Go Fish #1 & #2 – Ready to Run – a series in the book of Jonah

Go Fish
Ready to Run
Message #1 & #2
Jonah 1:1-16
Intro:
– We are beginning a series in the book of Jonah. The series will be called, “Go Fish.” It will consist of 4 messages. This book will teach us a lot about who God is, and how to live for Him.
– Just to give you a little background on the situation at hand, we are in the Old Testament. This is important to note, because God is working out His plan in the world by dealing specifically with the nation of Israel. The Church does not exist and won’t exist until a couple of thousand years from this point. Jesus has not come yet, the cross, and the resurrection have not happened yet. Nineveh is the capital of the Assyrian empire. Assyria is one of the most powerful empires in the world at this time and they do not like the Israelites. They are not very kind toward the people of God in Israel. Also, as we gather from the book of Jonah, it becomes clear that Nineveh and its people are representative of Gentiles as a whole.
– This raises some problems for Jonah the prophet of God. The first problem is that he is an Israelite, the covenant people of God. They are special, they are God’s people. Jonah is sent with messages from God to the Israelites, not Gentiles! God on this occasion is sending Jonah to the wrong people (at least in his own mind). The second problem is that Israel was viewed as an enemy by Assyria. There was always a danger that the Assyrians would wage war on Israel for the land, and destroy everything (this did happen at a later time – when the northern kingdom was deported to Assyria)! Why would Jonah want this group of people who were such a great threat to God’s people to be warned? Just let God judge them, so that God’s people Israel would be safe.
– To say the least, Jonah is very reluctant to go to Nineveh the capital of Assyria.

I) The Call and Response (1-3)
– God notices sin and doesn’t like it (1-2)
* The Word of the Lord came (1)
~ A common phrase used to indicate the divine source of the prophet’s revelation
~ Jonah – a prophet from 800-750 BC
> 2 Kg 14:25
* Nineveh the great city (2)
~ built by Nimrod – Gen 10:11-12
~ in 700 BC Sennacharib made it the capital city of Assyria, until in its fall in 612 BC
~ Nineveh is over 500 miles from Jonah’s hometown of Gath-hepher
* Their wickedness has come up before Me (2)
~ the only wicked thing described in the book is violence – 3:8
~ Nahum tells us later that Nineveh’s sins included
> plotting evil against God – 1:11
> cruelty and plundering in war – 2:12-13; 3:1, 19
> prostitution and witchcraft – 3:4
> unfair business practices – 3:16
– When God tells you to do something, you can either obey or disobey (3)
* Jonah flees from God in a boat headed for Tarshish
~ it was in the opposite direction, to what seemed like the end of the world to escape God’s assignment

II) The Perfect Storm (4-14)
– Disobedience to God’s commands brings serious consequences (4-6)
* Jonah can’t escape God (4) – Ps 139:7, 9-10
* Jonah was supposed to be warning the Ninevites about God’s coming judgment, but his refusal to go brings these unbelieving sailors into danger (5)
~ the sailors worshiped many gods
* The captain approached him (6)
~ the unbelieving captain’s concern for everyone is a contrast to Jonah’s refusal to obey God and take warning to Nineveh
– Things don’t happen by accident (7-8)
* The lot fell on Jonah (7)
~ casting lots was frequently practiced in the ancient Near East, sticks or marked pebbles were drawn from a receptacle into which they had been “cast”
~ the guilty one is exposed
* Who, what, where??? (8)
~ the sailors want to know who Jonah is and what he has done
– When you are a child of God and you disobey, God disciplines you (9)
* Hebrew – Abram, the father of the Hebrew people, is the first biblical character to be called a Hebrew. It was usually an ethnic term used by non-Israelites in a derogatory way
* I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land
~ these unbelieving sailors would have understood Jonah’s words as describing the highest divinity
~ this was Jonah’s first confessional statement (1:9; cf. 2:9d; 4:2). It is completely true, Jonah is orthodox in his beliefs, but refuses to fulfill his mission from God
– It is confusing to non-believers when believers disobey God (10-11)
* How could you do this? (10)
~ this is a rhetorical question, most certainly asked in disbelief
~ the sailors hear Jonah’s description of his God, and can’t believe that he won’t fulfill this God’s mission
* What do we do with you? (11)
~ they know Jonah’s God is mad, what do they do to make Him not mad?
– People should be very cautious what they do to God’s servant (12-14)
* Throw me into the water (12)
~ Jonah would rather die than go to Nineveh, mercifully this will save the sailors, but in his mind not the Ninevites
* They rowed desperately to return to land (13)
~ they are not so sure about drowning God’s servant, that might make Him angrier
~ the sailors are reluctant to drown Jonah, a contrast to Jonah refusing to warn Nineveh about the coming judgment
* Don’t let us perish on account of this man’s life (14)
~ the non-believing sailors understand that even though he is disobedient, Jonah is still God’s servant. Therefore, they are cautious to harm him. This is something that not many people practice today, not even church people. Sometimes pastors face their greatest attacks from church people, this is a shame!

III) The Problem Solved? (15-16)
– Sometimes situations cause non-believers to revere God, His reputation is exalted (16)
* The men feared the Lord greatly
~ ancient non-believers were ready to recognize the existence and power of many gods. However, the sailors acknowledged that the God of Israel was in control of these events and at this moment He was the one to be worshiped

Conclusion:
– Wow, what a series of events that have occurred already in this account! God has called his servant to do something that he does not want to do, and he runs. We are beginning to see that he cannot run forever, the mission must be carried out.
– Some principles we see in the first message:
(1) God notices sin and doesn’t like it (1-2)
(2) When God tells you to do something, you can either obey or disobey (3)
(3) Disobedience to God’s commands brings serious consequences (4-6)
(4) Things don’t happen by accident (7-8)
(5) When you are a child of God and you disobey, God disciplines you (9)
(6) It is confusing to non-believers when believers disobey God (10-11)
(7) People should be very cautious what they do to God’s servant (12-14)
(8) Sometimes situations cause non-believers to revere God, His reputation is exalted (16)
– Next week we will take a look at message #2 in our series, “Go Fish” which is entitled Missing the Boat.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s