Old Testament Series: Reflections From Inside A Fish
Minister: Rev. Olon M. Lindemood
October 1 and 2, 2011
Jonah Tries to Run Away from God
1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, 2 Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before me. 3 But Jonah set out 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 his fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord.
4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and such a mighty storm came upon the sea that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried to his god. They threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten it for them. Jonah, meanwhile, had gone down into the hold of the ship and had lain down, and was fast asleep.
15 So they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea; and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord even more, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 *But the Lord provided a large fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
Bible Basics: The Old Testament: “Reflections from inside a fish.”
Friends… our scriptures are fun to read… Today you can find a way to read this bible book… one of the books of the library!
During this message, listen for the simple ways that Lord and We human beings interact. Listen for how the human condition is so different from the Condition of the world that the Lord Wants! Jonah is a story that was telling all of Israel in the ancient world a simple message: “ You are the one to bring the Lord into every heart. Whether you like them or not!”
As we swim with Jonah today… listen for
To Jonah the Lord said … YHWH … said … “Go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it!
Remember how the Lord has a way of sending a messenger … When the Lord Shows up… there is often a message that says… “GO!”
Careful what you are seeking! “GO …”
Well … Nineveh was over there (point right!)
And Tarshish is over there(point left!)
Jonah was wanting to go the opposite direction from Nineveh … he wanted nothing to do with them! And he certainly did not want the Lord’s message to get to them!
The sailors were afraid … one among us has angered his god… they search … (go searching … which one of you has angered the Lord… Which one of you is trying to hide?)
They found him … asleep … asleep … not caring about the troubles…
Jonah told them to throw him overboard. They tried not to. But the storm remained strong. They prayed. “Please do not hold us accountable for this mess.” And they threw him overboard! The storm ceased.
A big fish swallowed Jonah!
Three days, three nights in the belly of the fish is what Jonah experienced. Three days, three nights to think. All that time to ponder about the Lord telling him go ….
A Psalm of Thanksgiving Jonah 2
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2saying,
‘I called to the Lord out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 You cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, “I am driven away
from your sight;
how* shall I look again
upon your holy temple?”
5 The waters closed in over me;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped around my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me for ever;
yet you brought up my life from the Pit,
O Lord my God.
7 As my life was ebbing away,
I remembered the Lord;
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who worship vain idols
forsake their true loyalty.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Deliverance belongs to the Lord!’
10Then the Lord spoke to the fish, and it spewed Jonah out upon the dry land.
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time… Go to Nineveh.
Three days to walk throughout the city… the first day … Jonah says, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”
And the people heard it. Put on Sack cloth… the King heard the news and decreed that all in Nineveh should repent and they all put on sack cloth …
And verse 10 of Chapter 3:
“When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.”
Yes… There it all was … Defiance, Compliance, and Deliverance ... It happened for Jonah … and it happened for Nineveh.
God rules and reigns! That’s so cool… Let that be the way you walk in life … When you awaken to your defiance … offer compliance … and then deliverance is sweetly yours…
HOWEVER … the story goes on…
Jonah’s Anger Chapter 4
“But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ 4And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.”
Jonah is defiant again.
Jonah goes to a hill overlooking the city. It is hot. The Lord offers a bush to shade Jonah. Overnight, the Lord sends a worm to eat the tree and Jonah’s shade is gone! (Comply!)
The Bush is gone … Jonah is angry again!...About the bush! Angry…
And then the Lord … says … your angry about the bush … But not the city of / All these people / the whole land of Nineveh? (Will you be delivered Jonah?)
Friends… dear people of Sunrise … Listen to your own walk.
Your defiance … “Yes Lord, you are gracious, and merciful, and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.” … Just don’t expect that from me. And do not make me the messenger for such a message! Don’t you do it Lord!
I want to hold the grudges of life / Judgments that you Lord should carry out…
Even though I hear a message otherwise … I will not comply …
In Jonah … Non-compliance meant:
- A storm
- Thrown overboard
- The three days and nights in the belly of the fish
- Spit out on the beach at Nineveh
- For Nineveh a scrawny / smelly hebrew man walking threw town … saying, “only 40 more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
- The shade tree destroyed.
- And the word that says…”do you really care more about the shade than all these people?”
So do you comply voluntarily or involuntarily?
Deliverance from the Lord is certain…
Because the best thing that Jonah knows is this:
“Lord, you are gracious, and merciful, and slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.”
Simple when we trust our Lord! Simple…