WHEN IT WILL STOP. THERE ARE TIMES IT SEEMS WHEN GOD’S WAYS MAKE NO SENSE.

WE ALSO KNOW THAT GOD HAS A PLAN FOR OUR LIVES, AND THAT PART OF THAT PLAN IS TO GO THROUGH TRIALS. TRIALS WILL BUILD MATURITY AS JAMES STATES.

JAMES 1:2-3:

CONSIDER IT PURE JOY, MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS, WHENEVER YOU FACE TRIALS OF MANY KINDS, 3 BECAUSE YOU KNOW THAT THE TESTING OF YOUR FAITH PRODUCES PERSEVERANCE. 4 LET PERSEVERANCE FINISH ITS WORK SO THAT YOU MAY BE MATURE AND COMPLETE, NOT LACKING ANYTHING

WHEN IN THE MIDST OF TRIALS, ESPECIALLY MULTIPLE TRIALS IT’S DIFFICULT TO SEE THAT GOD HAS A PLAN THAT INCLUDES THOSE TRIALS. AT THAT POINT WE HAVE TO MAKE AN IMPORTANT DETERMINATION. AM I FOLLOWING THE LORD, OR AM I ASKING HIM TO FOLLOW ME?

WE WOULD NEVER ADMIT THIS, BUT IN OUR MINDS WE THINK WE KNOW THE WAY GOD SHOULD WORK IN OUR WORLD, AND IT SHOULD BE THE WAY WE WANT HIM TO. WHEN HE DOESN’T IT GETS CONFUSING AND WE WONDER WHERE HE IS.

WE KNOW WHEN GOD IS TALKING TO US AND WANTS US TO ACT FOR HIM. AS CHRISTIANS WE HAVE THAT CONNECTION WITH HIM. HOW WE RESPOND TO THAT CHALLENGE THAT CALL WILL DETERMINE THE BLESSINGS HE CAN SHARE WITH US. THERE ARE THREE WAYS WE CAN RESPOND TO HIS CHALLENGE. THE THING THAT IS INTERESTING IS THAT IF WE ARE REALLY HONEST IN LOOKING AT THIS, WE WILL FIND THAT WE ARE NOT IN THE GROUP THAT WE WANT TO BE EVEN THOUGH WE KNOW THAT’S WHERE WE SHOULD BE. HERE ARE OUR THREE OPTIONS:

1. RESIST AND RUN: THE STORY OF JONAH

2. DISTORT AND DENY: THE STORY OF SAUL

3. TREMBLE AND TRUST: THE STORY OF HABAKKUK

I WAS GOING TO TRY TO COVER ALL THESE IN ONE MESSAGE, BUT THERE IS TOO MUCH IMPORTANT INFORMATION IN THEM TO DO SO. TODAY WE LOOK AT THE STORY OF JONAH.

POINT ONE: RESIST AND RUN: THE STORY OF JONAH

WHEN TRIAL AFTER TRIAL HITS OUR LIVES, AND WE TRY TO HANDLE THEM IN OUR OWN POWER, THE URGE TO RESIST AND RUN BECOMES OVERWEALMINGLY POWERFUL. WHEN THE TASK GOD CALLS US TO IS NOT ONE THAT WE WANT TO DO, OR WHEN THE WORD OF GOD IS CONTRARY TO WHAT WE FEEL WE SHOULD OR DESIRE TO DO, THEN THE URGE TO RESIST AND RUN THE CALL MAY BE PRESENT.

THIS YOU CAN SEE IS US TELLING GOD HOW HE SHOULD ACT AND WHAT HE SHOULD DO. IT IS THE FINITE PERSON TRYING TO DICTATE TO THE INFINITE AWESOME GOD. WHAT’S REALLY REMARKABLE IS THAT WE FEEL WE HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO SO.

IT IS THE CALL OF THE SPIRITUALLY IMMATURE. IT SAYS I DO NOT WANT TO DO THIS, AND GOD YOU CAN’T MAKE ME. IT IS THE OPTION THAT ROBS US OF BLESSINGS THAT GOD WANTS TO POUR OUT ON US, BUT CAN’T BECAUSE WE WON’T SUBMIT TO HIS WILL.

JONAH IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE RESIST AND RUN OPTION. YOU KNOW THE STORY. GOD CALLED JONAH TO GO AND PREACE REPENTANCE TO THE PEOPLE OF NINEVAH. IT WAS NOT THE FIRST TIME GOD SPOKE TO JONAH. IN A VERY DIFFICULT TIME IN ISRAEL’S LIFE GOD GAVE THIS MESSAGE TO JEROBOAM II THROUGH JONAH:

2 KINGS 14:25-27:

THE GOD OF ISRAEL, SPOKEN THROUGH HIS SERVANT JONAH SON OF AMITTAI, THE PROPHET FROM GATH HEPHER. 26 THE LORD HAD SEEN HOW BITTERLY EVERYONE IN ISRAEL, WHETHER SLAVE OR FREE, WAS SUFFERING; L THERE WAS NO ONE TO HELP THEM. 27 AND SINCE THE LORD HAD NOT SAID HE WOULD BLOT OUT THE NAME OF ISRAEL FROM UNDER HEAVEN, HE SAVED THEM BY THE HAND OF JEROBOAM SON OF JEHOASH.

NINEVAH WAS THE CAPITAL OF ASSYRIA AND WHEN GOD CALLED JONAH TO GO TO NINEVAH IT WAS THE LAST THING HE WANTED TO DO. ASSYRIA WAS A POWERFUL NATION CONSTANTLY THREATENING ISRAEL WITH CAPTIVITY AND NINEVAH WAS IT’S CAPITAL. WHAT A POSITION JONAH WAS IN. HE WAS TO GO AND PREACH REPENTANCE TO THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE COUNTRY THAT WAS LATER TO BE USED BY GOD TO PUT ISRAEL INTO CAPTIVITY.

LET ME PUT IT IN TERMS YOU CAN EASILY UNDERSTAND. I WANT YOU TO PICTURE IN YOUR MIND SOMEONE YOU LOVE DEARLY. NOW IMAGINE HEARING THE NEWS THAT THIS PERSON HAS BEEN BRUTALLY MURDERED AND THE POLICE HAS THE MURDERER IN CUSTODY. HE EVEN CONFESSED TO THE MURDER. YOU MAY FEEL RAGE AND ANGER BUILDING UP INSIDE YOU AS YOU SEE THE PRISONER ARRAIGNED IN COURT. THEN OUT OF THE BLUE GOD SPEAKS TO YOU AND SAYS: “I’M NOT THROUGH WITH THAT PERSON. I HAVE A PLAN FOR HIM. I WANT YOU TO GO AND TALK TO HIM ABOUT REPENTANCE AND GETTING RIGHT WITH ME.” MY QUESTION TO YOU IS, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

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