Sorry, Not Sorry (Jonah 1:1-17)
– As Christians, it’s easy to lose sight of who we are serving, and what our priorities should be.
– Our provider: Job, Govt, etc… Our Allegiance: Country, Moral Stance, our chosen side…
– Who are we fighting against?
– A country, people, or religion? A way of thinking? Or just anything that fights against us?
– Comfort can make us complacent. If it doesn’t hurt, we forget about it.
– Example: When you have physical pain, you think about it constantly. Rehab, meds, ice… When it goes away, you fall right back into your old routines. (Like my back, I stopped stretching, and rehab exercises, pain came back…)
– Our lives are comfortable, and let’s face it, our “hardships” are mostly our doing. (Not living God’s word, poor money management, selfish in relationships, not taking care of our bodies…)
– The Prophet Jonah lived in a world similar to ours: Politically prosperous, but spiritually dark.
– Israel’s King was spiritually failing, but the people were still thriving, and the Kingdom was growing. They had made it back to where they were in the glory days of David and Solomon.
– Jonah had predicted this expansion, and national zeal was running high.
– Nineveh was part of the Assyrian empire. Once a very powerful empire, but now in decline and at a real low point in their history.
– The Assyrians are the enemies of Israel, and have been at war with them for 100 years.
– They are the Enemy, pagans, murderers, deserving of the “white hot” wrath of God!
– Jonah has been tasked with warning Nineveh that God’s judgment is coming, (and this will ultimately give them a chance to be saved from it.)
– Jonah, the prophet who preaches the prosperity of his own people, now must bring a warning from God to the very people who have spent 100 years trying to oppress them.
*(Read) Jonah 1:1-17
– First things first: Jonah was swallowed by a “great fish”?
– This is not a metaphor. This is a historical, physical, event. Maybe a whale or shark, or maybe a “one time” animal specifically created for this purpose.
– Why is the miraculous always such a deal-breaker for us? How can it be true if we can’t explain it? (Our entire faith is based on miracles- Virgin Birth, Jesus conquering death, etc)
– God has supreme power over nature! (Creation, shut lions mouth, calm storms, red sea)
This scripture shows us 3 things:
- The heart of God.
– Jonah fled because he knew that God is merciful and loving, even to his enemies.
– If that weren’t the case, verse 3 would read, “Then Jonah went straight to Nineveh to announce God’s wrath, and smugly tell them ‘I told you so’.”
– Psalms 86:5, O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.
– God’s wants us all to be saved. Remember, you were God’s enemy when he saved you!
- The heart of Man.
– Jeremiah 17:9, The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is?
– Jonah is a spokesman, ambassador, servant of God himself. When given this task, he ran from it.
– Jonah has a “heart condition” problem.
– Maybe he is afraid that he won’t be loved by the people anymore? (This would be unpopular)
– Maybe he had become complacent with his easy godly service. (This would be hard!)
– He would rather face death, then see his enemy have life. (He didn’t share God’s priorities)
– Jonah knows the storm is his fault because of his disobedience, and he admits it.
– He is SORRY, and feels guilty and shameful. I’m sure he wished this all never happened…
– But he is NOT SORRY enough to seek forgiveness from the ones he has hurt, or even from God. His behavior doesn’t change. He still doesn’t obey God.
* Admitting guilt and feeling bad about it is NOT the same as seeking forgiveness!
– Isn’t it ironic (don’t you think) that after God showed up and calmed the storm , and the pagan sailors worshipped God, while God’s own prophet sank in the ocean, drowning in his disobedience and shame?
– The sailor’s probably didn’t become “believers”. More than likely they just added God to the list of other gods that they regularly pray to.
– The sailors even showed Jonah mercy by not throwing him overboard at first. (TWIST!)
– Again, God shows his heart and character when dealing with the lost.
- Discomfort makes us move. Adversity causes us to turn towards God.
– Example: Christianity is growing in persecuted countries, and falling in comfortable ones.
– China: 2nd fastest Christian growth, although it is illegal, and church members and leaders are being persecuted and killed regularly.
– Saudi Arabia & Yemen: In the Top 7 fastest Christian growth, and also in the top 7 most dangerous countries for Christians to live in.
– In the last 100 years Christian growth has exploded in sub-Saharan Africa, but has steadily declined in Europe. In the same time, the economy has boomed in the 1st world.
* Physical comfort breeds spiritual complacency.
– You must recognize the thing inside of you that is driving you. (Selfish sin, or Spiritual service?)
– It’s “human nature”: For most of us, it will take a crisis to expose what is inside of us.
– Example: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. Hard-wired survival mechanism. (I am “flight”.)
– I constantly fight fear and self-doubt, but it doesn’t have to define me. (I recognize it!)
– I know my default, and I work very hard and intentionally to overcoming it.
* Spiritually, it works the same way. It is in our “human nature” to be sinful. If you recognize it, you can be intentional about changing how you will react in spiritual crisis.
– Instead of selfish, you will think of other’s well-being. Instead of seeking YOUR heart’s desire, you will seek the desires of God’s heart.
– It never goes away, so you must never stop training yourself to resist it.
– The more we create a comfortable place in this world, the less we seek out comfort in God.
– Not that “being comfortable” is bad, just don’t let it separate you from God.
– That is the mistake that Jonah had made. He needed some discomfort to bring him back.
– Being in the “belly of a fish” is a good place to take a little personal inventory, and reflect on what is really important.
– God took Jonah out of his comfort zone, and made him fully depend on God.
– In crisis, Jonah gets to find out what is really inside him. What is driving him to act.
– God showed Jonah mercy, even when Jonah was unwilling to show mercy to others.
Understand this today:
– God’s people are not immune to the subtle draw of our own humanity and sin nature.
– As a believer in Jesus, God has made you a new creation!
– We need to intentionally reject the “will of man” inside us, leading us to selfish desires, and recognize the will of God that HE has set before us.
– 2 Corinthians 4:16, That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
– “Being sorry” does nothing for you, or for God. Repentance is necessary. Ask for forgiveness from God, then turning away from our sin.
– Life in Christ is a journey, not a destination. Don’t get distracted!
– Example: There are 1.6 million traffic accidents attributed to cell phone use, every year. That’s 1 in 4 overall. Being distracted will get you in trouble.
– Stay engaged. (Don’t use your spiritual cruise control, or start to coast.)
– James 4:17, Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
– Discomfort can be our friend. The pain forces us to focus on the cure.
– 2 Peter 1:3, By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.
– prayer –