This message was preached by Sunith Nallala at Word of Grace Church on October 30th, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
We will look closely into the life of Jonah today. Jonah 1: 1-2: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.””
A short history of who Jonah is- 2 Kings 14:24-25- he’s a prophet of God. He belongs to the 8th century BC when Jeroboam 2 was ruling Israel then. Nineveh is build by Nimrod after the flood. It’s the capital of Assyria. They have invaded Israel for many years. They are brutal and cruel.
Gen 6:5-6 during the time to Noah, God wiped away the entire mankind. And during the time of Abraham, God also destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. We see God as an angry God in the Old Testament. But here in Jonah, God is being merciful. This reminds us of the love of Jesus who came down for the sinners.
But Jonah ran away. In verse 3 it says “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.” Jonah knew about the Assyrians who were cruel and saw their brutal behaviour towards the Israelites. This might be one of the reasons why he fled away. Tarshish is a city in Spain.
· God is all powerful. He sends a storm where Jonah was travelling in the ship. There was fear in everyone except Jonah. He shook Jonah to say- I’m there, obey me. In verse 5- “All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep.” Jonah was so reluctant to come back to him. In addition to that, he goes off to sleep when there was a storm. At times we too disobey God’s word and his call. We are reluctant to go back. We could have found ourselves in the same place that Jonah is right now.
In Verse 9 Jonah announces God’s character- “He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.””
· God is a mighty God. The sailors ask him, what should they do? Jonah knows the answer, but he is reluctant to do it. Pleasing God is the first purpose of our life.
The Sailors disobeyed by not throwing Jonah into the water. God made the storm wilder. When they obeyed, immediately God calmed down the sea. Obedience changes situations in our lives. God uses our situations to discipline us. God develops our character using the difficult situations in our life. So, God gets all the glory. When Jonah was thrown into the water, God sent the fish to protect him.
We see Jonah’s prayer in Jonah 2: 1-9. When we cry out to God and seek for forgiveness, we come into new life with Jesus. This is also a picture of baptism. Jonah is immersed into the water where his old life has died and is now a new creation. He rose up from the water when the fish vomited him onto dry land.
· God is a saviour. In Jonah 3, God commissions Jonah again. He is charged with the spirit. He boldly goes and proclaims to Nineveh their future and the forgiveness of God.
· Our God is compassionate. In verse 5, the Ninevites believed God- they mourned and repented. Obedience to God leads to salvation from destruction.
Jonah 4:2- “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity”. Jonah was not able to forgive the Ninevites. He pleads with God to take away his life. God says, have you any right to be angry?
God did not send Jonah to condemn Nineveh, but to bring it to salvation. God shows us a wider picture of what his will is. He is concerned about the salvation of his people. Preaching the gospel is very important to us.
Matt 28:18-20 is the great commission he has given is to make disciples of every nation. His assurance is that he is with us till the end of the days. God is merciful, all- powerful, gracious, compassionate and rich in love.
We need to obey God- his word and his call on our lives. When God speaks to you, just obey what he says. He will reveal his mighty purpose and his will into your life.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
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