Pursuing Those Called to Tell       Jonah 1:1-4, 7-12, 17; 2:1-4 (HCSB)        Feb. 17, 2013


Introduction 

       Who is called to tell? In my opinion every Christian is called to tell; while some are called to specific places. The other night at a restaurant my wife and I talked to a waitress who had been witnessed to by the sheriff. She is a Christian and attends a Baptist Church because of his witness.

 

1.   Called to Tell; Which Way Are You Going? 1:1-3

       A.   Are You Going In The . . Directed Direction? 1:1-2

1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai:

       2 “Get up! Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because their wickedness has

       confronted Me.”

 

       B.   Are You Going Away from The . . Desired Direction? 1:3

       3 However, Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the LORD’s presence. He went down to Joppa and found

       a ship going to Tarshish. He paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, from the

       LORD’s presence.


       God desired for Jonah to preach against the sin of a particular city. Does God want preachers to preach against particular sins ands cities today? Yes! However the great commission is for every Christian to go and tell. Look around your church and ask are there people here because I invited them or told them about our church? Jonah deliberately went in the opposite direction from where God called him to go. It is interesting to read, he paid the fare and went down. That is talking about getting on a ship; but could also apply to the attitude and direction he chose to travel.


 

2.   Called to Tell; What Will It Take? 1:4, 7-12

       A.   What Will It Take for . . Ownership of the Problem? 1:4-8

      4 Then the LORD hurled a violent wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose on the sea that the ship

       threatened to break apart.

       7 “Come on!” the sailors said to each other. “Let’s cast lots. Then we’ll know who is to blame for this

       trouble we’re in.” So they cast lots, and the lot singled out Jonah.

       8 Then they said to him, “Tell us who is to blame for this trouble we’re in. What is your business and

       where are you from? What is your country and what people are you from?”

 

       B.   What Will It Take for . . Obedience to the Call? 1:9-12

      9 He answered them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and

       the dry land.”

       10 Then the men were even more afraid and said to him, “What is this you’ve done?” The men knew he

       was fleeing from the LORD’s presence, because he had told them.

       11 So they said to him, “What should we do to you to calm this sea that’s against us?” For the sea was

       getting worse and worse.

       12 He answered them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea so it may quiet down for you, for I know that

        I’m to blame for this violent storm that is against you.”


       God did not want someone other than Jonah to go to Nineveh so He went to extreme measures to bring Jonah to a place of williness to go to Nineveh. When the sailors ask Jonah why the sea raged and placed the ship in danger; he knew it was him and his disobedience he said, “for I know I am to blame.” This act of God also brought Jonah to a place of obedience. What will God allow to happen to get you and I to obey? Jonah must have had a terrible feeling because his sin caused the storm and the frightening experience for the sailors.

A shameful and reluctant witness always causes some to question how a person can disobey God like Jonah did.

Yet we all need to ask if we are being obedient to the Lord. Is there someone God wants us to witness to and we are going in the wrong direction for obedience to His will?


 

3.   Called to Tell; To Whom Will You Turn? 1:17-2-1:4

       A.   To Whom Will You Turn . .Surprisingly God Is Available. 1:17-2:1-2

17 Now the LORD had appointed a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the fish three days and

       three nights.

       1 Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from inside the fish:

       2 I called to the LORD in my distress, and He answered me. I cried out for help in the

       belly of Sheol; You heard my voice.

 

       B.   To Whom Will You Turn . . Securely God Is Available. 2:3-4

3 You threw me into the depths, into the heart of the seas, and the current overcame me.

       All Your breakers and Your billows swept over me. 4 But I said: I have been banished from Your sight,

       yet I will look once more toward Your Holy temple.

 

       I think Jonah was surprised to be inside of a whale and that he could pray and be heard from that location.

       I don’t believe we have evidence that Jonah prayed while going to Joppa or during his trip on the ship.

       He knew he was out of God’s will and as long as he regarded iniquity in his heart God would not hear his

       prayer. But from the belly of the whale surprisingly he prayed and was heard. Jonah experienced security

       from the Lord as he prayed. I believe Jonah felt remorseful about His actions, and no doubt pleased He

       sensed God’s presence as He looked toward the Temple. How did he know direction while inside the

       whale? Perhaps he just made a good guess, or looked up!