Big Hill Christian Church
09 April 2018
Take a couple minutes today and write down in you notes all you know about the story of Jonah before you even pick up your Bible. What do you remember? Jonah was swallowed by a whale, right? Are you sure it was a whale? How did it come about that he was swallowed up? Was he fishing? What happened to him after he was "released" from the fish? Let's take a look at an old story we probably remember from our childhood and see what it teaches us as adults.
While Jonah is the main character of this account, the book is not completely about Jonah, but also about the Lord and His judgment on the city of Nineveh. Jonah is the prophet who was to take God's message to the people. But as we look into chapter 1 of this account we see some problems quickly arose.
Within the first three verses of chapter 1 we see God speaking to Jonah, the son of Amittai, "Arise and go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me." Notice what Jonah, the prophet of God does. Verse 3 states, "But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord." The Lord was instructing him to go to Nineveh and he sets out in a different direction from the presence of the Lord. Why would he do that? Why would a prophet of God go in a direction different than God commanded? You are going to have to keep reading to find the answer. For now, let's just look to what happened to him as he finds a ship.
He set sail from Joppa headed to Tarshish. He soon realized he could not run from God without consequences. Verse 4 plainly states, "The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so the ship was about to break up. You can continue reading the chapter to see what all happened.
Consider the following:
God called Jonah to "cry out" against Nineveh. Jonah ran away. God "hurled a great wind" and began to break up the ship Jonah was on. The lots casted indicated Jonah was the cause of the storm. He confessed his sin to the sailors and had them throw him into the sea, where again God had appointed a "great fish" to swallow Jonah. So, here we have Jonah going from his home to being three days and nights in the belly of a huge fish.
What kind of a mess are you in? What has God called you to do, and where did you attempt to run? What consequences are you suffering? We'll see tomorrow what Jonah said as he prayed to the Lord while inside the fish. What has swallowed you up and what have you said to the Lord? Think about this as we prepare to see what Jonah does next.