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Well, good morning. We got two or three of you out there this morning. Good morning. All right, that's good. I think I'll stay.

Began a series this morning from a small little book The Book of Jonah and it's an incredible book in a lot of different ways because it really is a precursor to Easter and you know, we're not far away. We've just finished the holidays and now we're thinking in April they were going to celebrate the resurrection of Hope of Christ. You see some years ago. I had a director at at the YMCA. I went to quite often over the noon hour and play some basketball with businessman engage me at the door. And he said, you know, I hear you on the radio all the time cuz I had a radio program then in a couple of radio stations early in the morning couple secular station, and he said, you know, I agree with you when the most important things in all the world is a person trust Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior that they personally trust cry.

Those are Old Testament books in Old Testament stories. I have a problem with is that I really don't think they're true. I think they're allegorical in that kind of thing, but I don't think they really happen. Is it so you're saying that you believe the most important thing is to believe in Jesus and trust him as your personal savior as it. Can you tell me if you have a hard time believing? Is that all ya that story of Jonah? I said, oh really? I said you have problem. Jesus said as Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. So would he be in the center of the earth for three days and three nights the proof of our faith is a resurrection. Hope that we have in Jesus. He didn't just die. He prophesied that he'd be in the grave for three days and three nights and rise again. And the Heart of our faith is based not only in the death, but also the resurrection of Christ he's alive and he's won the victory forest in the resurrection. I said you just undermine what you first said because you said you don't believe the story of Jonah and yet Jesus said the story of Jonah prove him and proved his prophecy and prove the fact that he did die and it did rise again until in the Book of Jonah is a prophetic picture of not only the fact that Jesus came to be our suffering savior. He came to be are victorious Risen Lord. So Jonah is an interesting book will have about four messages on it the Lord willing. I love the Book of Jonah. It's very practical. There's a lots of application for our life. A profit was one who is appointed by God to give his message a prophet's job was not always what we saw at a profit did we usually think as a prophet is someone who foretells something that's going to happen in the future. We call that prophecy. They tell us something that's going to happen in the future. That's prophecy. But many times the prophet that God told we're not for telling but they were forced telling they were messengers of a certain message that God wanted them to communicate in some way to some group of people. And so Jonah was apart of profits and there were Seventeen of them listed in the Old Testament. He was one of those but four of them or mention specifically by Jesus and he specifically called out and mention by Jesus himself. So first question this morning, Is who is this man Jonah if you have a Bible, I would ask you to open it this morning or if you have an electronic device and you can trace that down find the Book of Jonah may take you a little bit. He's our just before Micah is in the Minor Prophets. So you go through all those Jeremiah and Ezekiel and Isaiah and Daniel all those books and you come along to these little tiny books there 12 of them. They're called the Minor Prophets and early on you'll find the little Book of Jonah. Does the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of amittai that the subject of his book is about his character The Narrative is about his particular character not so much about the message that God is giving to someone. Though the message was important. What's about this book is that you have a prophet who is unwilling to do what God wanted him to do you disobedient. He's selfish. He has a selfish character is the only Prophet that we know of that ran away from God's calling. He was selfish all of his Propensity to do this since we can relate to innocence we are born selfish when we're first born in the world. We came in a crying and hollering and and wanting our way and so from the very beginning selfishness is a part of our life. His name means Dove. It's interesting the pretty common idea with the profits of that day. If you think of the word of in the scripture, I don't know what comes to mine. But one of the things was Noah who passed out a dove as a messenger to test things and we also have Dove is a picture of the messenger of the Holy Spirit to us. So it always talks about a messenger. And so God had a message that he had to the Jonah and he had a place for him to serve it says here in verse when he was a son of amittai. Amichai means my true one one who spoke truth. And so most everybody says Jonah was raised in a very Godly home yet a wonderful start in life. It was trained. Well, he was also called to be a prophet now if he was one of the prophets he also went to school. Did Seminary or Bible College or whatever you might call it? He went through the school of the prophets. So he had calling he had a training get a really good Godly background wonderful training for him. But Jonah was not faithful to his calling. I want you to look at verse 2. Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because it's wickedness has come up before me. We want to know what was the message that God called this Messenger to do. Preach against Nineveh was a great City in Assyria will say more about this in a moment, but it was a very cruel and ruthless Empire and it was the enemy of God's people Israel absolute enemy. So he didn't say go to a certain Town go up to them and treat up there and always 500 miles away is up through War. At this time there wasn't a lot of war jeroboam is reeling and he said go to Nineveh to that. Great City. And then it says here. It is because its wickedness has come up before me.

God can tolerate a lot of wickedness if he did indeed have to judge America pretty severely cuz we're pretty wicked Nation right now. This nation and this city we're so wicked that it came up before God where he could no longer tolerate the sin and the wickedness that was going on there. It's always a Jonah this is your assignment. It didn't make any sense to Jonah at all because this was a very heart of the anime nation that they're fighting all the time. And God is going to send him where he's going to send him. This place called Nineveh and he's going to speak God's judgment against them. No, lies, we know the story when Jonah went there. He was to speak that God was going to judge that City much like Sodom and Gomorrah. Some people said this city was every bit as wicked as Sodom and Gomorrah and so he was going to preach God's judgement against the city, but he also had to preach that if they repented and turn that God would restore them and forgive them and spare them the Judgment that he didn't want to do that because he was a god of compassion and Grace infect over in the 4 chapter and when we get to that will concentrate on it where he says God, I know that you're a God of compassion and Grace That's why I didn't want to go cuz he hated those people. He sent them to their animates to preach God's judgment have been happy to do that. If God said preach my judgment then watch as I wipe out the city and Jonah would have said all right. I'm ready to do that. Jonah didn't want to do this because he knew that if I repented God would forgive them and he wouldn't judge them. And so he's rebelling from doing this that got it asked them to do. So look now at the Knicks verse. Bruce Reba Jonah ran away from the Lord and He headed for tarshis. It went down to Joppa where he found a ship Bound for that for it and after paying the faith Fair he went abroad and sail from Tarsus to flee from the Lord. First question. We have to ask women asked yet. We're these people of Nineveh. I've kind of indicated some things about it this city. Is it a Syrian city, which would be Iraq today. This is a part of the old Babylonian Empire. This city was probably according to experts estimate six or seven hundred thousand people in that day. That's a huge City not so big today. It's estimated about a million people. Perhaps were in this whole picture that God wanted Jonah to preach about is a very Pagan City if I could tell you that are cruelty and wore. It would not be appropriate to say some of the things that are they did to people in war there very much like Isis today. Their cruelty was equal we hear a lot about Isis and a lot of the things they're doing if they're in the same region of the country that that's going on today.

And so they were very Wicked people. They were very immoral people more immoral than you can ever imagine. They had witchcraft paganism idolatry all of those things going on as as a city. And they were a pain in the side of the Israelites. And again think about it. This is where God said Jonah. I want you to go and preach in that City. No, Jonah has some faulty concepts of God and that's what we see here in verse 3 and one of the first faulty Concepts he had was that he believed he could hide from God. That was a concept that he had. He believed that that was the case now. I'm stopped here for a moment. When we have a faulty concept of God. We can make some really bad choices because of what we believe about God's one of the most important thing even as we were celebrating communion this morning the individual I was listening to on that talk show had a belief about God and about Christ that I don't hold and I'm glad I don't hold that. I don't have an uncertainty that I'm going to be in the presence of a trusted him and he's done this for me and he's promised that he's going to present me to the father without faults with great joy. And I'm not worried about that because I know I'm going to be in the presence of the Lord because he's provided that for me but Jonah has a faulty and that's what causes him to make some really really bad choices of his life read something from Psalm 139 that David wrote. Many many years before and it says this song 139 verse 7. Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence if I go to the heavens you are there? If I make my bed in the depths you are there if I rise on the wings of the Dawn if I settle at the side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me your right hand will hold me fast.

Play Jonah, there's no way or you can hide from God. It's so he's thinking look God wants me to go 500 miles from home to preach in a very Wicked enemies of God's people. And I'm not going to do it but I can hide from it. And so he decides he's going to this place called tarshis. Now tarshis is in southern Spain gets over 2000 miles from the seaport town of Joppa where he catches the ship and he goes there to back between these two countries and so you can get away from God and he doesn't have to reach in this wicked City their his enemy. And he doesn't want God to be compassionate to them. That's interesting thing. It says here that he paid his fare.

Tim Hebrew Scholars said the way this word is in the Hebrew. Perhaps indicates that he not only bought his fair but he available on that ship but just imagine he comes down to the seaport and he comes to this ship captain and he says I want to go to tarshis. And I want all of the tickets you can imagine the captain saying at who all you're bringing Josh & me if if that was the case with Joan is saying is I want to make sure from Joppa to tarshish there. No stops in between I want to get there as fast as I can cuz he's running from God. He's running from his responsibilities and he's going to miss in credibly wonderful blessing in his life because his running from God. So he had to have a direct sale. There's a another faulty concept. I'm going to see this in Verses 4 through 10. He also felt he could justify his own selfish Choice was kind of do that a little bit if we we do something that's very selfish and it probably isn't the right thing but we can justify and and Joan is doing that. So look at verse 4, and let's look at the story a little bit as we go through it. Then the Lord said a great wind on the seat and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up all the sailors were afraid and he carried out to his own cried out to his own God and they threw the car go into the sea to lighten the ship now stop here for a moment. Sailors are a tough group. They're not afraid of almost nothing. This storm that God brings into them as their sailing along is so great. That they're afraid to the to the point of calling out to whatever God they may have been worshiping and they must were Pagan Idol worshippers. They were not godly people. They didn't believe in the Living God think they worship some object and so they got their objects out of the bottom of the ship and they're praying to them and then and they're panicking because the trip was about ready to break up they're going to sink and so their prey And they're absolutely afraid.

Then it says Midway through that verse but Jonah had gone below deck where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. This is incredible. You may know the Book of Jonah well, or maybe you don't

he's paid his fare or maybe all the fair and he he's headed to tarshes. He's not facing the the probability of going. Tanana Valley doesn't have to do that and he's totally content so much in in a storm. That is got everybody who are hard and sailors. So afraid that they think they're going to die and they throw all the car go out and he doesn't even pay attention to that and he's snoring at the bottom of the ship. And if you can't end it. He absolutely believes. You can justify his own selfish thing and he's just totally content about it and he's sleeping and they can't believe it. Notice what it says here very sick the captain went to him and he said how can you sleep get up and call on your God maybe he will take notice of us and we will not very so at this point on their gods and it did not help sleeping call on your God. It's the only person that hasn't trade for for rescue here to hear God. They didn't know who it was. He was a passenger on the ship.

Mer 7 and the Sailor said to each other come let us cast a lot and find out who is responsible for This calamity and they cast lots in the lot fell on Jonah now. This is an interesting trivia. That was something that was pretty common casting lots understand done with some stones and the one that they picked out happened to be the one they designated for Jonah and so a God use that it's interesting that even the 12th disciple. That was a replacement for Judith in the book of Acts was done by casting of lots. So this was not an unusual thing in here to tell them that's a real problem. Was this man Joan

Verse 8 so they asked him tell us who is responsible for making all this trouble for us. What do you do? Where did you come from? What is your country? From? What people are you? The lot value Jonah give us some information. Where did it's trouble come from? Why are our lives being threatened Because of You Dallas and he answered I am a Hebrew Worship the Lord the god of Heaven who made this see in the life. First of all, he said I'ma Hebrew immediately. They probably wouldn't know he was a part of those group that did not worship any or organic physical God but believe that there was a God that was living and alive that they could not see or touch her feel but was powerful himself in Hebrew.

That would mean a God who they couldn't see that lives not on Earth, but in heaven and then he said and I believe in a God who created the Sea and the land now that's significant because so often when God did a miracle of his connected with a couple of things it was connected with the sea and it was connected with when you may want to study that a little bit but that what's going on here. So God brought this raging storm like Sailors had never seen in their life and they knew there was no way that they were going to get out of this alive. And so they're desperate.

And what Jonah saying this Raging Sea was created by the god I worship you right now. percent this terrified them and they asked what have you done? They know he was running away from the Lord, but because he had already told them so interesting isn't he had indicated I'm running from the God who created this sea? I'm running from the god of heaven. I'm running from the Living God who has power to do all kinds of things and they knew it and he was trying to justify his own selfish Wicked choices. He was going to hide out in Spain and God wouldn't find him. That was a fallacy the wrong concept of God and he was going to justify his actions because his bad choices were built upon that you know, many Christians are that way, sometimes when God calls them in a way or if they have a gift to use for God and they don't use it. They say let somebody else do it at this point. You know if I don't go to Nineveh. God's probably going to send somebody else. One of my buddies there were a couple of prophets that were prophesying about the same time. Jonah was Amos was one of them.

God had other tasks Raymond, this was his assignment for Jonah and so you find Jonah running from God rather than running to God. He's running from him rather than to him and he's justifying it and every regard now, there's another faulty concept that Jonah has and we'll look at that as we go along the narrative this morning Jonah believe death was preferred over repentant. Think about that for a moment. He believed death was better than repenting and changing his mind and doing what God wanted to do. Let's take a look at it. Look at verse 11 to see how the story goes on the scene was getting rougher and rougher so they asked him. What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us? You can stop here for a moment and I'll tell you what. I'm going to go down to buy mine with a tray like crazy at the Lord will forgive me and you can drop me off at the next port and I'm going to get back to Palestine and I'm going to head to nanovic just God's got my attention. Just a minute. I'm going to go pray. Didn't say that. Bruce go out notice what he says pick me up and throw me into the sea he replied and it will become calm. was that God's will Does Road Joan into the sea know that was God's or Jonah's way of saying I can get out of this and death is a whole lot better preferred then repenting and turning to the Lord just throw me over that will be sure that's for me and I'll be over and I won't have to do it that's was better than repentance. That was his concept A good verse 13 said the men did their best to roll back to land they could not. For the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the Lord. Oh Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man's life do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man. Does that grab your attention?

Jonas not worried about God's work in his life. These hardened Pagan Wicked Sailors throw him because the Living God is going to hold them accountable for it and they grow like crazy.

I want some to throw him over. Is he hits the man? Who knows God?

More respect and love for God than Jonah death. Incredible things you go through the store here.

verse 15 then they took Jonah and threw him overboard and the Raging Sea group cam.

Atlas cement greatly fear the lord and they offered sacrifices to the Lord and they made vows to him.

This is an incredible story you see God Sovereign Grace is so great. And so far beyond us that even in Jonah's disobedience. He uses that to bring these men to him till the Living God the god that they were in praying to but now they not only afraid of him. They're making sacrifices and vows to him and they're doing with Jonah should be doing and they have fallen before the Living God and they've trusted him. Credible story. Somebody said Jonah is one of the most missionary books and all of the Bible because this is only the beginning of how God reaches thousands with a guy when he gets done in about but here are all the guys on the ship turn to the Lord. And Jonah is in the sea and he's about ready to to say this. Is it any minute I'm going to drown but he doesn't and he goes down and he's going down something happens. And you know the story we got to read verse 17 look at verse 17 the end of this chapter with the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights. And the chapter 3 notes Orwell everybody thinks this was a whale. And then my title kind of indicates that a whale of a lesson. Oh good. We got that.

But it doesn't say it was a whale it says there was a prepared fish. Jonah did not want to prepared fish he wanted to die and he thought the Shoreway would happen to be cast out in the ocean.

And he would drown that be the end and he wouldn't have to face what God asked him to do any drain away from God the other really faulty concept of that.

terrible way to end his life running from God Jonah said it's my fault. Reason you guys are in trouble is because of me because I'm running from God and God brought this storm and you're about ready to die because of me, but if you will throw me over that I'm going to die in the Seas going to calm down because I'm not on the ship anymore and you guys are okay.

Got to prepare to fish. miraculous

it's in the belly of the fish. for 3 days That's preposterous. Pastor. Nobody can live in it. Great fish for three days and three nights true. imagine Jonas ending up in the belly of that fish and thinking Well, I didn't think I was going to die like this, but you know. I just kind of Imagine Jonah saying, you know this terrible way to die. Wish I had drowned. How did I get here? Bible indicates there seaweed all the way around it and he's in this slimy mess banging around with other decomposing fish. John is probably saying how come I'm still alive now, I should be dead. I'm going to die any minute and he doesn't. An hour later, he still sloshing around the belly of this prepared fish, whatever it was. I mean if you were without oxygen you're going to die in a short. Of time, right?

and the gastric juices of that fish would be tearing out his flashing. It wouldn't be very long. He'd be dead, but he's not. And for three days he sloshing around in the bottom of this fish. And God is speaking to him where he would never listen before what a place. and his life like that song 139 if I make my bed in the depths you are there. Jonah was making his bed in the depths of the ocean in the valley of her prepared miraculous fish that was specifically prepared by God for Jonah. So that he could live for three days and three nights. What so incredible about that is that is the sign that Jesus gave people the sign of Jonah is like my YMCA guy hadn't really studied it very much is Jonah such an important book because there's a whale of a lesson for all of us in this incredible story. You see God has a plan for all of us in our life. everyone of us He created us uniquely took me a long time to realize that. And we can run towards God and his plan for our life or we can run away from God. A lot of Christians do that. They don't want necessarily that the Lord be a lot of their life. They want them is a savior, but they don't want him messing with her life. You see I was a little bit like that. I was a very committed Christian. And went through some difficult times a freshman in college and then got to go to a hold of my life. Got me back on track some really good things are going on in my life got married. We farmed for a year went back to Bible college cuz I wanted to do some other things and I got involved with a Christian radio station, and I thought that was a god leading me and we even interviewed for a position as a as a missionary and South America and God close those doors. And then I applied for a number of Christian radio stations in different places after I graduated in the Lord closes those doors and I told you this before you've already heard it. I did not want to be a pastor.

I thought got understood that. Well, he didn't prepare fish for me. He allowed me to go through some things in my life. And then came to confirm in a church. We ended up in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan that where I was happiest where I was greatly most fulfilled. Was fulfilling position of being a pastor all the stereotypes I had and all of the things that I didn't want to do in that regard God changed my life. He use a different way to get me back on track then he did Jonah.

and if I hadn't And I had continued to run from God and tried to avoid that. I don't know where that would have happened in my life. But I know one thing is for certain. I would have missed some incredible blessing. Every year at the end of the year, we get lots of letters and Christmas cards like you do. But ours might be a little different because they come from so many different people from our Ministries that we've had and we keep up with them and we send your in letter to them and they send one. This year we got a personal letter was different than any we've had for a long time. You see why I was serving in the smallest community that I ever served in and helped start a church in a little town in western, Nebraska the scared to death to go there but God did some amazing things while we were there. in one of the Interesting things. I got a call one day from someone that said a young man was moving to our community just recently married. The only contact they'd had with any church was that young man had been involved in their churches like the dig in program. I don't know if it was a wine or something else and that was the only exposure. He had no Christian background. And said, he's coming to your community would you make contact and so I contacted dick and we have a lot of things in common. He was a star basketball player for one of his Omaha High School's he was recruited and played major college basketball and I love basketball. And so we ended up playing on some leagues together and I got to know dick pretty well, but he didn't have any real solid Assurance of his faith in Christ. And so I was able to help him and his wife but in their Journey of Faith to put their faith in Christ in intergrow in that and then he he became a part of our church family and he didn't know how to be a father as a Christian and he watched other people in grew in any start using his gifts to serve God and within a short. Of time he was transferred, Arizona. And so we had a couple years involvement with Dick and Patty and that it was fun to see them grow in their walk with Christ. And we had a part of that. It was a great blessing and then they went to Iowa and this was thirty-some years ago. And this letter came to us and I just want to read part of it because it is. She gives me more credit than this then she should because there's so many things that other people had a part of to bring them along. Anyway part of the letter I want to read says this the course of our lives would have been very different had it not been for the two of you curtain Faith you both demonstrated in the love of Christ to a couple who were Rough Around the Edges to say the least. Our faith is remain strong over the many years will be married 38 years come February. We're grateful that all four of our children know the Lord and serve him. Our grandchildren are being taught Christian values and for that we are truly blessed. And then earlier in the letter. She said on Superbowl Sunday. We remember that we were baptized on that Sunday Super Bowl Sunday, and I remember that very well because Dick said I love sports so much as it's quite a sacrifice. It must be to anyone. That I'm skipping the Super Bowl to be baptized. And I remember that day so well. And I think back, you know, if I had never been what God wanted me to be. I would have missed that blessing you see Jonah and his life missed so many blessings. I mean, he goes to Nineveh an incredible thing happens there in the whole city repents, but he's never ever rejoicing in that he's still crabbing about things and he missed it. And so when you take your life and your run towards God's will instead of away from God's will there's blessings that he brings to your life that you would never have if you're running from him if you don't want his best and so Jonah is a book that is a challenge to all of us. Not to run away from God but run towards him is he I ran away from God's will in my life for a while until you got me turned around going the right way and running towards him brings incredible opportunities and blessings in our life in so many unique and different way. And that's the challenge. That's the way love a lesson. It is a significant blessing when we run from him or we aren't willing to be everything. He wants us to be kind of holding back.

What are we going to miss some incredible blessings that God brings into our life that would never be there. And I know that personally for my own life and this is just an Evidence of it. So we pray with me. It's we close this morning Heavenly Father.

John is in a credible book. He's a man who never seem to get it even to the very end and he is running from you and running from many blessings. He could have had you miss so many things you needed somebody faulty concepts of you that he just made one bad decision after another and so is we go through this book a flight to her life and help us to desire more than anything else your will in our life desire it and not be afraid of it, but run towards God not away from God because they're many good things you bring and blessings upon blessings that will come to our life when we do that. I know it in my own life.

And I just pray that you'll use it. And someone's life here this morning to encourage them. Not to hold back but to allow you to be Center. of their life They can trust you. It's not going to be a bad thing. So I got to be an evil thing. It's not going to be a fearful thing. It just God working in a marvelous way. I pray that for Harvest Valley Church to there's some exciting things going on here these days we have us as a church family to want God's will more than anything else. Not just what we want search to be what what you want this church to be Help us not to be a Jonah as a church, but help us to be a willing servant willing to do what you want. What year will is? The part of this Church's Ministry to this community be a lighthouse causes to follow you with. Total abandonment to your will Lord, you know best I can trust you don't know what you doing all the time, but I can trust you to say that I was afraid that. The guide Our Lives following you as I pray today. I don't know what's going on in every life here, but I just lift up people to you. Some of that may be struggling with some issues of Life help them find your peace and Castor Karen you today cuz you didn't lift him up to let him down and going to drama to yourself. So thank you for each person here today use this message that you want to use it Jesus name.

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