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Right-Turn Jonah -- Running to God (Jonah 1:1-17 -- 2:10)
Sermon Notes
Sunday, 17 March 2013 00:00

God was not very gentle with Jonah, was He? He sent out a violent storm into the Mediterranean Sea, then He sent the sea creature to swallow him and Jonah had to spend these three horrifying days in the belly of the fish!

Why did God send the storm and send this sea creature? Why did God discipline Jonah?

It is because God loved Jonah SO MUCH! And I’m telling you – you know this – when you and I run from God, God isn’t always able to be gentle in dealing with His wayward children!
Sometimes He’s tough! He means business! He’s not going to let us be just happy-go-lucky. He’s going to come on HARD and STRONG – not to pay us back – but to bring us back!
He knew He had to come on strong with Jonah. And when Jonah got to the total end of himself, and prayed and cried out to God, here’s what he says of God at the end at the end of verse 2: You heard my voice."

Down there in the ocean and in the belly of a fish Jonah cried out, and God listened. God responded. And we learn from this the lesson we need to take to heart from Jonah 2 – you’ll see it over and over again in this story.

When you run to God, God runs to you!
When you’ve been running from God, He runs after you to discipline you, but when you run to Him, He runs to you – to respond and to bring you back into fellowship with Him.

In the rest of chapter 2, Jonah gives more detail of this “running to God” experience.
The first two verses we looked at are just kind of an overview or a summary, but now he goes on in verse 3 and says, “Let me give you more detail of the day that I ran back to God and how I did it. 3For You cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me.

Notice the first part of the verse: You cast me into the deep, …
Who cast Jonah into the deep? I thought it was the sailors that threw him overboard (1:15). No! Jonah knows that God just used those sailors to do the tossing! It was all part of God’s discipline in Jonah’s life.
THIS IS HOW you run to God! It’s not just crying out and asking for His help – it’s more than that. It’s by crying out and saying, “LORD, I recognize how You have delivered me from death – of which I was deserving! – I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."

When I recognize God’s deliverance of me, it implies that I’m going to do that one thing that He told me to do that I’ve been running from Him about.”

Jonah 1:9 9But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

How do these words in verse 9 go together?
Sacrifice - Thanksgiving - Paying of vows?

Why does Jonah mention the paying of vows here?
It comes out of Leviticus 7:11-18, in which the “thanksgiving sacrifice” is described.
One who perceived that God had delivered him could vow to praise God – that is – to pay for a sacrifice which would be eaten with a group. A share would be given to the priest. During the meal, the person would tell of the LORD’s deliverance.

In other words, if someone said, “I will praise the LORD,” it meant that he was saying,
“I have vowed that I am going to make a sacrifice in which priests will be able to eat a portion and I will share a meal with other people at my expense in which I will tell people about the LORD’s deliverance.” Praising the LORD involves ascribing something good to the LORD.
The “sacrifice of praise” is where the person expresses praise for God’s deliverance of him.

Hebrews 13:15 is germane here because in that verse it says that even now the sacrifice of praise is a legitimate sacrifice!
You may remember that the book of Hebrews is talking about the end of the basic sacrificial system, but there’s one sacrifice that remains ~ Hebrews 13:15 ~ Therefore by Him (Jesus) let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.
The author of Hebrews is telling us that we ought to be telling people about how good the Lord is, and about how He has delivered us! Salvation (Deliverance) is of the LORD. In the next verse Jonah tells us how the LORD delivered him. God heard Jonah’s prayer, and here’s what God did, as we see in v. 10 ~ 10So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.






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