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Wrong Way Jonah -- Running From God (Jonah 1:1-16)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 10 March 2013 00:00

What is the one thing that God tells Jonah to do (1:1-2)?

Jonah refused to do that one thing God that wanted him to do, and thus he was running from God! When God speaks to you and me concerning that one thing He wants us to do, and we refuse to do it, then we are running from God.

Why was Jonah so reluctant to preach in Nineveh?
Jonah’s reluctance is explained in these verses ~
3:10 ~ God relented from the disaster (talking here about the destruction or survival of the nation of Assyria. Jonah recognized that God is gracious and merciful.
4:1 ~ Jonah realized from the prophetic warning (God didn’t want to judge) that Nineveh would likely be spared. Indeed, when God saw the Ninevites’ response, He didn’t destroy their nation.
4:2 ~ Jonah was aware of Hosea 11:5 [“He (Israel) shall not return to the land of Egypt (there would be no undoing of their redemption); but the Assyrian shall be his (Israel’s) king, because they refused to repent.” (their servitude would be the consequence of their failure to walk with their God).
Jonah became angry! (“I just knew it!”) He knew that when God warned Nineveh, it meant that He didn’t want to discipline them. So Jonah figured that if I don’t go there, then they won’t have the opportunity to repent and thus God will have to destroy them! So I don’t want to say anything to those Assyrians that would allow them to be delivered!

As we look at the prophet Jonah, the question becomes, “What impression do we get?”
What a foolish prophet! Right? All the way through the book, that is the impression we come away with. And that is the impression the author wants for us to come away with!
And guess who the author was! JONAH!

Did Jonah ever figure out his foolishness? (Yes) How do we know?
He needed some time to see his foolishness. He probably wrote within a few years after 759 BC.
What was the evidence that Jonah later saw his foolishness?
He wrote it down (and we have the book of Jonah).

It was when he figured out his foolishness that he was able to write in order to show the northern kingdom that it really is a good thing that they have a gracious God. It was prophesied by Hosea (11:5) that Israel would one day be in servitude to Assyria. The Assyrians’ wickedness (“their wickedness” in Jonah 1:2) was their plan to attack and conquer the nation of Israel. Nineveh’s repentance allowed the nation of Israel an extra 37 years (759 – 722 BC) to survive with the opportunity to repent from their own idolatry (Hosea 11:2) and their backsliding (11:7). If God were not a gracious God, then Nineveh would have evidently attacked and conquered Israel during those 40 days before God would have destroyed them. This means that Israel would have been conquered 37 years before it actually happened if Jonah had had his way in the matter! So it is a good thing for everyone that God is indeed Who He is – a gracious and merciful God! He warns before He brings judgment because He doesn’t want to have to judge people and see people die. And God is sovereign and all-wise in His timing!

Lessons that Jonah teaches believers who run away from what God tells them to do:

1) Even believers like Jonah may at times find themselves running from God.
Jonah is referred to as God’s servant and prophet in 2 Kings 14:25.

2) When you refuse to do the one thing God tells you to do, you’re running from God!

3) When you run from God, you get hurt!
Jonah ran from God (1:2-3) and got hurt (1:15)!

4) When you run from God, you make bad decisions that hurt you.
How smart was Jonah to run from the Creator of the sea and land (1:9) via the sea?

5) When you run from God, another reason you get hurt is because you run right into God
Who sent this storm (1:4)? Jonah knew God was disciplining him (1:10-12)!

6) The very way we try to escape from God may become an instrument for His discipline.
Jonah decided to flee via the sea and the sea was used as an instrument to bring God’s discipline.

7) God brings discipline into our lives not to pay us back, but to bring us back to Him.
God disciplines out of His love for us (Proverbs 3:11-12 is quoted in Hebrews 12:5-6)!

8) When you run from God, not only are you going to get hurt, but others get hurt too!
The dumping of their cargo represented perhaps the loss of 6-month’s income (1:5)!

9) Those that get hurt by someone who’s running from God, can always reach out to God.
The mariners who were hurt by Jonah’s bad decision reached out to Jonah’s God (1:14, 16).

10) There is grace for the one running from God, so if you are, stop running away today!
Make the wise decision to obey God in that one thing He is telling you from His Word to do!

Next week we will consider Jonah’s running to God instead of running away from God.





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