CHRIST THE ROCK CONGREGATION
DIMANCHE 9 AOUT 2015
SERMON: JONAH THE RUNNAWAY PROPHET
BY Pastor Marc E Simeon
Passage: Jonas 1: 1-17
1 ¶ La parole de l’Éternel fut adressée à Jonas, fils d’Amitthaï, en ces mots:
2 Lève-toi, va à Ninive, la grande ville, et crie contre elle! car sa méchanceté est montée jusqu’à moi.
3 Et Jonas se leva pour s’enfuir à Tarsis, loin de la face de l’Éternel. Il descendit à Japho, et il trouva un navire qui allait à Tarsis; il paya le prix du transport, et s’embarqua pour aller avec les passagers à Tarsis, loin de la face de l’Éternel.
4 ¶ Mais l’Éternel fit souffler sur la mer un vent impétueux, et il s’éleva sur la mer une grande tempête. Le navire menaçait de faire naufrage.
5 Les mariniers eurent peur, ils implorèrent chacun leur dieu, et ils jetèrent dans la mer les objets qui étaient sur le navire, afin de le rendre plus léger. Jonas descendit au fond du navire, se coucha, et s’endormit profondément.
6 Le pilote s’approcha de lui, et lui dit: Pourquoi dors-tu? Lève-toi, invoque ton Dieu! peut-être voudra-t-il penser à nous, et nous ne périrons pas.
7 Et ils se dirent l’un à l’autre: Venez, et tirons au sort, pour savoir qui nous attire ce malheur. Ils tirèrent au sort, et le sort tomba sur Jonas.
8 Alors ils lui dirent: Dis-nous qui nous attire ce malheur. Quelles sont tes affaires, et d’où viens-tu? Quel est ton pays, et de quel peuple es-tu?
9 Il leur répondit: Je suis Hébreu, et je crains l’Éternel, le Dieu des cieux, qui a fait la mer et la terre.
10 Ces hommes eurent une grande frayeur, et ils lui dirent: Pourquoi as-tu fait cela? Car ces hommes savaient qu’il fuyait loin de la face de l’Éternel, parce qu’il le leur avait déclaré.
11 ¶ Ils lui dirent: Que te ferons-nous, pour que la mer se calme envers nous? Car la mer était de plus en plus orageuse.
12 Il leur répondit: Prenez-moi, et jetez-moi dans la mer, et la mer se calmera envers vous; car je sais que c’est moi qui attire sur vous cette grande tempête.
13 Ces hommes ramaient pour gagner la terre, mais ils ne le purent, parce que la mer s’agitait toujours plus contre eux.
14 Alors ils invoquèrent l’Éternel, et dirent: O Éternel, ne nous fais pas périr à cause de la vie de cet homme, et ne nous charge pas du sang innocent! Car toi, Éternel, tu fais ce que tu veux.
15 Puis ils prirent Jonas, et le jetèrent dans la mer. Et la fureur de la mer s’apaisa.
16 Ces hommes furent saisis d’une grande crainte de l’Éternel, et ils offrirent un sacrifice à l’Éternel, et firent des voeux.
17 (2:1) L’Éternel fit venir un grand poisson pour engloutir Jonas, et Jonas fut dans le ventre du poisson trois jours et trois nuits.
Subject: JONAH THE RUNNAWAY PROPHET:
It’s a Fearful Thing to Fall into the Hands of an Angry God.
- Today the message will revolve around the first chapter of Jonah.
- Jonah is one of the Minor Prophets, so his book will be in that group between Obadiah and Micah.
- The person we are going to consider today has truly become a household name due to the miraculous event that has happened in his life.
- Every time someone mentions Jonah, the first picture that comes to mind is a live man inside a great big fish.
- We marvel over the story of Jonah, and some even have trouble believing the truthfulness of the story but I don’t.
- I know that it would surprise some you to find out that the man inside the great fish is not the highlight of the book of Jonah. The big picture of the book is how God chooses to display his sovereignty and compassion in dealing with a repentant nation and a rebellious messenger.
- The highlight of the book of Jonah really is how for the first time we see a pagan nation not only having reverence for the word of God, but acted upon it in the form of a first true national repentance which in turn spared them from the judgment of God.
- In all their existence, not even the Jews have come close to this type of spiritual awakening.
- Today however, we will narrow our focus on one of the many significant episodes that took place in the book of Jonah: namely the call and disobedience of Jonah.
- As you can see, with no former mention in the Bible, the book introduces us to Jonah as a prophet of Jehovah with a dispatch to show up in Nineveh for a special mission.
- We know his family name, but we don’t know his age or background.
- From what we know of him, we could almost call him the short temper preacher or prophet Sparky.
BACKGROUND OF NINEVEH
- It’s no secret that Jonah was not pleased with that mission call, for in spite of its splendid architecture and its technological advancements, Nineveh was the last place on earth that Jonah wanted to be.
- I know the tendency is to condemn Jonah for his lack of his lack of enthusiasm, but before we cast the first stone, let’s try to walk in the prophet’s shoe for a mile or two.
- Do you know how cruel the Ninevites were?
- Do you know how they posed a threat to the very existence of Israel?
- In the aftermath of the flood the Bible introduces us to man named Nimrod in Genesis chapter 10.
- Nimrod was one the most respected name of his time. He is known to have had supernatural powers, and his name still carries a great significance in paganism today.
- Anyway the Bible says that he became very powerful and built many cities one of which was Nineveh.
- Imagine a city built not too long after the flood of Noah, even before Abraham was called of God which means before the birth of the nation of Israel.
- Now think of how long it took from the call of Abram, the 400+ years in Egypt, the many years before Israel ever had a king in the period of the judges to the time where monarchy was instituted, after the reign of Saul, David, Salomon leading to the dividing kingdom to the eighth king of the northern kingdom Jeroboam II around 780 B.C. in which time Jonah lived.
- That’s over 2000 years of uninterrupted history for the city of Nineveh, no wonder it was called the great city with the population of 120,000.
- Although great political changes have occurred over the years but the city remained strong and powerful. Being located on the Eastern Bank of the Tigris River that surrounded the city provided them abundance of fishes and commercial exchanges.
- There is no doubt that their geographical location added to the greatness of the city. Nearly 3000 years of existence had made Nineveh a reservoir of wealth
- along with wealth comes power
- with power comes pride
- along with pride comes corruption.
- In term of their spiritual condition God describes them as a host of people who do not know their right from their left… meaning they were ignorant.
- The way they remain so dominant is by crushing the surrounded nations under their feet.
- A sample of what type of people the Ninevites were came even 70 years after Jonah’s ministry, where one of their wicked kings named Sennacherib would besiege Israel by cutting off even their water supply and waited for Israel to starve to death.
Now you are beginning to see why the prophet was not enthused to interfere with God’s plan to destroy the city.
- It seemed as if it was after unceasing petition before God from the part of Israel concerning Nineveh, the case has finally made it to the supreme court of God, but instead of immediate eradication of these barbaric people which seemed like the right thing to do, God is rather making moves as if to extend their wicked existence.
- Jonah said: “God wants me to be part of that! Sorry not me, not ever, never!!
- What if they listen to me? Not that I think that there is any hope that they can be changed, but what if they put forth a cheap display of repentance, that would surely delays God’s judgment.
- Anyway, I’m not going and that’s final! In fact I’ve been putting off a vacation to go to Tarshish, it’s not a bad time to get out of town.
THE RESPONSE OF JONAH
So Jonah began a path downward that ended in his grave really.
- He went down to Joppa, heading down to Tarshish.
- He went down to the bunk of the boat.
- When it seemed that he could not go any further down,
- Down we find him going to the bottom of the ocean on his way down to his grave.
On the other hand, while God is not short of messengers; while God doesn’t usually impose his will on people especially for service; this time God is about to face this prophet’s defiance head-on.
- “ It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God” Jonah will be paraphrasing this verse in no time.
While the prophet was busy fleeing the face of God, ask God and He would say “everything is on schedule”
- Without a steam boat,
- without an automobile,
- without an airplane,
- God would assure you that the messenger will be reported on the field in three days.
God knew that Jonah needed an upgrade on his understanding of Jehovah, so He decides to give him an object lesson.
When it’s all said and done, the prophet will be updated in the following insights concerning God.
- God is not bound by geographical constraints.
- God is sovereign and active over his creation.
- God’s command is not a suggestion.
- Man is no match to Almighty God.
JONAH THE RUNNAWAY PROPHET
- From the minute we are introduced to Jonah, we find on the run. He is running from God, and he is running from his mission.
- We know so much to say that he was a driven person, he was driven all right…. But he was not driven by the fear of God,
- He was not driven by a passion for lost souls.
- He is neither driven by a desire to see God revered throughout the earth.
- Jonah was driven by anger.
- He was driven by extreme patriotism that blinded him from God’s call.
- Finally Jonah was driven by a merciless heart.
It is fair to say that Jonah could have been driven by an honest by an honest indignation against evil, for the Ninevites were malicious people.
- They were made of many Saddam Hussein, many must have had Ladin and Hitler in their last names.
- Whatever the rationale Jonah should have never granted himself the permission to overrule God’s command and he will pay a heavy price for it.
IDENTIFYING WITH JONAH
- Am I not so much like Jonah?…….
- Are we not just like 21st Century Jonah?
- Those of us who grew up in the church can easily found ourselves guilty of having a vague and weak assertion of God.
- We are living in a culture where the word of God becomes subject to our judgment and our common sense.
- Most of the ways we act or react are based on the dictate of the situation, not from the perspective of God.
- Over and over even in Christian circles we find that the commands of God are being lowered to sample positive suggestions.
I know that nobody would want to be in the same wagon with Jonah, but in order to see how close to Jonah we have become it’s good to take a self examination.
- Think of how many verses in the Bible you wish you had the power to rephrase or removed.
- Think of how many messages that you’ve heard where you know that God was speaking to you directly and have managed to filter right through your conscience.
- Think of how many promptings of the Holy Spirit that had gone unnoticed by you.
- When was the last time you did anything because you felt a strong push From God.
- Some of us have been putting the Holy Spirit off for so long, giving Him the deaf hear that our hearts have become seared in the process.
- If it’s been long since you’ve last heard of God, I pledge you to take this matter seriously, for God is still speaking today.
The Sovereignty of God
Let’s rejoin the story to see where a willful defiant attitude toward God can lead.
- We know that in most cases, God would just ignore or even dismiss a rebellious servant like Jonah. But for this time it was different.
- We know that He almost killed Moses on the way to do His mission in Egypt because Moses neglected to circumcise his sons.
- We know that God killed Uzza for touching the arch of the covenant even when his motive was right but a basic principle was been violated.
- Now, what would God do to a prophet who not only ignores His command but is also pointing his fists at Him in defiance?
GOD WILL NOT BE MOCKED
- While Jonah thought that he was ahead of the game God had a surprise for Him. Too bad Jonah’s Bible only had the Old Testament, but he could have read Hebrew where it says “it’s a fearful thing to fall unto the hands of an angry God.”
- Instead of obeying God the Bible says: But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
- So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
- And the LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Jonah 1:3-4 (NASB77)
The diligences of the mariners to save Jonah
- These experience mariners master the skies, they can sense a storm from far off,
- They know what to do when the wind is not blowing in the direction they want to go,
- They know how to follow the northern star;
- They know how long it would take to get from one place to another.
- They had a fair knowledge of the spirit world also,
- They knew how to keep the gods happy in other words they were masters in their profession.
- Every indication predicted another successful trip.
- The ship was completely booked, everything was prepaid,
- The wind was in their favor, what better can one ask?
- Everybody seemed to be having a ball except that young man, he didn’t seem interested in the jokes, he looks like someone who had something eating him from the inside,
- Before anyone had a chance to talk to Jonah, he was gone.
- He went down to the bunk of the boat and immediately felled asleep.
- This man was not just sleeping he was dead or something.
- For as soon that he went down the storm began.
- I’m talking giant waves,
- I’m talking hurricane winds excess of Andrew and Katrina put together.
- The man was still sleeping like a baby… a dead baby.
- It wasn’t long before the crew realizes that they were not going to make it.
- They have done what they could, they have lighten the chip by throwing all the cargo on the sea, still there was no hope because the storm was getting stronger and they were in the middle of it.
- The Captain gets in the interphone and asks everybody to pray.
- The situation was desperate and divine intervention was needed.
- We’re missing one passenger the captain exclaims “ where is he?”… Jonah was still giving the zzzzzs.
- The captain had one of the workers to pour some water on him to wake him up. Are you nuts can’t you know we dying?
- Get up and pray to your God, maybe he would have favor on us.
- Jonah tries to pray but what kind of a prayer can a disobedient man mutter.
- While Jonah is trying to find the right words to begin his prayer, the passengers already concluded that there was an Acham among them,
- so they cast out lot ant the lot fell on Jonah.
- These guys really believe in that stuff, so they insisted Jonah to confess his sin.
- As you know they made the right pick, God must have something to do with it.
- Sure enough, Jonah confesses that he is the one who attracts this calamity upon them.
- Not only that he had to confess his sins, but he had to come up with the solution to remedy the situation for the storm was becoming increasingly violent. Jonah told them that they had to throw him off board for the calm to return.
- These men tried fervently to make it to shore but alas. So they pick up Jonah and ease him down.
- As they were lowering him, comes this giant wave who pick him up and that was the last they have seen of Jonah.
- Within minutes the sea was calm again, the sun was not far off, as the clouds were quickly vanishing from the sky they were out of the twilight zone as if nothing had happened.
- Still they were consumed with fear for this God of the Hebrews.
- They made vows probably to serve Him forever and they offered sacrifice toHim in awe and respect.
- Every eyewitness had to see psychologist when they made it to shore.
- Some went straight to the mental hospital were there were confined for months and years.
- As to what happened to the prophet, and what happened to the mission, as Paul Harvey would say “ Come back next week to hear the rest of the story”
WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR GOD TO GET YOUR ATTENTIOM
- For God to get Jonah’s attention, he had to drag him to the bottom of the ocean floor.
- What would it take for God to get your attention?
- Is it perhaps the lost of your job,
- your health,
- your mind,
- your reputation,
- your social status,
- your material possessions,
- death in the family,
- or perhaps your death bed?
- God is compassionate, he is kind and gentle, yet He gets very little of our attention when he displays these attributes the most.
- It is sad to know that some of you are knowingly rebelling the call of God in your life.
- Some are living a willful disobedient lifestyle,
- some are called to the ministry and are suppressing that call.
- Are you giving no alternative to God but to strike you with His anger?
- Many of us have had our semi Jonah’s encounter with God, please take our word for it, “it’s not fun”.
- There are some here may be that are rebelling the very call to make peace with God through His Son Jesus Christ, don’t wait for disaster to happen.
- There may not be another opportunity
- Come now as we sing :Tel que je suis sans rien a moi”
Tel Que Je Suis, Sans Rien A Moi
Tel que je suis, sans rien a moi,
Sinon ton sang verse pour moi,
Et ta voix qui m’appelle a toi,
Agneau de Dieu, je viens! Je viens!
Tel que je suis, bien vacillant,
En proie au doute a chaque instant,
Lutte au dehors, crainte au dedans,
Agneau de Dieu, je viens! Je viens!
Tel que je suis, ton cœur est prêt
A prendre le mien tel qu’il est,
Pour tout changer, Sauveur parfait!
Agneau de Dieu, je viens! Je viens!
Tel que je suis, ton grand amour
A tout pardonne sans retour,
Je veux être a toi des ce jour;
Agneau de Dieu, je viens! Je viens!