Summary: We all run, we all disobey, we all fall short but in His grace God grants us a second chance just as He did Jonah.
I Am Jonah
Part 1: You Can Run But You Can’t Hide
Pastor Ryan Akers
There are certain stories in the Bible that if you attended church as a kid you tend to have grown up with. Samson, David and Goliath, Moses and ten commandments, Daniel and the Lions Den, Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego, Abraham and Isaac, Noah and the Ark and of course one of the most famous ones Jonah. We typically associate these stories with children and for some reason continue to think of them as children stories but when you really dig into the truths behind the story you realize just how grown up these stories are. They’re not just kids stories but as adults we can relate even more to them because we can see the bigger picture of what God was trying to teach us through the story in a greater way than a child typically understands.
As kids Jonah was the story of this guy who disobeys God and so a big fish swallows him up and spits him out and then he obeys. That’s about the extent of what we get out of it as kids but the story is so much more than that. The more I read it the more I relate to it. Jonah is a man running from the will of God. He’s a prophet choosing to live in willful disobedience to God. In many ways we are just like Jonah and my hope over the next 4 weeks is to teach you just how much we are like Jonah in how we so much more often run from God rather than to God as well as reveal to you just how merciful and full of grace God is not just to us who fail him because of our sin but also to those who we would never consider worthy of saving.
Like Jonah we spend a lot of our time running from God and His will for our lives. For some the idea of admitting sin, seeking forgiveness and believing that Jesus saves them scares them. They don’t like the idea of losing control of their lives even though they’ve never had control of their life to begin with. They run.
Even those of us who believe in Jesus run. When the Lord prompts us to do something that’s outside our comfort zone we get nervous, we make excuses and we run. When the opportunity to take a big step of faith comes our way we would much rather take the safe way out rather than believe God will provide. Rather than confess that we’ve failed, we’ve sinned and seek forgiveness and redemption we run by pretending everything is fine and that what you’ve done is no big deal and no one should judge you. Or that it’s not you that’s the problem it’s the other guy. Like many of us, Jonah is a perfect example of a follower of God, a strong believer that runs from God when he is called to minister to a people that Jonah despises. He lives in disobedience. He refuses to do what God wants and because of that God has to get his attention using some drastic measures.
READ JONAH 1:1-17 Jonah has a rebellious spirit. Many of us if asked would like to believe there is nothing we wouldn’t do for God. I am sure Jonah would have said the same thing, but it is always interesting to me how much easier it is to follow God when he isn’t asking us to do something we don’t want to do. Or how much easier it is to follow God when there aren’t major problems happening in our lives. It’s when God challenges us or when we go through a hardship or tragedy that we truly find out just how much of a rebellious spirit we really have towards him and how much faith we put in Him.
Now Jonah is called a prophet. A prophet is simply one that speaks God’s word. They preached the truth. Jonah’s name actually translates into dove which signifies a messenger and the scripture says he was the son of Amittai which means truth. So Jonah was a messenger of Truth. So it shouldn’t be shocking when the scripture said that the Word of the Lord came to Jonah because that was common for a prophet especially a messenger of truth. He recieved the word of the Lord and told others God’s truth. We also receive the Word of the Lord today when we read Scripture, God reveals truth to us. When you listen to a sermon God is revealing truth to you. When you pray God reveals truth. The word of the lord is being revealed to us in the same way today.