Delivered on 2/12/17
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose 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 down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
Funny Story Of Chances:
I heard about this man who bought a parrot. It was a beautiful parrot but he had a really bad mouth. He could swear for five minutes straight without repeating himself. The man was embarrassed because the bird was driving him crazy in front of people.
He tried to appeal to the bird by asking him to clean up his language. The parrot promised to change but nothing happened. In fact, his swearing increased in both volume and frequency.
It finally got to be too much, so the guy grabbed the bird by the throat and started shaking him and yelled, “Quit it!” But this just made the parrot angry and he swore more than ever.
Then the guy got really mad and locked him in a kitchen cabinet. That really aggravated the bird and he started clawing and scratching and making all kinds of racket. When the guy finally let him out, the parrot let loose with a stream of swear words that made the man blush.
At that point, the guy was so ticked off that he threw him into the freezer. For the first few seconds the bird squawked and screamed and thrashed around. And then there was silence.
At first the guy just waited, but then he started to wonder if the bird was hurt. After a couple minutes of not hearing anything, he was so worried that he opened the freezer door. The bird calmly climbed onto the man’s outstretched arm and said, “I’m really sorry about all the trouble I’ve been giving you. I make a solemn promise and vow to clean up my language from now on.”
The man was astounded. He couldn’t believe the transformation that had come over the parrot as a result of being in the freezer for only a couple minutes. The parrot then turned to the man and said, “I just have one question…what did the chicken do?”
The Bible tells us that Jonah bought a ticket to Tarshish in an effort to escape from the presence of the Lord and thereby avoid a God given assignment. From our text, we can see that God told Jonah to preach in the city of Ninevah, but Jonah was disobedient and ran away. We read here that he fled to the city of Tarshish from the seaport of Joppa. The distance from Joppa to Ninevah was nearly 700 miles; however, the distance from Joppa to Tarshish was about 2200 miles! Tarshish was on the Spanish peninsula and Ninevah was in Assyria; therefore, these two cities were on the complete opposite sides of the world.
Jonah did a complete U-turn and went in a totally opposite direction of God’s will. Because the Lord asked him to do something that he didn’t want to do and that he didn’t understand, he deliberately disobeyed. When Jonah fled to Tarshish he went three times the distance that God had asked him to journey when he was commanded to preach in the city of Ninevah.
You see, when we are in deliberate defiance to God, our guilt can sometimes result in running as far away from the Lord as we can possibly get. We will try to run from God, because we are hoping we can hide from His face. And think that, we can continue to live a life in disobedience. Outside of His will.
Apparently, Jonah forgot what King David knew about our God, and this is what he said…
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
We may choose to run from the Lord… but even if we do, we will still have to come face to face with God at some point or another and give an answer.
Jonah 1:3 - 1:5
3 But Jonah arose 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 down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
I want to briefly point out what happens when we run from the Lord. In verse 3, we read that “He went down to Joppa . . . and [he] went down into the the lowest part of the [ship].verse 5” We are going to notice later in the story that he also went “down into the sea,” and “down into the belly of a great fish.” Whenever we run from the Lord we wind up going down, and still farther down, until we hit rock bottom. And guess what? Gods WILL…will allow it!
Whenever we do our own thing, outside of Gods will…although in our minds, we can say its harmless, I’m not hurting anyone…it ok? But still outside of Gods will.
There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Acting apart from the will of God is what the Bible calls sin….
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
As you can see from the story of Jonah, he did just that! God gave Jonah a command, and Jonah chose to disobey. He chose a different direction thinking that he can run away and all will be okay.
Jonah is about to have a brush with death, because of his behavior. But our God is a God, who gives “A Second Chance”
Please bear with me, I have chosen certain verses to go with this message. If not, I have to put the whole story of Jonah on the powerpoint. But please, on your own studies the book of Jonah only has four chapters, but has very deep impact. I would encourage you to read it.
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said:
“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me. “Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.
10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Here we see Jonah’s brush with death that resulted from his disobedience to God. As Jonah sailed for Tarshish, a terrible storm arose that threatened the lives of everyone on board the ship.
You would think that things couldn’t get any worse for Jonah, with the storm and being tossed overboard, but next we see that Moby Dick came along and gobbled him up. We read here that a great fish swallowed Jonah. We don’t know exactly what this fish was, however, most children stories calsl the fish a whale. This great fish swallowing Jonah was not God’s punishment,as some believe it to be.
It was actually, Gods provision to redeem Jonah of His disobedience. Think about it. Jonah was thrown into the ocean, in the midst of a great storm. Even the most professional swimmers wont be able to survive such a storm. I don’t even think, Michael Phelps can survive that storm. Jonah was just a regular guy, just like you and me.
God provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, to save him from drowning. I know that science will tell you that…that is just completely impossible. Jonah would have been chewed up, digested and died. But…we are not dealing with science here. We’re dealing with God, where nothing is impossible.
The Lord revealed here that, he gave Jonah “A Second Chance” Yes!!! God was the One that made a Way! Jonah ran away from the Lord. Chose a life of disobedience, and God made a way for him to be redeemed. Same way that God made a Way for you and I to be saved.
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
This is a reference to Jesus lying in the tomb for three days and nights after His crucifixion and burial. God’s mercy toward us is so great that He gave His one and only Son to die for us and enter the place of death on our behalf, so that we may have eternal life. We can now relate to Jonah right! How many times have we disobeyed? Gone through a time of discipline, and even through that, God will still make a way to get us to the right path. It may not be a “great fish”, but God will make His point.
We read that Jonah was in the belly of sheol. Sheol is the Hebrew word for the “grave.” Jonah realized that his path of disobedience was leading him toward death and destruction, he was on his way to a spiritual grave. However, God had heard him in his state of spiritual distress, and answered him by having the fish spit Jonah out onto dry land. Whenever we are in a state of spiritual death and the grave, God hears us too… when we call out to Him.
As we read from the Book of Acts…
And it shall come to pass. That whoever calls on the name of the Lord
Shall be saved.
Saved from what? Spiritual death, or – to be more exact – “hell.” The King James Version translates Sheol as “hell.” Spiritual death leads to spending eternity in hell, which is a place of never ending torment. If you end up there…there will be no second chance. Its too late, make your walk right with the Lord here and now. As you can see from Jonah, he cried out while he was still alive. He knew he was facing death, and cried out God.
Jesus broke free from the tomb. Broke the sting of death. And so can you through Christ, and Christ alone.
9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Is it just that simple? I just have to believe…as scripture tells me to? Yes!!! Jesus took the punishment for you and I. God gave us His Son, as He gave Jonah “a great fish”, for what? So that we too can be redeemed! We too can be saved. We are told that if we will just believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, that we too will be raised from spiritual death into eternal life. Out of the belly of the fish. Out of the sting of death!
Lets continue with Jonah’s story. Jonah received mercy. Obeyed the Lord, and preached to Nineveh.
3 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. 4 And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. 6 Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. 7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. 8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish? 10 Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
God showed them…gave them great mercy. We read here that the people of Nineveh and their king repented and obeyed the word of the Lord. What could have made the people of Nineveh listen to a foreign god and then repent. Whatever happened, it’s interesting to note how quickly they repented. And believed in the One True God.
Jonah preached to the city of Nineveh for three days straight. His disobedience had taken him great distance away from God, however… the Lord revealed that His mercy was greater than Jonah’s disobedience. Once again, we are being reminded that God’s mercy is greater than our sin. The Lord wanted to make sure that the Ninevites heard His message and had the opportunity to repent.
I want you to notice how there is a contrast presented here between Jonah and the Ninevites. God spoke a word to Jonah, who was an Israelite and one of His own chosen people, and yet he became immediately disobedient. However, after the Ninevites, who were foreigners, had heard God’s message they were immediately obedient. They had forty days to think it over, but it appears that their repentance was immediate, and because of their immediacy in repenting of their sinful ways, God spared them His wrath. The Ninevites called out for mercy and they were saved from death and destruction.
But as we continue with the story of Jonah. We can see that he finally obeyed, and preached Gods word. But it seemed as though, Jonah was not happy with the result. Here lets continue…
4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
4 Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” 5 So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. 6 And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.
We see here one of the saddest accounts in the Bible. Jonah was hoping the Lord would destroy the Ninevites, and we read here that he was displeased that God had spared them. Its different from, when we witness someone being saved. We rejoice, we’re happy, when one come to Gods saving Grace. But not Jonah he left Nineveh pouting, and he journeyed to a safe vantage point so he wouldn’t get singed when God rained down His fiery judgment on the city, and there he sat, watching and hoping for their destruction. God had shown Jonah mercy for his disobedience, but Jonah didn’t feel like anyone else deserved it. The Lord had extended compassion and rescued him from drowning at sea,however, Jonah didn’t learn that he needed to show compassion on others in return.
Jonah was in Israelite, even then, before we start reading the New Testament, to them no one else deserved to be saved. The Ninevites were foreigners, they believed in other gods. Remember from our Bible studies, there’s Israel, and there’s everyone else. ( Gentiles ) outsiders.
Jonah’s heart wasn’t right with the Lord and at this moment he was in sin, but God still showed him compassion by causing a plant to grow up and shade him from the burning sun. You see, God loves us even while we are still in sin, for we read in…
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s mercy is unlimited. We saw that His mercy was great when it came to Jonah sinning. Even after Jonah obeyed and preached God words, Jonah continued to sin as we have read. Jonah was not happy with the results of Gods compassion. God showed Jonah mercy, and gave the Ninevites mercy. Here…lets finish Jonas story.
7 But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. 8 And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
9 Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
10 But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
God has provided so much for Jonah, and yet he could not see it. Jonah disobeyed, and faced death. God came to the rescue, when he heard Jonahs prayer. Jonah continued to be disobedient, but God out of his great love and mercy, showed Jonah His compassion.
The people of Nineveh was lost, God wanted to save them from their mistakes, from sinning. Gave them a chance to repent.
Church…if God were to ask you, Did you have to labor for your salvation? What would you say? If God were to ask you, when you sin, do I not provide for you a way of forgiveness, what would you say? God did it all through His Son.
We cannot be saved…redeemed without the sacrifice of His Son. ( Jesus Christ )
No amount of good work can ever pay for our sins to receive forgiveness.
God provided forgiveness through His Son.
You an I have been given “A Second Chance” in this life, because of Jesus Christ. No one else.
There is a Jonah in all of us. I hope that you have noticed through the message. This afternoon we have learned about God’s unlimited forgiveness for those who are living in sin. The Lord has shown us the ultimate act of mercy by giving up His one and only Son for us.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
I want to encourage you today to turn from your ways of running from the Lord and accept His unconditional love for you. If you have not already done so. If you have, and at some point in your walk, you have turned to the wrong path, cry out to God in prayer, he will hear you. If God heard Jonah from the belly of the fish. Will He not also hear you? Yes He WILL!
Pastor Richard Santos
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