God of the Second Chance #02
Resistance is Futile, Submission is Sweet
So, one of the things I appreciate most about this story is the full honesty with which it is told. We see Jonah, warts and all. Jonah is portrayed as a real character with great victories and abilities, and epic character flaws and failures. We may not like what we see but I think we have hope as we realize that God can use us too.
So we know that Jonah had been a popular preacher at home. Then God calls him to go to Nineveh, a wicked and godless city to preach repentance … but Jonah runs.
So, chapter one ends with the understanding that resistance is futile. In the midst of the God sent storm, Jonah is cast into the Mediterranean. The seas calm and he is swallowed by a giant Fish that God had prepared for his deliverance.
Chapter one ends with “Jonah was inside the fish 3 days and nights. What happened during those 3 days?
Well, they say there are no atheists in fox holes and I guess the quickest way to get a preacher to stop running is to swallow him into the bell of a fish.
READ JONAH 2
“Pastor, do you believe that Jonah really was swallowed up by a fish?”
Well, let’s see, I believe that the world was created in 6 literal days by God’s command, out of nothing
I believe the world was covered in a worldwide flood that was only survived by Noah and his family
I believe that God parted the Red Sea, stacked up the Jordon, and dropped the walls of Jericho.
I believe that David killed a Giant with a slingshot
I believe Jesus was born of a virgin, that he made blind to see, lame walk, deaf hear, and raised the dead.
I believe that Jesus died, was dead on Friday afternoon, buried in Joseph of Arimethea’s tomband on Sunday morning, Jesus rose bodily, alive from the dead …
Furthermore, Jesus said that Jonah being in the fish was like him being in the tomb. He said that Jonah was a sign to Nineveh just as his resurrection would be a sign to the world.
So, Jesus rose from the dead … and Jonah was inside the fish for three days
This week a two week old baby survived 46 hours in the rubble of a building after the earthquake in Turkey.
Jonah survived in a Fish for 72 hours.
Our question today is “how do we go from running from God to Following God and what happens along the way?”
We have to DIE to SELF … v2 … Brokenness is where it begins
Psalm 51:17 says brokenness and a contrite or humble heart are what God desires
Running from God made it all about Jonah
Submission is all about God
The only way back to God and into his plans is by denying self.
When God reveals himself … pride sometimes has a different plan and says “But I want …”
God’s 1st Revelation to us is that he is Sovereign God and Savior.
In that revelation he also reveals that we are sinners and that we have no righteousness that would make us acceptable to God … And God’s revelation always requires us to DENY SELF
As followers of Christ and born again believers … the same is true …
God revealed himself to Jonah. He revealed his holiness and the wickedness of Nineveh. But that revelation revealed something else that our preacher knows … that is, when God reveals his holiness and wickedness, he is offering repentance and forgiveness
Jonah allowed self to rise … he didn’t love Nineveh … perhaps he feared Nineveh
But now … under God’s direction … he was in the Mediterranean Sea, in the belly of a Fish … as far as he knew, he was as good as dead … so what does he have to lose?
We have to come to the end of ourselves …
however, we get there … we HAVE to get there … we have to get to the place where we realize that He is our only hope, our only way, the only truth.
Luke records when the disciples first realized who he was. In Luke 9:20 … Jesus asked “’who do you say, I am?’ Peter replied, ‘The Christ of God.’” … Matthew’s account of this says that this Revelation came straight from God. But what were they to do with this revelation? In Luke 9:23 Jesus says “if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”
Jonah had to deny himself as well. He knew that he wasn’t in charge. He knew that he couldn’t control anything.
V2 in his distress he cried out … he made an impassioned petition to the Lord … from the depths of the grave … he called it
And we … like Jonah must die to self in submission to God’s right to rule in our lives …
And there must be genuine
2. Confession of Sin
One of the most beautiful truths in scripture about God is that he is
Compassionate and Gracious, Slow to Anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:6-7)
We know also that God told Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land
And John taught us in 1 John 1:9 if you confess your sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us of all unrighteousness
Jonah knew God’s word and God’s Character … he preached God’s Word
Jonah had memorized God’s word because his prayer contains alliteration to some of David’s Psalms
And so from his heart, quoting God’s word, Jonah prayed
V7 “I remember you, Lord, and my prayer rose”
V9 “I will sacrifice”
Those are all acts of confession
You might think that confession is easy for a preacher, but it might even be harder because he knows better and he knows what he should have been doing and it’s hard to admit that he wasn’t.
Confession and Submission is dying to self and desiring to LIVE through Christ
Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ lives in me, the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me
Knowing that God is our only hope, Submission and confession came that day because of a great realization
Jonah realized … A relationship with God was better than anything he would have in life
When you read this prayer that is chapter two, you might think that this is an editorial prayer offered AFTER the fact. But this is NOT a prayer AFTER the fact. Verse One says “From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God.”
When you are in the Mediterranean Sea, in the belly of a fish … you figure … your life is over … Jonah wasn’t so much worried about physical life … he was worried about life with God
V3 – YOU (God) hurled me into the deep
YOUR waves swept over me
What did Jonah realize? What was he worried about
V4 “I have been banished from your sight”
Jonah understood that being in God’s Presence was the only place to be
This same preacher, who worked so hard to run, knew that he needed to come back home. Everything he wanted and needed was in God’s will
Luke 15 tells the parable of a young man who wanted to badly to run that he requested his inheritance before his father died. Then he ran far far away and wasted everything until he was penniless, homeless, in pig pen wanting nothing more than to be back in his father’s house and good graces
Jonah came to the realization that in God’s grace was where he had always longed to be
He realized that before the belly of a fish became his final resting place, he needed to be at rest with God, and there was nothing more important than that
I wonder, what are you clinging to, when you should be hanging on to Jesus?
V8 says those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs
When we hold on to our ways, our places, our fears, then we forfeit the goodness and grace of God’s plans, his ways, and faith’s reward of victory
So, through submission, confession, realization, comes Jonah’s
4. Ordination and Consecration
Jonah has no idea what will happen. For all he knows his life is moments away from ending
But he is determined that for whatever time he has, he is committed to God …
Notice that Jonah doesn’t attempt to make deals with God.
He doesn’t say “Lord, get me out of here and I’ll go to Nineveh, I promise … just get me out”
Ever tried to make a deal with God?
Let me tell you something … God isn’t looking to make deals with us over trivial things.
The fact is, some of you have made deals with God and you didn’t keep. God didn’t do what you wanted, or maybe he DID but you forgot about your deal or you lost the urgency once things got better.
God is really only interested in one deal with us …
Are you ready? Here it is …
Give him all you are and have …
… and He will give you all HE IS and HAS …
Make him Lord and he will make you his Child
That’s the Deal God makes … and we get the best end of the deal.
No Deals here …
Jonah simply turns back to God for whatever the result may be …
V4 I have been banished from YOUR SIGHT … yet I will LOOK AGAIN toward your Temple
Jonah understood he lost God’s favor and face because Jonah turned away
And even if God’s favor and face never return, Jonah reordered his life and consecrated himself to the Lord
Folks, this is our only option … we have to stop trying to make deals …
“Lord, if you give me a raise, I’ll start tithing …”
“Lord, if you … then I’ll serve …”
“Lord if you make me well, I’ll obey you this way …”
“Give me this … I’ll do that …”
Don’t you see when we try to make deals … our eyes are on the things and not on God
We have to stop making deals …
… deals aren’t the motivation for obedience love is.
- Fix your heart on the Lord
Deuteronomy 4:29 - seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul
Set our hearts on Obedience … we have to set our minds on him … should this be the end of it or if life goes on …
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
- Fix your heart on him
So, Jonah says in verse 9 What I have vowed, I will make Good, Salvation comes from the Lord
We cannot even begin to imagine what 3 days in that fish would have been like.
He didn’t have a watch, no idea of time or day.
The stench in the stomach of the fish, the acids working on his body, the claustrophobia, It must have stretched on for endless hours but his heart was just set on the Lord …
The Lord was his Salvation as well as his hope … So, if his life was about to end … he would see God face to face, and he was ready for that … but if the Lord would restore him to physical life, that would be fine too …
Jonah had long ago promised faithfulness, obedience, to follow God … but he ran
Yet, there in the fish, his heart was revived and
Then we see on display, This Wonderful Truth … that When God Forgives … it Brings
Forgiveness always brings … justification
Now, I know that’s a New Testament Word … It means to wipe the slate clean and make us clean before God … as if we had never sinned …
I wonder if after the eternity of 3 days in the fish, if Jonah felt the fish rising from the depths, rising, speeding up … perhaps the stomach was rumbling and contractions were starting …
Then … all at once
But AT The Lord’s COMMAND …
Jonah is Vomited onto dry land
God was Still in Charge and Jonah was back into the land of the living.
Then if we read verse one of chapter three we see the 2nd Chance … just as if he had never run away …
It says The Word of the Lord came to Jonah a 2nd Time
Adam and Eve sinned but God offered a sacrifice and clothed them himself restoring relationship
Abraham had some failures and thought his chance was gone to be the Father of a people, but in Genesis 15 God takes him outside the Tent, shows him the stars and says that his descendants will be like that
Rahab was a harlot among a pagan people, but her faith brought her into God’s people and made her the Great Grandmother of King David
David sinned but God forgave and restored him
Peter denied but Jesus said “Feed my Sheep”
Mary Magdalene was controlled by evil Spirits but she met Jesus and became a child of God controlled by the Spirit of God
Paul was a persecutor of Christians but became a preacher of the Gospel
- God is the God of the Second Chance
If have never trusted him, will you turn to him for the first time today?
Don’t make attempt to superficial deals with God … take the greatest deal ever offered
Whoever believes in him will have everlasting life.
Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved
If you are a child of God … will you turn your eyes back to him today?
Don’t bargain with God … he has already given you more than you need and already promised you everything you need …
If you will confess your sin he is faithful and just to forgive and cleans
If you will call his name, humble yourself and pray, turn from your ways, then he will hear, forgive, and heal …
Come to Yourself
Come to Jesus