Jonah’s Disobedience (Part 1) | Beyond the Flannelgraph
In the book of Jonah, we see God working according to his will despite Jonah’s disobedience.
God is the one who saves. He chooses who to show His grace and mercy to. In this story we see God orchestrating his plan to bring about salvation.
- Jonah 1
- Jonah 4
- James Montgomery Boyce Commentaries
Jonah’s Disobedience – Automated Transcript:
Hey, welcome to no sanity required. Today we’re gonna look beyond the flannel graph. We’re gonna be looking at the story of Jonah. We’ve recently studied the story of Joseph and this is a this is a sub series on the episode. I mean on the podcast that we like to take familiar Bible stories or passages and and just dig a little deeper dive, maybe a little beyond what most of us learned as children and and consider the story more in depth, and we’re gonna do that with the story of Jonah today. So when we, when we talk about cultural issues or issues of parenting or World view, one of the things that we’re always gonna be doing on the no sanity required podcast is they’re gonna be some episodes where we just do deep dives into the scripture, and today’s one of those. We’re gonna go beyond the flannel graph and that’s for those of you that might be newer. A lot of our episodes are our deeper dives into familiar Bible stories where we consider Some things may be from a new and fresh perspective. We’re gonna do that with Jonah today. Thank y’all for tuning in.
Well, fall is here and I am, I’m excited. I think a lot of people are excited about this time of year. For most of us, there’s just a lot of. There are a lot of things associated with fall. I love the summer and you know, aside from summer camp, everything that Just the summer so great because of the kids are out of school. We’re, you know, we’re big. We’re big on hitting the local swimming holes and where we live, that’s a big thing. I know some, some of our listeners live in Alligator infested areas or hot, slow, swampy water and and then, but some of you probably live in in places where you got some good swimming holes. Anyway, we don’t swim in pools very often swimming pools but we love to go out and hit the water and there’s several lakes and rivers and creeks and swimming holes that we like to go play in and so that’s one of the big things the summer brings here for. For my family and for a lot of the swowe families, of course, they’re summer camp and then the first few retreats back After. You know, after school year starts are Kind of mark the the transition. So everybody’s back in school now and we’re, I mean, I think pretty much across the country. People are back in school and so we’re turning our attention towards fall. I’ve been going to volleyball games For high school volleyball games, high school football games, middle school volleyball games. I love it. It’s so fun and it’s still hot, but it’s cooling off and and so we’re we’re turning our attention towards the fault. One of the things that I like to do on NSR that we like to do is, at least Every month or so, to do a beyond the flannel graph Episode. So we just recently did one on Joseph and we like to. You know, one of the things that we like to do is is deep dives into the scripture. But this school year, one of the things that I’m doing at home and maybe, maybe I’ll Will do at some point this fall will do an episode on this, because we get so much requests for parenting content. One of the things that we do is that I’m gonna do is is ride out Stories from scripture that are very familiar and my younger children, who are still at home. I want to walk through those stories with them and try to give them a gospel appreciation for these stories, stories like Daniel and the Lions Den, david and Goliath, jonah and the whale, noah and the Ark. These are stories that most of us who grew up in church grew up with and a lot of people who don’t grow up in church are familiar with because they’ve sort of spilled out side of church Circles and Christian circles of Christianity. So today I want to do one of those, one of those deep dives not deep dives, I guess, but but a behind the flannel graph kind of pull the curtain back and consider some things from the story of Jonah. Jonah Will focus on chapter one most of our time, but I just want to read some things that I’ve written, read a few clips or sections from a commentary that I think are insightful, and and think about maybe some things you’ve never thought about concerning the story of Jonah and the whale. And then we’re gonna actually add some bonus Content here. We’re gonna tag on to this episode a second episode to follow up. We’re at a conversation with Rob Conte and Spencer Davis, just kind of sitting around, cups of coffee on the table and deep diving into the story of Jonah, and it’s a lengthier. It’s a lengthier session, but I think a lot of people will find it interesting. Yeah, so that today we’re going to be on the flannel graph. We’re gonna consider the story in the life of Jonah. Thank y’all for tuning in, and so let’s go ahead and get right into this. So Jonah is a story that I Think most people can remember From their childhood. If you grew up in the church, you remember this and it’s the. Jonah is the story of a man named Jonah, and A lot of people think that he wrote the story, wrote the wrote the Bible narrative that bears his name, the book of Jonah. But the book of Jonah is is in the genre, the, the biblical Genre of what we call the minor prophets. Now, the minor prophets were a group of guys that Brought messages of God’s judgment, or God’s warning, or God’s deliverance To the people, primarily the people of Israel. There were some prophets who took messages to other people. One guy Took a message to a group of people called the Edomites. They were not Israelites and there are some messages to some other people. There’s a guy named Amos that had messages for some other people, but primarily, the messages would end up then being for God’s people, the Israelites. So Jonah is a little different. Jonah is a story. It’s a narrative that tells the story of one prophet named Jonah who was given a message by God. So God comes to this guy, jonah, and we know this guy. Jonah was a prophet of the Lord who served during the time of a king called Jeroboam. Now there were two Jeroboams and so for simplicity, we called them Jeroboam one and Jeroboam two. And Jonah served at the time of a king called Jeroboam two and Jeroboam two. This is an interesting time in Israel’s history because Jeroboam two was he was an evil king. He was an Israelite king but he was not faithful to the Lord. He was Israelite in the sense that he was Jewish. He was at one of the kings that, after the kingdom of Israel had divided, there was this divided kingdom and so one kingdom sort of became two. But he was the king of one of those kingdoms and he was wicked. He did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, but God nonetheless blessed Israel as a principle in Jeroboam’s life, where sometimes God will bless even in the midst of disobedience or defiance. And it’s tricky, it’s hard to understand how that could happen. But I think it’s important to recognize that it can and does happen, because I’ve often had the experience where I’ve thought personally, or I’ve seen people think well, things are going good. I know God must not be upset with my behavior or my lifestyle because everything’s just going good and everything’s happy and wonderful. And we’ve got to be careful with that because sometimes we can even experience the blessing or grace of the Lord in some capacity, even in our disobedience. But we can also know the principle that Jesus talks about, that we would call the principle of the sowers, and James writes about this whatever you sow, you’re going to reap from that. So you know if a farmer sows corn, he’s going to grow corn. You don’t put corn in the ground and they get a different type of vegetable or fruit and not that corn’s a fruit, but you know what I mean. And so you reap. What you sow is a biblical principle, but it’s also an agricultural principle that Jesus would draw on, that James would draw on. So in a time of disobedience or when we’re going against what we know to be true of God’s will and God’s plan, it’s a slippery slope where there’s always going to be consequences. I remember an old preacher, when I was a kid, used to say there’s going to be a payday someday. And that’s an old church saying. But the idea there is that at some point sin always pays it always. You know, the wages of sin is death, jesus tells us through the Apostle Paul in the book of Romans. So the wage that sin pays is destruction and death. So Jeroboam is going to learn that. The Israelites and the people of Judah will learn that in their history, where, this time, where there seems to be God’s expanding and growing this people, but they’re literally one generation away from destruction. So, at a time when everything seems prosperous, the people are about to collapse, the infrastructure of their society is about to collapse and the way it’s going to collapse is God’s going to raise up this group of people called the Assyrians. Now, you might read in the Bible and see sometimes they’re referred to as the Chaldeans or the Chaldeans. However, you say that Sometimes they’re the Assyrians. In the book of Jonah we’re going to look at a city called Nineveh, which that was an Assyrian city, a Chaldean city, and those that what we’re referring to as a global power, the Assyrians, were a global power. Who, when I say global? In that time the world was fairly small in terms of the most populated regions. Now you’ve got, you know, we’ve got people all over the planet, even in the, you know, the northernmost inhabitable regions and the southernmost inhabitable regions from Patagonia to, you know, the Northwest Territories of Canada and places like Iceland. You got being in northern Siberia. People live in crazy cold climates, but back then most people were condensed to the greater Mediterranean area, parts of Europe, asia Minor, the Middle East and North Africa. There were people beyond that, but that was the bulk of societies and the known world, and so the Assyrians were an empire that we’re going to basically take over. All of that, okay, I’m going to tell y’all. I just took a swig of sparkling water and this seems to be the trend, right now. This one is called. I just got this out of the cooler here at North Campus. This is orange plus grapefruit. Aha, it’s the name brand. And then we have this other one called bubbly, and some people drink one called St Croix or La Croix. Maybe La Croix, st Croix, la Croix. Anyway, I’m going to go and tell you that I think sparkling water is disgusting. It’s not good. How does it just have a bottle of water, but we don’t have any water. So, anyway, there, that’s my little side rant All right back to the back, to the story of Jonah. So Jonah is a prophet of God, called by God to preach and speak and deliver God’s word at a time when Israel is prospering, it seems so Three big things happening in Israel is prospering, but they’re prospering under. The second thing, jeroboam too is an evil king. He’s a king whose heart is dark. And then, third thing, the Assyrian empire is growing in global impact and prominence, and so God would say through other prophets, that he was going to raise those people up to oppress Israel. He actually, if you read the book of Habakkuk, that that you kind of you kind of read about that. So Jonah is this guy who all were told in in second Kings is that he’s a prophet of the Lord and he’s serving at the time of Jeroboam Jeroboam too. So in the book of Jonah, God comes to Jonah and he says it says, you know, at the beginning of the book it says the word of the Lord Appeared to Jonah, or came to Jonah, the son of Amitya that’s his dad’s name, that’s we’re able to associate him with the other place he’s mentioned, which is in second Kings. But God gives him a word. He says arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it. So he get. He says all right, I got a, I got a word for you, and the word is that I want you to go to the city of Nineveh, which was the capital city for a long period of time. It was the capital city of the Assyrian Empire. Go to that great city means big, massive, powerful, influential, great in terms of size, great in terms of population, great in terms of influence, great in terms of reach and impact. I mean he says I want you to go up to that city and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me. So he says many people are wicked. I need you to go to these people and I need you to preach against them. Just call out against them, preach against their wickedness, it says in verse three. But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish, so he paid the fire and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. So Jonah does something interesting A prophet of the Lord would take, god would give him a word, and a faithful prophet would then go and deliver that word, that message. He would preach and proclaim that message to the people. So if God said you know, there are some very localized prophets where God would send a prophet to a small group of people or a region of people, like we said earlier, the Edomites. I think it’s Obadi that goes to the Edomites. I think that’s right. A lot of times there’s a specific context to the message, like we have here in Jonah. The other one we mentioned was Amos, who Amos ultimately goes to. He, he, he preaches against Israel because of their oppression of the poor. And here Jonah is to preach to the Ninevites who are Assyrians, because they’re, because of the great evil. It’s a great city and they are committing great evil. Now, what is that great evil? Well, we know we actually have good historical and archaeological evidence that those people in Nineveh N, there were a few kings and I’m not going to try to say their names, but there were several kings that we have historical account and record of, who did terrible things Dismembrament, beheadings. They would cut people’s hands and limbs off, they would disembowel people, they would enslave people, and when they would enslave people, they would put hooks through their faces, their lips, they’re they’re jaw. There are, there are drawings that archaeologists have found where You’d have these people that would have these hooks run, like behind their bottom teeth and under their tongue, maybe through their tongue, I don’t know but then the hook would go down through their jaw and come out behind their chin, not hitting anything vital, but literally hook their entire lower jaw, and then these people would be led around like that. It’s very brutal. And then right outside of what’s considered to be the location of Nineveh, I read that archaeologists found this massive mound like a pile of skulls, human skulls and I’ve even read that and I don’t have proof of this, but I remember reading at some point in my study that the. There were skulls of all sizes. They killed women, children. You know, they would kill families. So they’re just very barbaric people. But not just barbaric, it was. It was a, it was very, very calculated and it was. They were to instill fear into people. If you’ve ever studied about Genghis Khan, how he would, you know, he would bring the Mongols and they would ride in. And they would not just. They would not just want to win a battle, they would want to demoralize the surrounding potential enemies so that their reputation would spread and people would go oh my gosh, don’t mess with them, they’re. They’re not just, they don’t just want to have a battle and win, they want to. They’re terrible, they’re horrible. That’s how Nineveh was. The Ninevites were like that. And so God tells Jonah hey, I want you to go up to this city. And, and Jonah, he, he goes the other way. He says no, I’m not gonna do it. And there’s three. There’s three things I want to Consider that we’re told why Jonah does this, why he runs away. But when I was growing up, I feel like I was told wrong on this, like I was told that Jonah fled because he was afraid. And I there’s man, I don’t have any doubt in my mind that he was afraid knowing what we know about these people. In fact, let me read an excerpt from James Montgomery boys. I really enjoy for those of you that are looking to get into further, deeper, more intentional Bible study, boys has. He wrote several commentaries before he died. I think he would have gotten a lot more done, but the Lord took him home and and I’m grateful for the work that he did do. He was a pastor of 10th Presbyterian in Philadelphia and and he wrote several commentaries, but he did a commentary on the minor prophets. I like to read voices commentaries. I like to read them as devotionals, almost like as part of my daily Bible study. I don’t typically use them for sermon prep. I’ll use them more for personal study because that basically they’re just the transcripts of his teaching and his sermons. But anyway, listen what he says. Why did Jonah do it? We can imagine some reasons. We can imagine, first, that Jonah was overcome by thoughts of the mission’s difficulties which are expressed very well in the commission. God told Jonah that Nineveh was a very great city, and indeed it was in addition to what the book itself tells us, that the city was so large it took three days to cross it and that I had a hundred and twenty thousand infants or small children. Chapter four, verse 11. We also know that it was the capital of the great Assyrian Empire, that it had walls a hundred feet high and so broad that three chariots could run abreast around them. Within the walls were gardens and even fields for cattle. For one man to arrive, all along with a message from an unknown God against such a city, was ludicrous in the extreme. What could one man do? Who would listen? Where were the armies that could break down such walls or storm such garrisons? The men of Nineveh would ridicule the strange Jewish prophet. Certainly, as Hugh Martin, one of the most comprehensive commentators on this book, has written, jonah could not foresee that some Reception in that great city was about the most friendly he could anticipate. To be despised and simply laughed at as a fanatic and a fool must have appeared to him inevitable, if indeed his fate Should not be worse. So that’s the interest in this guy, martin. Who? Martin, who is being quoted by boys. He’s saying Jonah at the best, the best he could hope for is to go in there and start preaching. Everybody Think he’s crazy, one of these doomsday prophets. You know, everybody just ridicule and mock him. If Jonah had been overcome with the thought of the difficulties of such a mission and, because of them, had fled to Tarshish, we could well understand him. Yet not a word in the story indicates that this was the difficulty that upset this rebellious prophet. So he says Basically, he’s saying you know, the city was big, it was a huge city. I mean, it’s a massive city. And so some people might think, well, the task was just too overwhelming. That’s why Jonah didn’t go. So you’ve got these two ideas. Was it because he was afraid of these people, which is mainly what I was told when I was growing up? I was taught that he was just. Often, I was just told that he was afraid, you know, or that he that it was fear mixed with a hatred for the Ninevites, the Assyrians, which I can appreciate, you know. Maybe maybe he had lost family members to the Assyrians. Maybe he knew people I don’t know, we’re not told, but no doubt their reputation was, was vast. You know, we, we’ve all in our lifetime seen terrorist organizations or groups read stories about the cartel in Mexico, the different cartels who have, you know, beheaded people or Dismembered people. We hear stories about the Taliban. You know killing young girls because they want to learn how to read, and you can. You can have a resentment for a people without ever having Interacted with him. I can appreciate that. Maybe Jonah had some of that. But then you know, maybe the task was, it seemed very overwhelming. How do you, how do you go from where I’m at here, you know, in Palestine, all the way up to his long journey. I don’t know how far it was, but it was a long journey up into what’s modern day Mosul, iraq. So if you look at a map and you draw a map, you know a line from down in the middle of Israel, in the middle of Palestine, up to Mosul, iraq. That’s a that’s a long journey, a spate in hot desert climate and at a time when travel was difficult. You know walking around and flip-flops or some kind of you know strapped sandals and you know robe and gosh. It just seems awful. You might have just been like now I’m not gonna do that. I you know. But that that’s not the reason. It’s not because the task was so daunting or the city was so large or the people were gonna make Fun of him. It’s not because he was afraid, because they beheaded and dismembered, and we’re told the reason Jonah wouldn’t go. We’re told that in chapter 4. In chapter 4 it tells us let me read this to you Jonah, chapter 4, verse 2. This is later in the story. Jonah prayed to the Lord and said oh lord, is this not what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why the reason I made haste to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you’re a gracious God, immersive, slow to anger and abounding, instead fast love and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, oh lord, please take my life for me, for it’s better for me to die than to live. It’s crazy. Jonah got so upset with God’s eventual salvation of the Ninevites that he said the reason I’ve fled and ran towards Tarshish was because I knew you would be Gracious and compassionate to these people, and so, ultimately, jonah didn’t want these people to receive salvation. This is crazy. This, this makes me think. Okay, I’ll tell you something that somebody said recently. Um, this is I want to be careful that I don’t incriminate anybody here. Somebody I love and care about Was talking about my daughter, who is a missionary. You know a lot of you follow Kilby and Greg and their journey and their serving in some tough places and They’ve dealt with some illnesses typhoid, malaria, you know, lack of nutrition. It’s tough, they’re, they’re, they’re in a tough place and and they divide their time. They spend half their time in a very rough area and the other half of their time in a place. It’s not nearly as bad, but it’s still nothing like where we live, or you know for them, for them, just, life is a little more difficult and and there was someone who I love very dearly, who who was upset because Kilby had been so sick, and this person made the comment there are people here in America that need Jesus. Why do they have to go over there? And I have to, I have to kind of measure my like, I have to calm my own spirit when I hear that, because that is, that is a very broken and and Terrible thing to say, it’s a terrible thing to say. You know, partly, to say that is to say these people, first off, when you say those people are the like, you’re already putting yourself in a position Better or higher than than than others because you’re like speaking down, it’s condescending those people. You know why do you go to those people? What about people here? You’re, you’re creating this mindset. We had something similar happen when we Adopted foreign children. You know, our two of our three adopted kids, or one’s local and two are from East Africa and I remember people saying why do you got to go over there and adopt kids, as if to say those kids are not Valuable or they’re they’re not in it, like what’s it matter? First off, what do you care? It’s none of your business. Go go do something destructive and critical somewhere else. You know you’re not gonna bring that. You know negativity is not gonna bring me down you know like. But? But people tend to have this sort of attitude of why go there, why save those people, why leave home and comfort and Go to save these people? And I don’t think for John it wasn’t like I don’t want to go someplace, it’s uncomfortable, but it was more about I’m not gonna go to this foreign place. I’m not gonna go to this foreign place and save these people. I mean and preach to these people because God might save them and I don’t want these people to be saved. And that’s, that’s a gut check, you know, for us, like, do we feel that way towards any people? I don’t know, I don’t know. I don’t think I do. I think I want God to bring salvation, like when I think about the Taliban or Bokeh Haram, these terrorist organizations, the cartel. I do want them to know Jesus. If someone is raped and mutilated and murdered, I want them to to repent and come to Jesus. But I’ll admit like there’s a part of me that wants them to be judged for that, you know, and that’s part of what I think we have to wrestle with as humans. And so Jonah’s wrestling with this and he doesn’t want them to To receive salvation, so he leaves and he goes to Tarshish, then nobody knows exactly where this is, but we know that it’s far, far away. It’s very far, it’s. It’s Far enough that he’s and he doesn’t. Jonah knows he can’t escape God’s presence. But like to go far away is To to just, in rebellion, go the opposite direction of what God’s telling him to do. Basically, what Jonah’s doing is he’s going no, I’m not gonna do it. And so he goes to Tarshish, and a lot of people think that Tarshish was way out in the Like in Spain. So if you look at a map you’re talking about, jonah starts from one end of the Mediterranean Sea and he’s gonna flee to the far end of the Mediterranean Sea. At this point I’m not gonna lie like you’re starting to not appreciate this guy, you know. And if you study the whole book of Jonah by the end of it, you know I mean he, he goes into straight, like at points he’s passive, aggressive. At points he’s downright whiny and complaining. It’s just, it’s not. It’s hard to find something positive to say about him. I remember here’s a preacher joke for you. I remember my father-in-law, the big kahuna, used to love to tell this joke. It’s like I’m not gonna get it exactly right. It’s like there’s these two brothers and they’re just terrible people. They’re so bad, they’re just weak, they’re just bad people. They swindle people out of money and you know they corrals and you know they both have multiple wrecked relationships because of their unfaithfulness. They’re just bad people. And then, but they’re also like very intimidating and Nobody’ll stand up to my vice, kind of scared of them. And there’s a new preacher in town and the one brother dies and the other brother goes to the preacher and he says okay, here’s the deal I you need to, you need to do my brother’s funeral and you need to tell people that he was a good man. He was a good man, he was a saint, he’s a good person and you better do that or else you’re gonna be sorry. And so this preacher is the got this dilemma. You know he’s like what am I gonna say? How do I say that this is a good guy? I don’t know how to say it. You know I’m not gonna lie, I’m not gonna get up here and say something I know to not be. I didn’t know the guy very good, but I knew him good enough and I’ve heard stories and he you know he’s, he’s talked to people Nobody’s got. Nobody’s got anything good or positive to say. And so what am I gonna say? You know what am I gonna do? So he, he gets up to preach the funeral and the, and the brother is there on the front row with the family and this pastor says he says, well, ed here has passed on. We’re here today to remember the life of Ed. And he says, but I tell you, I didn’t know Ed very good, but what I did know of him is not good. You know it, ed. He swindled people out of money, he was unfaithful to all of his wives, he abused alcohol. He didn’t pay his taxes. He, he was an overall Swindler and a crook and a womanizer and a user and an abuser. But I tell you what, compared to his brother George, he’s a good man, and so Kahuna used to love to tell that joke, and it’s a good preacher joke. Because the idea is what are you comparing yourself to? You know and and For for Jonah. I’ll be honest, I have a hard time finding anything good to say about Jonah. You know I it’s. He runs from the Lord, he hates the Ninevites, he doesn’t want God’s salvation to come, he complains and wines. He’s passive, aggressive, from the belly of the fish. Even he’s passive, aggressive, it seems like, and if you go and you read what he, what he says, when, when he’s in the belly of the whale or the fish or whatever Is it swallows him, he’s like Taking shots, even then at the Assyrians and at the pagans, and so he gets in this boat and he takes off, man, he, he and he’s. You gotta think this is a. This is a boat that’s being steered and piloted by seasoned sailors. These guys know what they’re doing. They’re not gonna get afraid Because a storm comes up. You know, they know what to do. They know how to handle the sails and how to, how to navigate those waters. Read something that I wrote concerning the, the, the ship and the storm that that comes up while they’re on the ship, because we all know what happens. He gets on the boat and they get out there in the middle of the Mediterranean and it’s like massive Hurricane, gale force, crazy storm, storm unlike anything else. Listen, I wrote this this past summer. Many of us watched, along with much of the Western world, as a small group of wealthy, billionaire explorers Descended into the depths of the icy North Atlantic Ocean on a sightseeing mission to the wreckage of the Titanic. For a lot of people, the mystery and vast darkness of the depths of the sea is scarier and more intimidating than even space, outer space and the unknowns that the universe holds. Some people might have played the game, would you rather? One of the questions that often comes up is would you rather be eaten by an Alligator or a shark? But when you start talking about ways to die, I can tell you right now, at the top of my list is being thrown into the depths of the ocean, the depths of the sea, to sink into darkness and then to be eaten by a massive shark or a whale or a sea monster of some sort. And that’s exactly what’s gonna happen to Jonah. Throw in the mix Gale force, winds, 30 foot waves, I’m assuming, maybe higher, a hurricane, a bunch of mariners who are freaking out, and their and their pagans, so they’re praying to their demon gods. You imagine the storm comes up. Jonah’s on this ship and you know thinking about this like when, when, when they’re on this boat. Let me, let me, let me, let me jump over and read this the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, so God and his graciousness throws a storm onto the sea. It’s a mighty tempest, so the ship was threatened to break up. So it’s so bad that the ship’s gonna come apart. The mariners were afraid and each cried out to his God and they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to Lighten it for him. So these guys, who no doubt in my mind have have encountered, you know, difficult storms before they’re freaking out y’all there, they’re losing their minds and I think you talk about a chaotic scene. They’re screaming and crying out to their demon gods. They’re worshiping these pagan gods and so they start to cry out to these gods. No doubt they had deities that were, you know, back then these societies and these people, these, these people groups and these Religions where they would worship like multiple gods. They would usually have gods associated. You know they’d have like the Sun God, the moon God, the cat God, the allocator, god. The Egyptians were the ones most notorious for this. Even when you study the ten plagues on Egypt, god was attacking a deity of the Egyptians in each one of those plagues. That’s an interest in study to do sometime. Maybe we’ll do it here sometime, but. But these guys are crying out, probably, to the gods that they worship, who they associated with the sea, the ocean. So you’ve got these guys. You’re screaming out, they’re freaking out, they’re throwing their cargo overboard. Let’s imagine that they’re carrying a commodity, a cargo that’s going from the eastern end of the Mediterranean All the way out to Spain to be sold on the market for a lot of money. This is their livelihood and they’re throwing it overboard. They’re just in a desperate save our lives kind of kind of scenario. And all of this because God has thrown this great storm onto the sea. And they are just freaking out and they’re crying out to their God, you know, or their gods. They’re throwing their cargo overboard and it says but Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and it laid down. It was fast asleep, jonah sleeping. I think there’s a principle here that you can be fast asleep, resting in the most tumultuous rebellion. You know, like sometimes, you know, you hear people say man, I still have a piece about it. Well, Jonah had a peace. Peace enough to go to sleep in the middle of the worst storm, bad enough that it’s scaring these mariners, it’s scaring them to death. You know, the Bible tells us, as Christians, there’s a peace that passes understanding. I think for us what that piece looks like is in the midst of turmoil. You may be stressed, you may feel the pressure and the tension and the difficulty, but you feel the presence of the Lord in a greater way. So you’re willing to go through difficult things or face difficult situations, and so you have a peace that steadies you in the midst of a storm. What Jonah has is different. He is numb, he’s just hardened his heart and he’s fast asleep, and then, literally, the captain of the ship comes down and starts rebuking him. He’s like man, you need to get up and you need to pray to your God. You need to ask your God to deliver us from the storm. And it seems to be an association, a knowledge of who Jonah’s God is, but not an intimate knowledge. And so it’s crazy because they’re like let’s, let’s cast lots. We got to figure out who’s somebody on this ship is responsible for this storm. So they’re recognizing that this storm is of supernatural proportions. But think about this. These pagan guys go this is not a normal storm, this is the wrath of the gods. We got to figure out who they’re mad at and so they cast lots. And then this is totally. I believe, this is totally the Lord. The Lord sends the storm. And then the Lord causes the lot to fall on Jonah. And so they asked Jonah. They’re like hey, who’s who’s account? This is your fault. What’s your occupation? What are you doing? Like, where are you from? What’s your story Basically? And he says I’m a, I’m a Hebrew and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea in the dry land. And then this, this freaks the men out. They become afraid and they say what have you done? They knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord because he told him that. So Jonah tells him he’s like, I’m a Hebrew, I fear God. And then at some point he goes on and he explains I’ve run from God’s column alive and, and we’re, you’re experiencing God’s judgment that’s coming down on me. And so they, they go oh man, what are we going to do? The sea is not going to calm down. So they keep trying it you know to, to to weather this storm. And finally Jonah says hey, y’all got to throw me in. If you’ll throw me into the water, the ocean will calm down. And they, at first they wouldn’t do it, they just kept fighting. And the, the, the, everybody’s on a aura paddle, they’re rowing, they’re fighting against it, they’re trying to get back to dry land. So now they’re trying to paddle to the land. So they’ve, they’ve folded the sails. I’m, I’m, I’m assuming. I don’t know a lot about how sailing war. I don’t know anything, to be honest, about how sailboats work, but maybe they dropped the sail because the, or maybe the storm had ripped it, because it said the boat was coming apart. I don’t know. But they start rowing. They got these big oars. They would have had these long paddles that go down into the boat and they, they go down into the water and they’re rowing. They’re trying to go against the storm, but it just gets. The storm just gets worse. So they call out to God. Now they start to pray to um Yahweh, jonah’s God, it says. They cry out to Yahweh oh Yahweh, let us not perish for this man’s life. In other words, please don’t let us die because of this guy. But at the same time, Jonah’s like throw me into the water. They’re like, and they’re praying to God. They’re saying we don’t want to kill this guy, we’re not going to throw him into the water. These guys are in a true dilemma. They’re like praying to Yahweh and they’re saying please stop this storm. We don’t want to kill this man. He’s this, this is this feels so wrong, like she had an innocent blood. But it says they, they did it. They picked Jonah up and they threw him into the sea. And I cannot imagine, because because Jonah doesn’t fight him, he willingly goes, which that’s another, that’s another study, because we’re not going to study the whole book of Jonah here, you’re just going to really look at this main setup in chapter one and then the the ending. But they throw him and he goes willingly. Does he fold his arms and just like lay down and say, toss me, does he do that? You know, when you’re a little kid and and your parents, you know, or your your uncle and your grandpa, they get one get you under the armpits, one get you by the ankles, and one, two, three and they throw you on the bed or they throw you into the pool. Did they throw him like that and he just let them? I don’t know. But when he hits the water, the sea goes calm, it completely calms down, and this is fascinating. This is so fascinating. Verse 16, then the men feared Yahweh exceedingly and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. The sea goes calm and these guys, I don’t know if they do it on the boat, if they have a sacrifice, if they, if they get to the shore and they, they kill an animal and go through the whole bit. You know, was this an animal sacrifice, where they didn’t throw everything overboard. They still had some, some livestock on the ship for their food supplies. Or was it some other sort of sacrifice, a grain offering? I don’t know. Did they go to the shore? Did they do it from the ship? I don’t know. But they, they literally go into a worship service and they begin to worship Yahweh and they made vows, they pledged themselves to Yahweh. It’s crazy. And the last verse, verse 17, really goes with chapter two. That’s where it says the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. This is the third, I’d say major, act of God’s sovereignty. God sends the storm, he, he establishes Jonah’s identity through the casting of the lots and now he appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah up. Jonah spends three days and three nights in the belly of the fish and it’s crazy. The story doesn’t really have a good ending for Jonah, like Jonah’s in the fish and then eventually it spits him up and he goes into Nineveh and he sort of preaches this mediocre sermon. He’s just kind of like goes into the city, three days journey, and yells God’s going to judge Nineveh. People are wicked. And then the people repent. The king of the city passed an edict, a decree, that everybody would worship Yahweh. So Jonah has seen God transform lives and yet he’s still bitter. And in the end of the story we see him still wrestling with his bitterness. He plays the victim role. He’s very entitled, he’s whiny, and it’s just there’s not there. There, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of redeeming qualities with this guy. You know, compared to your brother, you’re a good man, you know, it’s like man. What, what can we say? And so the story of Jonah is a story that I think a lot of us can, can look at Jonah and see ourselves you know, he’s got this this shallow faith, this lack of confidence in, in, not lack of confidence, but like lack of trust that God is going to do what’s right. I don’t know, man, I, I. I think that there’s so much to learn from from Jonah in his rebellion, and a lot of times there, you know, I think a lot of times we can learn something from somebody doing something wrong. As much as you can learn from somebody’s good example and Jonah shows us, I think, some things that we need to learn from, because we would have those same tendencies and so let’s learn from it. Let’s learn from Jonah. A lot, of a lot of people think that Jonah wrote this later, that he was repent. At some point he heard about the salvation of the, the mariners on that ship and the. You know the, the faith of the mariners that that saw the storm calm down and they must have seen the fish. I don’t know, maybe not, but I, in my imagination, they saw this fish because the storm calms down, jonah’s thrown into these, you know this tumultuous sea, and then this ship is, is, is stabilizing and this fish swallows Jonah. Was it like where they see Jonah go in and then they see the humpback of this great wet fish come up with a whale or whatever. It was a shark, I don’t know. Fish, I don’t know. Some people think that Jonah died, was literally dead, because of the comparison that Jesus makes when he calls his own death and burial the sign of Jonah. He makes a parallel. I don’t know, but I know that God, the, the, the great piece of the story is the sovereignty of God to save people. We see the mercy and kindness of the Lord. We see the sovereignty of God in the story of Jonah. So look behind the flannel graph, go beyond the veggie tail and dig a little deeper and, and maybe, maybe, work through this book and maybe you’ll learn something and be challenged by it. I certainly have. I’ve seen in Jonah some things that I’ve seen in my own life. Because of what I’ve seen in Jonah, some things that I want to work on and, and, and and submit to the Lord. That’ll do it for this week. Now, if you want to hear a little more, what we’ve, what we’ve done is we’ve sat down and gone into a longer conversation and brought in Spencer and Rob and we just had, gosh, probably an hour worth of conversation about this story. If you want to do a, if you want to kind of come into our coffee talk conversation about the story of Jonah, um and uh, we’d, we’d love for you to thank y’all for listening and, uh, we’ll be back next week. No sanity required.
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