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The Story of Jonah

“The Lord threw a great wind onto the sea, and such a great storm arose on the sea that the ship threatened to break apart. The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god.”  (Jonah 1:4-5) Talk about being at the wrong place at the wrong time!  These poor, innocent sailors on the ship with the runaway prophet Jonah were definitely afraid.  Fear is defined by the dictionary as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” The sailors confronted Jonah as he was singled out …

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Jonah and the Sailors

Jonah Chapter 1   Contrast “Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the Lord’s presence.”  (Jonah 1:3) If we were to write a description of Jonah from Chapter 1, we would surely include such terms/phrases as: (1) a reluctant prophet – stubborn and rebellious (2) one refusing to extend love to his enemies (3) Jonah – the prophet of God – guilty and disobedient. Yet God showed compassion and spared Jonah, the unrepentant prophet. While Jonah withdrew from both God and fellow man and went to sleep in the bottom of the ship. “What should we do to you (Jonah) …

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Message of God

    “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. “Get up! go to the great city of Nineveh and preach the message that I tell you.” Jonah got up and went to Nineveh according to the Lord’s command…Jonah set out on the first day of his walk in the city and proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be demolished!”    (Jonah 3: 1-4) Both the man of God and God’s chosen people had forgotten the reason God had chosen them to be His treasured people.  (Isaiah 42:6-7) “I am the Lord. I have called you for a …

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Anger Blinds

We see a lot of bitterness and anger in the story of Jonah.  We see it in Jonah’s countenance, his actions, and his heart. He has contempt for the Ninevites; he is angry toward God; and he is even angry toward a plant and a worm. (Jonah 4:4)  The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?’ (Jonah 4:9)  “Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “Yes, it’s right,” Jonah replied, “I’m angry enough to die!” Jonah’s Response: When God showed compassion to the ones Jonah hated – Rage.  When …

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Jonah’s Nature in Us

  Be careful – there is a lot of Jonah’s nature in us. We see what Jonah values –  self.  He expresses joy when God shows him compassion in providing comfort, but expresses anger when God shows compassion for citizens of Nineveh. Jonah is all about self-comforts and worldly values. God Values  Life. “So the Lord said, ” You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. But may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people …

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Ending of Jonah’s Story

The full ending of Jonah’s story is not written down in the scripture.  Therefore, we have an open ended story.  What do you think happened? Our personal story may be very similiar to that of Jonah.  I’m sure we’ve had our instances of reluctance and disobedience.  We’ve been angry, rebellious, defensive, selfish, and arrogant – all in one day!  Yet, God extends His Grace to us so that He can include us in His Love Story. (Jonah 2:2)  “I called to the Lord in my distress, and he answered me.” (Jonah 2:9)  “Salvation belongs to the Lord.” “For all have …

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Choices

After the 40 year reign of Solomon, the ten tribes of the North decided not to follow Rehoboam, Solomon’s successor.  For 210 years, the Northern Kingdom was led by 19 kings whose choices led to destruction in the end. These kings were just, upright, and followed straight paths after the Lord.  One of these kings was Asa, great, great grandson of King David. Kings were to be leaders on many fronts: politically, economically, militarily, and spiritually.  God expected both kings and people to be loyal to Him.  King David was the standard; he set the example of integrity and wholehearted commitment.  …

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Making the Right Choices

In the Old Testament, we find instances where God’s people were asked to make choices. “Therefore, fear the Lord and worship him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your fathers worshiped and worship the Lord. Choose for yourselves today: Which will you worship – the gods your fathers worshiped in Egypt or the gods of the people in whose land you are living? As for me and my family, we will worship the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15 (CSB) What was the role of the Old Testament prophet?  Men like Elijah spoke for the Lord to His people.  He …

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Overwhelmed, Burnout and Exhausted

  (I Kings 19:9-18) Have you ever?  Called out, “Where are you, God?” Felt like quitting? Felt like running away? Hosted a pity party? We have all been there!  Overwhelmed, burned out, and exhausted. Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” I Kings 19:10 What would you do if someone sent their entire army after you – hunting you down? In I …

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God’s Ways Are Higher

  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways. This is the Lord’s declaration. For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9 (CSB) God can do anything He wants to do and work in any way using BIG dramatic events or simply in a still, small voice.  God can provide for His people through unusual circumstances.  He can use famous, powerful people like a prophet or king; he can even choose to work through unnamed, insignificant slaves or servants.  …

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God Provides in Unexpected Ways

II Kings 7 includes a most unusual story concerning the citizens of the capital city, Samaria, in the Northern Kingdom.  The city has been under siege by the Arameans from Syria led by Ben Haddad II, and conditions are desperate.  It’s a dark picture of scarcity of food, inflation, starvation, cannabalism, and death. Elisha delivered the Word of the Lord promising that circumstances were about to change in 24 hours.  (From despair to hope, from scarcity to plenty) Choices:  The king’s right hand man expressed his mocking doubt upon hearing the prophecy.  Four lepers were witnesses of God’s deliverance – …

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Individuals are Accountable

    What is God’s Will for Your Life?  In I Thessalonians, we learn that God’s Will for us is our sanctification. ( I Thess. 4:3)  Sanctification is God’s work in us as we grow spiritually, living in holiness pleasing and honoring Him. We are set apart for service and holiness.  It is a process of maturing in our faith and becoming more and more like Jesus. The hymnist gives us direction: “Take time to be holy, Speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always, And feed on His Word; Make friends of God’s children, Help those who are …