Summary: Five Points - 1. Jonah Needs To PAY ATTENTION; 2. Jonah Needs To Be WOKE UP; 3. Jonah Needs To Be FOUND OUT; 4. Jonah Needs To Be SACRIFICED; 5. Jonah Needs To Be A MISSIONARY
You Can Run But You Can't Hide
There is a hymn that we sing in church sometimes - it's called: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". One of the stanzas in the hymn says:
"Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand'ring from the fold of God,
He, to rescue me from danger, Interposed his precious blood,
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love.
O to grace how great a debtor Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let they goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to thee"
I read those words and think about how quickly we are prone to wander. I think how far we can go. And I think how easy it is to deceive ourselves and others when we have stepped out of the will of God. These searing words speak to an inner battle we all feel from time to time - a battle we sometimes win - sometimes loose. Sometimes we walk in God's will - other times we don't.
"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love."
Anytime we walk out the will God we sin.
Have you ever heard anyone complain: "God is too loving. God is too kind. God is too forgiving. God shows too much mercy." No - I have never heard anyone say that either. But that is what Jonah thought. God wanted Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to them - Jonah wanted Nineveh punished. But Jonah knew that if he went to preach to them that God might just let them off the hook - God might forgive Nineveh. So Jonah ran away - he ran as far as he could. He booked passage on a ship headed to Tarshish. He didn't miss the boat. He got on board. Jonah was confident that He had outrun God. Went down in the hold - and then he took a nap. But the fact is:
No one can out-run God
So what does God do:
"The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep." Jonah 1:4-5 (NASB)
1. Jonah Needs To PAY ATTENTION
It must have been a really bad storm because these men - who were professional sailors - who had seen it all - were afraid. They had never seen anything quite like this storm. They were hardened sailors and were used to the dangers of a life at sea, but this storm was worse than anything they had encountered before.
Notice that they did two things to try to save their lives.
A. They prayed.
B. They threw the cargo overboard.
We all know that life can change in a moment. There can be storms. There can be troubles. There can be sickness. There can be death. There can be financial collapse. Problems can happen at any moment. The best thing we can do is to start with prayer - then take action to help the situation. But did the storm get Jonah's attention. No! Jonah was still fast asleep.
Before I move on let me point out a fact:
Others Suffer Because of Our SIN
We think that when we sin - we are only hurting ourselves. Folks - that is not true. Look at the story: Everyone on board the ship is endangered by Jonah’s sin. We are all in the same boat. Jonah was the sinner in this situation, and yet his foolish rebellion endangered everyone around him.
Please ponder these four words: We never sin alone. We may be alone when we sin, but we never sin alone. Our sin, our compromise, and our deceit always injures those around us - our spouse, our children, our friends, and our family.
Every step we take out of the will of God hurts those around us.
Jonah is sleeping but:
2. Jonah Needs To Be WOKE UP
As the ship is tossed by the waves - as the ship groans and creaks under the power of the storm - as the sailors are throwing the cargo overboard - where is Jonah? He is in the hold of the ship fast asleep.
You might think he’d be on deck helping the sailors. Not a chance! He’s down below taking a nap. Verse six tells us:
"So the captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish." Jonah 1:6 (NASB)