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Jonah’s Leftovers // Jonah 1:1-3


Sovereign To Send // The Prophet

"1Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2“Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3But 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 fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord."
~Jonah 1:1-3 ESV


As we read Jonah we must look at Jonah with “Ancient Eyeballs,” to accurately interpret the text. This means that we drop our “modern perceptions,” and that we pay attention to what the text says, and what the text doesn’t say, rather than what we wish it’d said or what we want it to say. When we read Jonah through this perspective, it will become even more relevant for us today.



When the word of the Lord comes to a prophet, they typically just do what God asks them to do. Here’s a dramatic re-telling, some “summary examples,” of God asking a prophet to “do,” something and then they “do” something:
When the Word of the Lord came to the Prophet Hosea:
God said: “Hey Hosea, go and marry someone who will 100% cheat on you so that you can take her back, and your entire life from here on out will be an object lesson on my faithfulness to that “prostitute” Israel.”
Hosea replies: “Sure thing God, right away God.” (Hosea 1:1-3)
When the word of the Lord came to the Prophet Ezekiel:
God said: “Yo, go and lay on 1 side of your body for over a year and then lay on the other side for over a month. This will show those sinful Israelites and Judah-ites.”
Ezekiel said: “Sure thing God, right away God.” (Ezekiel 4:4-8)
God said: “Oh, btw and as you’re laying there, bake some bread over human poop and make sure that lots of people see you do it.”
Ezekiel said: “Ummm, isn’t that taking things a little too far…?.”
God said: “No, but I feel what you’re saying.”
Ezekiel said: “Whew. So, no poop-cakes?”
God said: “Oh no, you still have to use poop as fuel for the fire. You can just use animal poop instead of human poop.” (Ezekiel 4:9-15)
I could go on and on with these sorts of stories from the Prophets, but you get the picture. God would say to a prophet, “Hey go, do this.” And the prophet would say, “Ok, God – -I’m  On my way!!”
And we expect Jonah’s story to go along with all of the other Prophets…but Jonah gets up not to obey, but to instead run-away from God.

How has THE 'WORD OF THE LORD,' Come to you?

~Do you recognize the voice of your Heavenly Father?

VERSE 2 - Jonah's Call


We think of Acts 1:8, so it’s not “weird,” for us – – but God had never asked one of His prophets to go to a foreign nation like this and share His good news before.

Perhaps Jonah is thinking about Nimrod, the city walls, or the evil people of Nineveh itself.

#1Our call from God is often hard

#2Our call from God is usually about other people

SIDENOTE: Jonah had served under King Jeroboam II and he had supported Jeroboam’s really aggressive military policies while he was a prophet (we know this because of Amos and Hosea, they criticized Jeroboam for his injustice and unfaithfulness). So, when the OG readers of the book of Jonah seen this, they would’ve remembered Jonah as an uber-patriotic/highly devoted nationalist.
-Which begs the question: Why in the world would God send a guy like “that” to preach to the “very people,” that he hated and feared the most? This background presents Jonah to us as a bigot who is ethnocentric.
John Piper has an interesting take on this moment, as he says, “What could make a Baptist Klansman angrier than having to offer God’s mercy to a black community? What could make a Nazi angrier than to have to take the mercy of God to a Jewish ghetto?…The lesson that God was trying to teach Jonah, and us through him, is that God loves to show mercy and that we his people should ‘do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God,’ (Micah 6:8) And it’s implied in the very word ‘mercy’ that no racial or ethnic or national barriers can disqualify a person from God’s love and our love.” 


~Do you believe God has ‘rights’ over ALL of your life?

~Are you where God wants you to be?

~Does God love the whole world, or just some of it?

VERSE 3a - Jonah's course

The course doesn't make sense

What’s Jonah doing?! He’s running from the call of God on his life and here’s the course Jonah has in mind. We tend to follow this pattern of rebellion from our own sin nature.

#1 – We all have some Jonah Junior in each of us (a little bit of run)

~Where are you running away from God at in your life?

*The magnitude of your sin doesn’t minimize God’s grace over it.

VERSE 3b - Jonah's cost

Jonah Tries to flee the presence of god

Jonah gets his “gingerbread man,” on and hits the coastal port of Joppa. He ‘pays the fare‘. He ‘goes down‘(literally and spiritually). He ‘finds a boat‘.
#1Sin has a price (Jonah ‘paid’ a fair).
#2We never sin for free (Sin provides the allusion of freedom, but always costs us something).
#3Following Jesus does cost too, but it’s always worth the cost (As we must look to Him in that cost (Hebrews 12).
#4 – If you want to run from God you’ll always find a ship to get you there.

~Have you accepted God’s free gift of grace or do you try to ‘pay the tip,’ with your guilt and shame? 


Jonah’s Call // Course // +Cost

MAIN TRUTH: We must learn to run-to God, and not from-God. In our call and course we must run to God or there will be a cost that we’re not willing to pay. We can trust God because He is both Sovereign + Good!

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