Scripture: Jonah 1, 2, 3
Sermon Audio: https://clyp.it/nxem24gr
Jonah, whose name means “dove”, was the first foreign missionary recorded in the Bible.
When the sailors question Jonah in the midst of the storm, they specifically ask him what HE did. He replies with who he is and who he serves. Their terrified response was: “What have YOU DONE?!” They do not blame God; they blame Jonah. And he doesn’t dispute this; he admits that it is his fault and he is to blame.
Jonah willingly sacrifices himself to save these other sailors; he had not idea if God would save him or not. Why should God? God had asked him to speak on His behalf and he turned his back and ran away.
The sailors at first refuse to sacrifice Jonah; they are afraid to harm this man on whom God obviously had His hand. They even ask God to forgive them for what they assumed would be taking his life in throwing him overboard.
God used Jonah’s disobedience to show Himself to these sailors and gather them in to Him in faith.
Even though Jonah was in the midst of disobedience, his failure was why these men turned to the Lord. God’s power and presence was made manifest to these men through Jonah’s disobedience but honesty.
God let Jonah sit in time-out in that fish’s belly until he remembered just what he needed to do: pray and obey.
God, however, did not drop Jonah in Nineveh afterward. Jonah still had to go. He’d prayed, asked forgiveness, but he still had to obey.
Jonah was right: one man against Nineveh could do absolutely nothing. Only God can do the work of God. But God is also the only one Who knows exactly who He needs to do that work with. None of us know better than Him, even when we are sure that we do. He’s not asking us to do the work; He’s going to with or without us. But He wants us to work with Him, to live Him out in our lives.