Open your Bibles to Jonah 1
Familiar story – many people know bits or pieces, perhaps have seen the movie
800-750 BC; A contemporary of Amos, shortly after Elijah and Elisha; Israel secure and spiritually smug; Assyria a threat from the north.
Did it really happen? Matthew 12 – Jesus thought it was historical and not allegorical
It’s the story of us – it’s all of our stories; the story of runners
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. (Jonah 1:3)
This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.) (Jonah 1:10)
1. There’s a story behind the running (vv.1-3)
Something powerful but unspoken precedes his decision to run. God wants us to do something difficult, perhaps unreasonable. Self surrender vs. selfishness
2. Runners make the strangest choices (v. 3)
Joppa – where people weren’t likely to be Israelite
Tarshish – Nineveh 500 miles to the East in modern-day Mosul, Iraq; Tarshish, possibly 2,500 miles in the opposite direction (southern Spain); unknown, the opposite direction, as far away as possible
Boat – probably first time in a boat
3. Runners affect others (vv.4-16)
Endangers them – Phoenician sailors
Jonah sleeping (no conscience?); they’re awake losing their payload
They’re worried about his survival; Jonah isn’t worried about Nineveh
They worship God (imperfectly); Jonah continues to run
4. God will let you run, but you can never outrun him (v. 17)
God sent a wind that caused a storm (v.4)
God sent a great fish (v.17)
God waits, but God allows you to experience the full consequence of your actions.
We’ve all been runners; we may not be ready to give up running. Your experience is not unique. Running as far away as you can get. Running will hurt; you can’t outrun God.
As we’ll see this month, you can’t outrun God.
Pray – those who are tired of running; for those still on the run, that you would send the wind that causes the storms