Summary: We can learn some interesting life lessons from the prophet Jonah
• SLIDE #1
• Today we begin a journey through a unique book of the Old Testament. Over the next four weeks I want us to take a journey together through the book of Jonah.
• Jonah can be called a unique book for a few reasons.
• One reason is that the book is more about the prophet himself than his message; also in the book of Jonah we have four miracles in the four short chapters.
• We have the miracle of the storm, the calming of the storm, the great fish, and a growth of the plant.
• The book also presents some unique challenges. Liberal scholars attack the book on the basis that a person could not live in the belly of a sea creature along with the questioning the other miracles of the book.
• Is Jonah a real person, is the book history or some sort of literary device to make a point?
• As a couple of points of interest, we have a couple of other touch points in the bible that verifies that Jonah was a real person and that Jonah’s ordeal was real history.
• Jonah was given a mission by God to go to the city of Nineveh to try to get the city to change its evil ways.
• The message was simple, “In forty-days Nineveh will be destroyed.”
• When I read the book of Jonah, I have to ask why God gave us a book that is about the life of a prophet instead of his work.
• My conclusion is that God has some lessons for us to learn from the life of Jonah.
• It is easy to get caught up in the miracles in the book of Jonah and miss the lesson that God has in store for us.
• Today we will look at our first life lesson, You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide!
• Let us begin in verses 1-2
• SLIDE #2
• Jonah 1:1-2 ( ESV ) Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”
• SLIDE #3
I. A REQUEST FROM GOD.
• There are many things about Jonah that are not typical to the other Old Testament prophets, but one thing that is the same is found in verse one. The Word of the Lord came to Jonah.
• God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and to warn them of their impending doom.
• This seems like a simple request, why would Jonah run from God? God just asked Jonah to go and tell them what He was going to do to them.
• You would think Jonah would enjoy telling the dreaded Assyrians that they going to go down in flames!
• A lesson that we can see right of is that God does not ignore the sins of a nation. The Assyrians were terrible people, they were cruel oppressors.
• What was it about Nineveh that so angered and disgusted God?
• Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrians, Israel’s’ archenemy. They were a brutal people with a horrible passion for a brand of brutality which made the surrounding people shudder with the horror of falling prey to them. We might say the Assyrians were the Nazis of those days.
• Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse said, “...calling Jonah to go to the Ninevites was like asking a Jew in 1942 to go from New York to Hitler, and tell him that God loved him, and that everything he did would be forgiven if he would but repent.
• So the Jew got on a train, all right, and went to San Francisco; then got on a ship to Japan! He wanted nothing to do with it.” Ron R. Ritchie, Discovery Papers, Jan. 29, 1978.
• Everyone has been given a request from God, God wants everyone to be a part of His family, but all too often, the request goes unheeded.
• This leads us to verse three.
• SLIDE #4
• Jonah 1:3 ( ESV ) 3But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
• SLIDE #5
II. A PROBLEM DEVELOPS.
• This seems simple, God gave Jonah a job to do and Jonah then should go out and do it, right!