Title: Never Run From What You Know in Your Heart is Right
Text: Jonah 2:1-10
(Jonah was a prophet of God and was asked by God to go and share the good news about God’s love and mercy to the great city of Nineveh, which was the capital of the people who were the enemy of Israel. They were feared by all nations at that time in history.
Can you imagine being asked by God to go and tell these kind of people who told you they hated what God had to say? But, God wanted you to go anyway? Jonah, out of fear, tried to run from God instead, but he learned you cannot run from God. God will change our fears of the bad and ugly into faith in the good and beautiful ways of God!)
Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed: “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’
You heard my cry. You threw me into ocean’s depths, into a watery grave, with ocean waves, ocean breakers crashing over me.
I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away, thrown out, out of your sight. I’ll never again lay eyes on your Holy Temple.’
Ocean gripped me by the throat. The ancient Abyss (deepest, darkest depths of this world) grabbed me and held tight. My head was all tangled in seaweed at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root. I was as far down as a body can go, and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—
Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive, O God, my God! When my life was slipping away, I remembered God, and my prayer got through to you, made it all the way to your Holy Temple.
Those who worship hollow (empty, man-made) gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love. But I’m worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I’ll do what I promised I’d do! Salvation belongs to God!”
Then God spoke to the fish, and it vomited up Jonah on the seashore.
Truth: As a child of God there will come times when you will be faced with a choice that seems very hard and a challenge to you. Fear will grip you because of the choice you have to make. However, God will remain with you, even when you fail to obey, and then try to run and hide because the right thing to do is so hard to do. God will use that moment to demonstrate to you that when you trust in Him, your fears will be washed away and you will be able to to do what you know to be right and true, honest and noble.
Application: Jonah was a great prophet and had a history of working hard for God all throughout the land among the people of God. However, there came a time when God asked Jonah to do something that brought Jonah to say, “okay God”, but inside he was really saying, “No way God!” In fact, the fear Jonah felt was so great of the people who Jonah was asked to go and talk to for God that he ran away and tried to sail to the other side of the world. What Jonah was trying to say to God was “You are wrong God! And, You cannot make me do this!” But, what Jonah had forgotten in all his fussing and fretting was He was a servant of the almighty God of all creation. God was and still is today the same God of His people and all the horrible, terrible people we are asked to go talk to for God.
There will be times when your heart, soul and mind tell you what is right and true, and you know you have a choice to make to honor your God. You can stand and fight your fears, or try to take flight and run from your fears. However, you can never outrun your fears, just as you can never outrun what is right and true, or God’s love for you. You will always find your fears have raced away with you, not from you because they are within you. So, is it not better to stand up and face your fears and learn that God is with you, for you, and in you to conquer your fears – that is the beginning of walking with God in faith.
Once Jonah accepted what God was trying to tell him, he was saved from the depths of the sea and he completed the mission to the people of Nineveh.
Never allow your fears to cause you to run away from what is right, true, honorable, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent and worthy of God’s praise. Do not allow any fears to stop you from doing the things you know you should do and you will find the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-10) Jonah was rewarded and you will be too!