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Jonah 2 - Reliant on God

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Purpose in Life

I don’t know what you think your purpose in life is. What your job will be.
In year 10 I did work experience at Bass Hill Vets. It was ok. Apart from all the poop and smelly animals, it was pretty cool.
I don’t know about you, but around the house I am pretty darn good at getting out of housework I really don’t want to do. You see, I have graduated to the point where I will do work -I love serving my wife like that, but I like to do the work that I like to do. So when Laura tells me “Let’s clean the house.” You will probably find me out in the yard. But, eventually, I need to come back inside. And inside the house, you know who is waiting for me - my wife. With the chores.
On day one someone bought in a ferret that needed desexing. Now when ferrets get scared they fart like cray and this place was filled with this oder that was disgusting. I couldn’t handle it.
They put the ferret to sleep and then the vet pops out and grabs this really big book of the shelf and picks up the phone. I then over hear her talking to another vet somewhere asking how to desex a ferret.
What?! I thought. This is crazy.
“Oh ok - so it’s like a cat. Cool cool.” She says. Like a cat?! That is what she is going off of?
She had a job to do, but she realised that she couldn’t just rely on herself to get the job done. Who knows what would of happened if she didn't phone a friend.
In it says
Jonah 1:8 NIV
So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
After casting lots, the first things Jonah get's asked about is what it is he does. What is is mission? What bought you onto this boat?
Jonah's mission was to go and preach to those in Nineveh. This city that was presumed to be too far gone. Too rebellious for God. It was there that Jonah was meant to go and tell them of the one and only God who is full of compassion and love and wants a relationship with us. That was Jonah's mission. Instead, he turns and runs the other way. Jonah made a call that his job was impossible. Not worth it. There was no way that Jonah by his effort alone could do the job that God had for him. So he ran. He relied on his own thinking wisdom and strength and hopped on a boat headed away. There is a painful reality in the situation that Jonah finds himself when he has to respond to this. He relied on his own self and he failed.
You see, there are some things that we just cant escape - even if we think we want to escape them. Jonah is realising that this week and the Bible calls for us to realise that this week too. The thing is about the Christian life is that, to quote a guy named Paul Tripp, you can’t outrun Grace. And instead of running from Grace, God highlights that we actually need to rely on it.

So how does Jonah do that this week?

Let’s look back over the story.
Let’s look back over the story.
God’s word to Jonah - Go to Nineveh and preach against them.
Jonah’s reaction: run 180 degrees.
And then we get the whole storm on the sea drama before he gets eaten by this big fish.
The sea is where Jonah ran to but was absolutely chaos.
The belly of the fish is where God put him and it was calm.
Jonah had to pay money to get on the boat and flee from God’s presence.
God freely sent the fish to swallow Jonah up without him even asking.
Jonah was on the boat and needed to be woken up!
Jonah was in the fish and was alert.
On the boat Jonah talked about God.
In the fish Jonah talks to God.
If we see the boat as Jonah’s rebellion and the fish as God’s saving grace we then see the futility of running from God.
He is everywhere. And the exact right thing Jonah wanted to do, he couldn’t.
The exact thing Jonah needed to do, that is pray to God, was provided for him.
God is saying to Jonah you cannot run from me.
God is telling us tonight that we cannot run from him.
We have all sinned against God. We have all chosen other things apart from God.
And it is though this story we see who to rely upon.
Jonah 2:4 NIV
I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’
Two important things need to be seen in Jonah chapter 2.
and
One is that everything belongs to the Lord God. And Jonah knows this. Jonah prays to god verse 1. Verse 2 he calls to God. God hurls him into the sea (not the sailors) verse 3. The waves are owned by God verse 3. God was the one who is able to rescue verse 6. Salvation only comes from the Lord. Everything belongs to God. It is all run by him. Owned by him. Everything is his.
Jonah 2:7 NIV
“When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
The second thing to notice is that Jonah once again is teaching us something because he reflects back to us like a mirror. Jonah is reflecting the un-ideal pasts of who we are.
Throughout this prayer Jonah at no stage says sorry. At no stage does he turn back to God and recognise what he has done wrong. Jonah is deluded to thinking that he was more righteous than the sailors. He says that he was always looking at going to God's holy temple, when in reality he was running away from it. Jonah's attitude here is not totally fantastic.
But what he does come to grips with, and perhaps the reason why God gives him a second chance here, is that Salvation does belong to the Lord. Everyone needs saving.
Jonah prays to God right after a massive storm where God shows everyone his almighty power. That’s astonishing - that sort of power is frightening.
That we need to see here is that we are not only often in the same boat as Jonah, but we are in the fish as well. We need to lovingly obey the one who created everything. We need to rely on God who really does have the whole world in his hands. Like Jonah, we cannot out run the grace of God.
There was a purpose to his life that meant God needed to keep him alive. So don’t look to yourself for life and strength. Look back at the cross and realise that Jesus’ death 2000 year ago was also for you. Don’t run from God, but rely on him for your strength. It is by his wounds we have been healed () therefore rely on God by trusting him with your whole life.
But Jonah knows that God is slow to anger and loves it when we come to him and ask for forgiveness. So, in a way that is what he does.
He doesn’t flat out say it here, but what Jonah does do is recommit to God and say - “ok God, I cannot out run you. In fact, you are the only person who can get me out of here. Those who sin against you - like those in Nineveh - will receive the message: Salvation belongs to the Lord”.
Look back at the cross and realise that Jesus’ death 2000 year ago was also for you. Don’t run from God, but rely on him for your strength. It is by his wounds we have been healed () therefore rely on God by trusting him with your whole life.
Friends - we cannot outrun God’s grace for us. In fact, when we come to that point where we know that we are just a worthless sinner - realise that you still have the breathe in your mouth to pray to God. Jonah did not get consumed by the sea. There was a purpose to his life that meant God needed to keep him alive. God has you alive here today, and you can look back on all your regrets and mistakes and sin and dwell in them. Or you can look back on all that rebellion and then to the one God who loves to save. The God who gives you the breath in your mouth to say that salvation belongs to the Lord. God is not someone to run from - he is someone to rely on.
Let’s pray.
Romans 5:8 NIV
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Look back at the cross and realise that Jesus’ death 2000 year ago was also for you. Don’t run from God, but rely on him for your strength. It is by his wounds we have been healed () therefore rely on God by trusting him with your whole life.
Let’s pray.
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