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The Old Testament prophets were spokesmen for for their generation more than the future.

They were the proclaimers of timeless truths about God, humankind, and the critical issues of life.

“The Modern Message of the Minor prophets” is the theme for Sunday mornings for the coming months.

Today we are talking about Doing God’s Will, Not Ours.

Text

Jonah 1:3 (AMP)

3 But Jonah ran away to Tarshish to escape from the presence of the Lord [and his duty as His prophet]. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish [the most remote of the Phoenician trading cities]. So he paid the fare and went down into the ship to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord.

Scripture Reading

Jonah 1:1-17 AMP and Jonah 4:7-11 AMP

Prayer

Father, today is a special day.

This is the one day I the week that You have set apart for Yourself in a unique way.

It is the Lord’s day, it is a time for worship and life enriching activities.

It is also a day to bring our gifts to carry on Your work.

Every one of us has been blessed abundantly.

Even the poorest among us is rich when compared to many people around the world.

Those of us who know Jesus Christ in forgiveness of sin have all the riches of the heaven.

We bring our gifts today so that the message of Christ may be preached to those who do not know Him here in our own community, in australia, and even to the uttermost parts of the earth.

Bless our gifts today.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

We know that Jonah lived sometime before or while Jeroboam the second ruled in Israel, because he prophesied the conquests of this great king in 2 kings 14:25.

This means he preached about the eighth century before Christ.

Since Jonah’s prophecy was favourable to Jeroboam, he must have been a popular prophet at first.

Perhaps he had a large following and that’s why he was reluctant to go to Nineveh with a message of God’s judgement.

Nineveh was the capital of the great Assyrian Empire, the archenemy of Israel.

Four steps predominated the ministry of Jonah that are recorded in his book.

  1. Jonah at first ran from God.

The call to Nineveh was far more significant than appears at first sight.

For Jonah to preach to the enemy would have caused a serious loss of popularity among his fellow citizens.

The average Israelite of Jonah’s day probably did not care whether Assyria lived or died.

In fact, he probably preferred them dead.

Assyria was competition to Israel commercially and a potential military threat.

Why should the merge Israelite feel any necessity to bring Assyria into favour with God?

Perhaps Jonah felt he could hear the people say, “Why waste a good preacher on those pagan people?”

  1. Thus Jonah rebelled against God’s call.

When he caught a post to Joppa to go to Tarshish, he may have been going to Tarsus, the home town of Saul (Paul).

Many, however, feel that he was headed for a city in Spain.

The exact destination is not important, but Jonah was going in the opposite direction from Assyria.

This happens so often when people rebel against God’s will.

They travel to a different place, sometimes even morally, and find themselves in a far away country of disobedience.

God is always present, even when we are out of fellowship with Him.

He forever stands within the shadow and keeps watch over His own.

The mighty storm at sea was no freak of nature but was planned by God.

B. Are you in rebellion to God’s will?

We will never find peace with God until we are saved by Christ.

We will never know, as Christians, the peace that passes all understanding until we are obedient to God’s will.

God may not call us to a place of service that the world considers significant, but wherever He wills for us to serve is important, and we should delight in obedience.

2. Jonah next ran to God.

The second chapter is a prayer of Jonah in which he gave thanks.

He had already been delivered from the big fish.

Part of the chapter is a flashback in which he described his previous condition before his deliverance.

We are not told all of the details concerning Jonah’s repentance and his eventual willingness to obey God.

The last scene we have in chapter 1 is of Jonah being cast into the sea and the men actually turning to worship Jehovah, Jonah’s God, when the sea became calm.

To run from God is a traumatic experience, but to surrender to Him can be an equally emotional decision.

Some Christians must be chastised greatly before they will do the thing God wants them to do.

Many ministers in fact many Christians tell stories of how “God pulled them into line” before they would be faithful in service.

Others, of course, need only mild corrections.

Jonah’s experience was, in many ways, as traumatic as that of Saul the persecutor.

3. Jonah did best when he ran with God.

  1. God always gives us another chance.

We cannot be certain where the fish delivered Jonah, but the prophet was ready to listen to the call!

This second call must have been briefer, for God merely said that Jonah should do the thing He had told him to de previously.

The city of Nineveh was one of the great metropolitan areas of the ancient world.

The “three days” refers to the time that it took to go through the city, not the time it took Jonah to reach it from where he landed on the shore.

The message was brief.

The Hebrew is quite literal, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be over turned.”

When we work with God, great blessings are available.

In fact, there is no limit to what can be done in God’s kingdom when we are fully committed to God’s will.

B. Jonah preached and God did the blessing.

The king repented.

Those who treat this story as merely a parable should familiarise themselves with the history of Assyria.

There were several unexplained changes in policy during this century, and we have every reason to believe that some of this were brought about directly because of Jonah’s preaching.

C. The repentance was complete.

Personal sorrow for sin was evident.

To have an effective revival, a community needs an intense feeling of the sinfulness of sin and of the necessity to change its course of action.

The people of Nineveh were confronted with their sin and fled to God for mercy.

4. Sometimes good people run ahead of God.

If most of us were writing the story of Jonah, we would leave out chapter four.

Yet God saw it fit to put it in!

Why?

Because spiritual pride is an ego fulfilling experience rather than a humble declaration of God’s purpose in judgement and His delight in mercy.

The lesson God taught Jonah by means of the fish should say to all of us that God has ways beyond us and we must never question His judgement.

God’s purpose includes the world, not merely our small field of existence.

He made everyone and loves everyone.

Unless we understand this, we run counter to His purposes.

Jonah was a great preacher, but even in the midst of a great evangelistic campaign  in Assyria, he still had the need to “grow up” in understanding the complete nature of God.

And so do we!

Conclusion.

To know God’s will is not always easy.

He does not speak audibly, rather through His Word, the Bible, and through deep impressions that He sends to us by means of the Holy Spirit.

At the wedding of Cana of Galilee, Mary, the mother of Jesus, said to the people concerning Jesus, in John 2:5(AMP)

5 His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” 

It was good advice back them and is good advice for us today!

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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