Where are you at?

Jonah: A "Tail" of Mercy  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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Introduce the Bible

*Welcome & Dat*
*READ JONAH 1:17-2:10*


We’re asking a question at the start of every talk…and this week is:
[Slide] “Where are you at?
*Interact with them and get them to answer the question*
So, where did we leave Jonah at?

Walk through the Word...

JONAH 1:17:
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Can someone remind me…why is Jonah in a fish right now?
*Interact and see if they can pull together the context*
Let’s remind ourselves where we’re up to.
God tells Jonah what to do.
Jonah doesn’t like it.
Runs and gets on a boat.
God throws a storm at him.
The men on the boat call Jonah into order.
Jonah tell them they need to throw him in the sea.
They fight at first…but then they do.
So Jonah is in the sea, in a storm...
Jonah is going to die...
But he is saved! By a fish...
Salvation from the sea.
Which would have been certain death...
Look at this video of how violent storms can get.
[Slide] - Video
[Slide] - Blank
Now. This is a manageable storm.
Sure it’s crazy.
But experienced people of the sea.
Like the men in chapter one, that we looked at over the past couple of weeks.
This storm is average.
And yet if you were to go overboard in this storm it could be deadly.
As we said last week, this was a God-level storm.
This made serious experienced men of the sea cower in fear.
Jonah going into that sea...
During that strom...
Was almost certain death.
But friends, we have a kind God.
We have a gracious God.
Even though…as we have seen, Jonah has not been a good follower.
God is a good God.
So…God responds to sure death.
With sure salvation.
With a fish...
Can I get a show of hands… [Slide]
Who thinks it’s weird God uses a fish to saved Jonah here?
It is a bit weird isn’t it.
Why did God choose to save Jonah with a fish?
[Slide] - verse 17
More than that, why did God leave Jonah in the fish for three days?
As we have seen in Jonah so far...
The book is about the man himself - Jonah.
But. It is also much more than that.
It’s about God.
God throws a storm at Jonah.
God commands a fish to swollow Jonah.
We haven’t gotten to it yet, but in the fourth chapter, God commands a worm.
God is in control of all things.
God commands the big and the small.
God works through the big and the small.
I cannot give you an exact answer as to why God chose a fish to save Jonah.
Other than humility.
I don’t know if you noticed in us reading the first chapter every week for the first three weeks, but Jonah is described in pretty much one direction from there...
Jonah goes down to Joppa.
Then down to the ship.
Then down into the depths of the ship.
Then in this chapter, in verse 3, down into the depths of the sea.
Jonah kept going further down, until he literally hit rock bottom.
Sitting in the belly of a fish.
I have found that the best and most honest prayers of my life, have been in the worst moments of my life.
There is something eye opening about hitting rock bottom.
About sitting in the belly of a fish.
And that is where Jonah…finallyprayed!
JONAH 2:1-2a: [Slide]
From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said: “In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me...””
Jonah prays.
He is in a fish.
And he prays.
Jonah’s prayer is pretty much the whole of this chapter.
He prays to God while retelling what happened it him...
And, acknowledging God.
If we remember from the past few weeks...
Jonah ran away from his duty and away from God because...
He doubted God.
He doubted who God was.
He wanted control.
He thought he knew best.
And where did him “knowing best” get him?
Where did him “having conrol” land him?
Where did doubting God drive him?
Over a boat.
Into the depths of sea.
To be saved by a fish.
And sit in its belly for three days.
Now…finally now.
He prays.
And he acknowledges God properly.
In verse 3, then verse 5 and part of 6.
We see Jonah bring his probelms to God.
Bring his struggles to God.
This is what he should have done in the first place.
When he was having doubts.
When he didn’t want to go to Nineveh.
He should have prayed.
But we see he now, in part, correcting that.
JONAH 2:3: [Slide]
You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
Jonah is again, finally, admitting that God is in control.
He says “you” twice in this verse.
He knows that it is God.
He knows that it is God’s waves. God’s sea. God’s storm.
He is acknowledging God.
He is seeing God for who He is.
Verse 5 continues telling of how Jonah is feeling.
How he is struggling.
How he is feeling a weight over him.
And I think one of the important things for us to learn here in Jonah 2, is to not only pray - that’s very important.
But to be honest.
To pray what you’re feeling.
How you’re feeling.
When you’re feeling.
And when I say honest…I MEAN HONEST.
I have questioned God in prayer.
Many times.
I have cried to God in prayer.
Many times.
I have yelled to God…at God.
Jonah here is honest.
Friends, let us be honest.
So, Jonah is quite honest, quite real with God in verses 3, 4 and part of 6.
Re-telling parts of what happened.
Telling God how he feels.
And then again, finally, he acknowledges God.
JONAH 2:6b: [Slide]
…But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
This is Jonah acknowleding God saved him from the sea.
This is Jonah thanking God for saving him.
In verses 4 and 7, you’ll notice a phrase:
…your holy temple.
That Jonah is praying towards God’s temple.
This is Jonah re-prioritising.
Through ch. 1 we saw that his priorities were out of order.
Last we saw that he answered the who are you? question...
“I am a Hebrew…and I worship God...”
His people and his place…came first.
Over God.
Now in prayer.
He re-prioritising.
He re-focuses.
On God.
Now, we know he gets out of the fish.
God saves him from the fish.
It’s there in verse 10.
And there’s two more chapters of Jonah.
Two more talks that we’ll hear.
And something you’ll realise over those weeks...
Jonah is still very much struggling.
And that’s ok because one big prayer session isn’t going to fix everything.
It is a lifetime of prayer…that should be our goal.
But yes, Jonah is still struggling and we see a hint of this in...
JONAH 2:8: [Slide]
Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
This almost feels out of nowhere...
This prayer has been about Jonah, his feelings, his relationship to God…about his struggles and his sins…and about God saving him.
Yet, this sits near the end, a hint of bitterness.
Remember Jonah doesn’t want to go to Nineveh.
They are horrible. They are the worst.
And so this…this almost feels like Jonah yet again…trying to correct God.
Reminding God that the other nations, the ones that cling to “worthless idols”, well they don’t love God. They actually even turn away from God’s love.
So…why would you send me there?
Now we’ll get back into that in the coming weeks.
Jonah’s struggles.
But the ending to this prayer…is beautiful.
Even through his struggling, Jonah still has a relationship with God.
And we can learn much from this single verse...
JONAH 2:9: [Slide]
But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’
Jonah ends his prayer in praise.
Jonah recommits to his duty as a prophet; that’s what vow means.
And Jonah acknowledges God truly.
The last line hear has been said by some people...
To be the summary sentence of the Bible.
And a bolder way of saying it is: [Slide]
Salvation belongs to the Lord
What this means…is that God is the one who saves…and him alone.
Some of you have been coming to Youth for a while now…years.
Some of you months…some of you drift in and out.
But I hope all of you have heard of Jesus Christ.
He was a man who lived 2000 years ago.
He lived the perfect life.
He never sinned.
I’ve said this a couple times in the past few weeks, but I’ll say it again...
Everyone sins. Everyone in this room has sinned.
Sin meaning, when we go against God.
YET. He never did.
He lived the perfect life.
Until he died the death that we deserved.
And he died…for us.
He took our place.
But he didn’t stay dead.
He rose from the dead.
And lives to this day.
Jonah did not know that in full when he wrote these words...
But they are no less true to this day.
Salvation belongs to the Lord
God alone saves.
Christ alone saves.


I asked a question at the start...
[Slide] “Where are you at?
I think there’s lots of different stages we in this room could be at...
Thinking about Jesus.
Not thinking about Jesus.
Praying a little.
Praying a lot.
Knowing and acknowledging God’s salvation...
Everyone of us in this room needs to land somewhere.
Everyone of us in this room needs to think about this question.
Everyone of us in this room needs to be saved.
Last week I asked “who are you?
My point was that our identify, who we are, needs to be centred on Christ.
Because. There will be a day.
In the Bible it’s called the Lord’s day.
Where you will come before God.
…all the books will be opened” it says in Revelation.
That means everything will be on the table.
God knows everything about you.
What you though and did.
And he will not ask you “who are you?”
He will ask you “who were you?
I was in a discussion group of sorts once.
It was at my old church and I was in year 9.
We were wrapping up and to conclude my minister asked a question:
If you died right now...
And you came before God...
What would you say…to get into heaven?
I stayed pretty quiet personally.
I had ideas in my head, but I wasn’t sure.
The group throw around lots of things...
But eventually my minister quieted down the group.
He said:
I would say nothing.
Because I can say nothing.
I would point to Jesus...
Who stands between me and the Father...
Because I trust in Him.
Salvation belongs to the Lord
Trust in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Thank you that Salavtion is yours.
That it is not up to us.
Help us to know this.
Acknowledge this in our hearts and in prayer.
Save us Lord.
Change ourt hearts.
And help all in this room to trust and know you.
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