What Shall we Do?
Book of Jonah • Sermon • Submitted • Presented • 27:42
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We are about to enter into stormy weather.
I thought I would dress the part
We are continuing in our series through the book of Jonah. Last week Pastor Josh led us through the storm of a lifetime for the mariners.
He left us off on some what a cliff hanger, or should I say a rocky boat.
Folks if you didn’t catch the pun, it was more than a rocky boat that these seasoned mariners found themselves in and today we are going to look at what the party did with the news that Jonah,
Their human cargo was the reason why they are in this situation.
Here is my first question of this morning,
Have you ever found yourself in a mess that wasn’t your fault, but you were responsible to fix the problem?
Have you ever been in a mess and it was completely your fault?
Here is a story of a mess and the explanation to the phrase,
I am writing in response to your request for additional information in Block #3 of the accident reporting form. I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my accident. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the day of the accident, I was working alone on the roof of a new six-story building. When I completed my work, I found I had some bricks left over which when weighed later were found to weigh 240 lbs. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley which was attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and loaded the bricks into it. Then I went down and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 240 lbs of bricks. You will note on the accident reporting form that my weight is 135 lbs.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel which was now proceeding downward at an equally impressive speed. This explains the fractured skull, minor abrasions and the broken collarbone, as listed in Section 3, accident reporting form.
Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent, not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley which I mentioned in Paragraph 2 of this correspondence. Fortunately by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold the rope, in spite of the excruciating pain I was now beginning to experience.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground-and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Now devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel weighed approximately 50 lbs.
I refer you again to my weight. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles, broken tooth and severe lacerations of my legs and lower body.
Here my luck began to change slightly. The encounter with the barrel seemed to slow me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell into the pile of bricks and fortunately only three vertebrae were cracked.
I am sorry to report, however, as I lay there on the pile of bricks, in pain, unable to move and watching the empty barrel six stories above me, I again lost my composure and presence of mind and let go of the rope.
Again what mess have you found yourself in lately? Was it your fault or someone elses?
Maybe today you are in one of those messes and you are looking for answers.
As we look into today’s text, I believe we will find the answers as we see the story unfold.
Turn with me to today’s text found in Jonah 1:11-16
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
What Shall we do
What Shall we do
The Mariners for the first time most likely in their life as Mariners asked a land lover for guidance on what to do on the sea?
You see they had come to terms with their understanding of the situation, Their Predicament. They had cast lots and found that the problem was not with them or their belief system, but Jonah’s, and now they have a problem and we are going to discover the process these folks went through to discover God.
Let’s look at Predicament, Problem and process together.
The predicament was that they found themselves in way over their heads in their belief system.
As Pastor Josh pointed out last week, their trust in a power greater than themselves fell short of their expectation.
Their first expectation is that they had a connection to the source of control of the sea. Their god, as they cried out, didn’t answer them.
Chaos comes crashing down on us when we come face to face with a conflict in what we hold to be true.
As you walk with your neighbor who is going through a difficult time and struggles for answers they as really stating that their way of thinking isn’t working anymore.
What do you do when the predicaments of life come crashing down in your life, how do you handle the situation.
When life is messy and not what you planned, what is your response to the predicament you find yourself in those times?
The predicament for the sailors was simple.
Jonah 1:11 (ESV)
11 .....For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.
It wasn’t getting any better, in fact, it was getting worse and the longer they waited around discussing, casting lots, discussions and blaming, the worse the storm became.
Something had to be done.
That was the life of the mariners.
Stop for a moment and look at the life of Jonah.
He was fleeing, or at least in his mind, from the presence of the Lord.
He was comfortable, in fact asleep, in the boat.
Now the spotlight is all on him.
Not only was the spotlight on him, but he was the identified source of the problem.
Did you notice in his explanation to the people, that Pastor Josh pointed out last week,
not once did he ever claim that He was God’s Prophet.
I guess in my mind and by his actions, he didn’t believe that he was a prophet. He definitely wasn’t acting like other prophets.
In fact, his choice to run away from God was now affecting those around him.
His life was in a mess.
The other day, as I travelled to a friend’s parent’s funeral, I once again listened to a sermon on “The Mess”
The preacher was describing to the listeners, that all of us at one time or another we have found ourselves in a mess.
One thing that we shouldn’t do, when faced with a mess is to make another choice that would make the mess even greater.
Let me give you an example.
You spill something on the couch and you want to clean it up before, you know who comes home, and you begin to rub out the spill only to find the once small spot, is now grown exponentially.
Or that one small lie, that seemed innocent at the moment has now lead into something bigger that requires even more lies to cover up.
Jonah was running away from God because He didn’t want to be a part of God’s Story.
His running away, had put everyone in a major predicament.
If no action was going to happen, all souls on board would perish, so
The question was asked,
What shall we do?
Jonah’s answer for the readers for the first time would be quite shocking.
Throw me overboard.
Toss me like you tossed your cargo, your life for mine.
Have you ever wondered why Jonah would give this as a solution for their predicament?
The Sailors were in a predicament, but now there was a problem.
Jonah was in a predicament, and his solution caused a problem for both the sailors and himself.
When we look at this text,
The problem we have is trying to determine Jonah’s motives.
We can look at the solution to the sailor’s predicament and Jonah’s response in one of two ways.
The first way is giving up.
Jonah could have come to the conclusion that his life was no longer worthwhile.
He could be thinking that the mess that he found himself and other in was unforgivable and he is the one that needs to pay for it.
The only way to pay for it was to cast himself into the sea to appease God.
The problem with this thinking is that Jonah like so many others feel that they can do something to get themselves out of a mess
that should be left up to God.
One person’s mess may on the outside look greater than another’s mess, but in God’s Eyes they are equal.
You see, all of us, were born into a mess.
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
We are in the same condition as those around us.
There is nothing we can do to fix the problem ourselves.
Although many of us try.
Jonah, wanted to fix the problem that he had caused to the sailors by asking them to cast him into the water.
Was Jonah Giving UP, no.
The second way to look at Jonah’s response could be that Jonah’s heart was still far away from obedience to God’s Call on his life.
Maybe he was still running and what better way to run than to tread water.
Maybe Jonah still had a distaste for the people of Ninevah, but was starting to see the hope for the people who were piloting the ship he was on.
He still trusted in God and was asking to be cast into the sea and that would appease God and calm the sea.
Two possible ways Jonah could have been thinking , giving up or giving in and he offered up a solution to the predicament they all found themselves in.
In Jonah’s mind, he was the center of the problem and he alone would be the solution to their problem.
Look at his comment,
12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.”
I don’t believe that Jonah’s motive was giving up,
I don’t believe that Jonah’s motive was a man still running away from God.
In both of these cases, if Jonah wanted to fulfill this type of thinking, he could have easily jumped over himself into the turbulent waters.
If he wanted to be the hero in the story, he would have made a spectacular swan dive or belly flop into the water to show he was the better man.
I do see that Jonah began to display to the people on the boat, the very heart of God.
He was willing to be an active part in substituting himself for others.
In other words, “I’ll take the wrath of waves, so that you do not have to!”
In essence, God’s Love for us and mankind is so strong, that even though we have done nothing to deserve this love, He came to this world,
Died for us, Took the place that was destined for you and me and did it for us.
He did it for me.
He had done it for you.
Jonah was on that boat, as he had lost all pity for the people of Nineveh.
He felt that these pagan people were not worthy of the Love of God and was doing everything possible to not be the instrument of Good news.
But as he stood there on the boat,
He began to realize that this was his Fault.
God was getting his attention.
Even fearing the sailors of potential retribution telling them that He was the guilty party for he was the one that angered a Holy and righteous God who is powerful.
He was willing to stand in the gap for these sailors.
He was willing to be cast over board to calm the waters for them.
The Predicament that these folks were dealing with was a mighty storm.
The problem was identified that it was one man’s fault against a powerful and mighty God.
The Process was simple.
Over he goes....
But wait, Is that what they did?
Did they quickly grab Jonah by the scruff of the neck and cast him over.
He was their human cargo, the other cargo that cost them money was already overboard.
Look what they did.
13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.
What they did
What they did
What they did, Keep rowing.
This morning if you are working against the mess in your life.
Attempting to solve the issue or mess by yourself.
You are fighting the storm and waves of this world because deep down inside, you figure you can do it yourself.
Deep down you struggle with fully giving yourself over to the one who has all things in control.
If you are in this condition today, you are in not alone.
These sailors couldn’t bring themselves to cast another over board. They felt they could handle the problem by themselves.
Imagine the scene.
There stands Jonah in their midst.
He had told them to cast him overboard the same way they threw the cargo.
he stood their willing, yet they did not grasp.
Maybe you are sitting here this morning and you have heard the plan of life everlasting, but you know in order to receive it, you have to give up control of your life to God.
You know what needs to be done, but you work hard at finding another way.
Maybe this morning as a follower of Christ, you are in a different mess. A mess again and you are working hard at solving the problem yourself.
This morning , whether you are battling a mess in your life that you feel you need to fix yourself, or you are faced with accepting God’s free gift of redemption.
A God that came to this world, died on the cross, rose again, conquered the wages of sin in our lives for us.
He is the one that is freely asking you to put that on Him.
To surrender you life to Him.
To surrender your mess to Him. To stop, like the sailors, who rowed even harder to make it back to shore only to discover that that did not work.
What’s not working in your life?
If you are here this morning, rowing harder, thinking you can do this yourself, stop.
Turn it over to God.
What they Feared
What they Feared
If you read the passage, after attempting to solve their problem on their own,
The sailors realized that they were fighting against an all powerful and almighty God.
They realized that they would have to give into Jonah’s plan for their lives and pleaded to God Almighty that this action would not be counted against them.
They were giving up of their comfort, their control into the hands of God.
Notice their view of God.
Before they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the mighty raging waters, they only knew God as a powerful, vengeful God that needed to be pleased.
This is why they cried out for mercy from them if they cast Jonah to his apparent death by the sea.
In the moment of fear for their lives on the water,
being told this was what being asked of them to please God,
They begged for mercy and grabbed Jonah and hurled him into the sea.
Who they worshipped
Who they worshipped
What is remarkable about this story is that as soon as Jonah hit the water, it was calm.
What is even more remarkable is who they worshiped and no longer feared.
There lives were changed forever.
The gods that they once sought out after, that moments before they cried out to but found no peace,
they now found peace and reverence in the presence of God.
Their allegiance to God changed in that moment.
They began to worship God, to offer sacrifices for Him. To set out vows to Him.
Many people in times of distress offer vows to God if He would get them through their storm, they would......
These men began to worship and make vows because God brought them through the storms.
What Shall we Do?
What Shall we Do?
Is this a thought in your life today?
Are you going through stormy weather and not giving the control of the storm to the one who has control?
Are you needing to cast aside all the hinders you from following God, all the worries of this world, all the
“I can do it myself” thinking of our minds.
Are you rowing harder and harder thinking you can make it on your own, but you need to hurl all those concerns to God.
Why not today?
Are you afraid the almighty God can’t possibly forgive you for the mess you have found yourself in today. You can’t possibly see how He would,
Why not today?
How do you do that?
You will notice in the fireside we have began placing pins on the map of where we live. If you haven’t placed your pin, see me after church and I can give you a pin. If you have placed you pin, you might want to check out the board for two reasons.
The youth meet in the church and have placed white pins to show where they live, and as youth, may have moved your pin to the middle of the water.
We have marked small group locations on the map this week,
A home group is where you can battle the storms of life together.
My I encourage you today. If you are a follower of Christ, have given you life over to Christ, but there is something that you are holding onto, and it’s causing the storm in your life, Give it to God.
Maybe you need help with those storms and would like to join a group. Check them out, talk with me.
If you are sitting here this morning and you haven’t given your life over to the one who has come to redeem you, why not do that today.
In a moment we are going to come together to celebrate together communion.
I time to remember what Christ has done for us.
It’s a time of reflection and celebration of Christ’s work on the cross for our forgiveness of sin.
As you come, make this the day that you hurl overboard all that you have been holding back for yourself and give yourself fully to God.
Why, how do we know this to be true,
Jesus spoke these words,
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”