God used a “big fish” in Jonah’s life to redirect Jonah onto a better path. Did Jonah enjoy it? No way! But through that experience, God was able to use Jonah to save an entire city. What can God do in your life using undesirable circumstances? Join Pastor Cal Jernigan as he shows us from Jonah’s life what God can do with “big fishes.”Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)
[00:00:00] Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome to central. Welcome on any of our campuses, wherever you are. We are with you. You are with us and we're aware. And any of you who are experiencing this online, whether it's in the city, the state, the nation, or somewhere around the world, wherever you are, man, we are thinking and praying for you as well.
[00:00:18] So Hey, glad that you're here. Here's what I need you to do. Open up your Bibles through the book. The book of Jonah and I've done the, where Joni is. It's about at the end of the old Testament, I can give you some other books it's in between, but I'm only going to confuse you because it's a little book. So just go to the back of your Bible of the old Testament and the old Testament ends about two thirds of the way into your.
[00:00:38] So about two thirds of the way through your Bible, you can find the book of Jonah while you're finding the book of Jonah. I want to have a pastor to congregation on little talk. Okay. I want to share something. I want to ask something of you. It's hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, but it is.
[00:00:54] And, uh, I don't know what memories you have of Christmas as you grew up, but my guess is you probably had a lot of fond ones and, uh, there there's some people. Um, who, who really struggle, uh, at Christmas time, uh, because they just don't, uh, they don't have the means or circumstances in life or whatever. So as a church, what we've done for a year, literally decades is we just committed ourselves to partner with parents to try to like literally, uh, bless their kids.
[00:01:26] And so that they, they have the same kind of memories of just wonderful memories. So what we do. As we have this thing. Now we call, fill the sleigh and you can see it in the lobbies wherever you are. Um, and there, there are posts and there's bags and there's like a, uh, an item. And it's, it's basically, we're saying this, would you mind going and buying that item?
[00:01:46] You don't have to wrap it, just bring it and put in that bag. And, uh, what's going to happen is, is we're going to collect all these toys. Now, if you go, I hate to shop. I want to help, but I don't want to. You can go online. You can just dedicate you and dedicate money for fill the sleigh. And we'll have staff, that'll go purchase the things that need to be purchased, and you can contribute that way.
[00:02:06] Or if you're just experiencing this online and there's, you know, there's no physical way for you to do that, but here's, what's going to happen. Here's the cool part that I want to explain to you. It used to be that central Christian Church was the hero behind the story of what we would do for little kids.
[00:02:22] And I remember one time walking in as. We gave a whole bunch of toys to some parents, kids and their parents. I really felt bad for them. And I said no more, no more. So what we've done is we've partnered with the schools and on all around all of our campuses last week, you saw somebody from the community of Mesa.
[00:02:44] Talk about the difference. Estimate all of our church, all of our campuses, the schools around them. We go to the schools and we simply say, who needs. And then they do the sorting of who needs help. We deliver all these toys to the school, the school give them to the, gives them to the parents. The parents give them to the kids and central Christian churches out of the picture.
[00:03:07] And I think that's the way it ought to be. And the parents ought to be the heroes and we had to come alongside the schools. And so that's how we do it. All right. So it's kind of anonymous. Yeah, it's not like, eh, aren't we all that. It's our chances of church to make a huge difference. And so here's what I'm going to ask you to do.
[00:03:24] I'm going to ask you to extend your heart, to extend your family this Christmas. And I'm going to ask you to take on some. Okay for a date. All right. Not for a lifetime for a day where you would just go. We'll bless that we got those kids will bless them and together we've got an organized, if you'll do your part, we're going to make a big difference.
[00:03:42] Can I get an amen from anybody as to this? Okay. I seriously hope you'll do this. All right. So let's get going here. I'm going to talk fast strangely enough, but we're going to fly. So here's, uh, here's the deal I'm going to. I'm going to deliver a message here that without the spirit of God's help, you're not going to believe, and I'm not going to be able to communicate well.
[00:04:01] So I'm going to stop right now and pray, and then we're going to go. So father, I do pray that you open our eyes, help us to see what we need to see here. God help us to not get lost on details, help us to not miss the point, miss the story and a waste of your time in our time. So. Open our eyes to this and through your spirit, help us to see what we're supposed to see.
[00:04:20] And I pray for this and ask this in Jesus name. Amen. Okay. So last week we started a brand new series that we're calling it on the run. It's a, it's a story of the life of Jonah. Most of us have heard about. And we go, okay. I kinda got the idea. Sometimes we get it mixed up with Pinocchio and all kinds of other things.
[00:04:37] Uh, we, we get our facts wrong, so we're slowing down. We're just taking a chapter a week. And so we're in chapter two right now. Now, before we get to chapter two, though, I got to review what we talked about last week. For two reasons. You might not have been here last week and you don't, you weren't tracking, but you can't really understand chapter two without having a good grasp of chapter one.
[00:04:56] So let me just remind you of chapter one. Okay. So it's the story of this man named Jonah? He's a prophet of. And he lives in Northern Israel and he gets a call from God that he's to go preach to the Ninevites and it's a 550 mile Trek to the north east that he's supposed to make. And it looks like this on a map.
[00:05:17] So again, you can see this is a real people. Not quite like that. That's not really what it looks like, but there it is. Okay. So Jerusalem. 550 miles Northeast. Now he's not technically in Jerusalem, but that map gives you an idea of the perspective he's in Northern Israel, which is just a little north of Jerusalem.
[00:05:35] Okay. So that's the assignment, but here's the deal. Nineveh is the capital of the Assyrian empire and the Jewish people do not like the Assyrians. In fact, Jonah can't stand the Assyrians because they're really, really bad people. And so he says, no, I'm not. And he decides that he's going to run for his life and he's going to disobey.
[00:05:53] He's going to go to a different place instead of going to Nineveh, he's going to go to a place called Tarshish. Now, Tarshish is as far away from Nineveh as. So he was supposed to go that direction. He goes, he's headed 2,500 miles to the west. Tarsus is a very wealthy city. It's at the end of the trade routes.
[00:06:12] It's right there by the straits of Gibraltar. The ancient city of char Tarsus was very rich. It traded in silver and golden shifts would come Laden with the silver and gold and he hops on a ship and he's going on. Because I heard what happens in Tarsha stays in parsha. So now won't be known, but, but here's the point.
[00:06:29] If you want to run away from God, here's the thing church. I want you to understand. There will always be a ship headed toward Tarshish that you can get on. And he found one and he got on it and off he goes. Now what happens is, is while he's on the Mediterranean that this huge storm comes up and the word last week told us that God sent the storm and the seasoned sailors began to freak out.
[00:06:51] They just began to figure out there they go. We've never seen this and they're, and they're scared for their lives. And I don't know if you remember, uh, Gordon Lightfoot song of the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. If you remember this song, it was 1975 this month, a few days ago that that ship sank. And, uh, the, the lyrics in that song, you know, the good ship and crew were a bone to beat.
[00:07:13] That's Gordon Lightfoot. This good chipping crew were a bone to be chewed by the storm that God sent on the Mediterranean this day. But the difference between the Edmund Fitzgerald and this ship is that the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk and everyone died, then everyone survived this storm. They survived this storm.
[00:07:31] Literally they began to pray to God and is a process we talked about last week. It was other God's first. And then the God they. They become saved. And, and basically they're trying to get the ship to land. They relax, I can't do it. They figure out Jonah is the issue. And so he asked, well, what do we do? And they said, throw me overboard.
[00:07:51] And they don't want to throw him overboard, but they can't get out of the storm. So finally they were letting they throw him overboard and the storm subsides the waves calm. And Jonah's pretty sure he's just going to die. He's off drifting away now. That's not the end of the story. Okay. Now I want you to, uh, I want you to do something I want you to, do you remember as a kid ever being put in timeout, anyone am I the only one who has oh, thank you.
[00:08:17] Thank you. Thank you. God is here. He sees your honesty and your dishonesty. No. Okay. Let me change the question. How many of you ever put your kids in timeout? Okay. I look at the hands. Go up. What is timeout? Timeout is that. Oh, that chair or that place, you need to go spend some time alone. Right? You need to go think you need to go consider your behavior and the consequences.
[00:08:40] You need to go figure some things out. I need you to understand what's going to happen is Jonah's on the run. It's going really bad and God goes, okay, you donut timeout. He's going to send them to the timeout. Now he's going to do that is found in chapter one, verse 17, the last verse of the first chef. I didn't read it last.
[00:08:58] It actually begins the second part. So Jonah one 17 says now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, timeout, donut, time out. Now I want you to stop for just a moment. Think about how crazy the story is. You you're doing it and you might be clicking your tongue and rolling your eyes like, oh, come on you, you gotta be kidding.
[00:09:24] Three days, three nights who comes up with this? Okay. What's interesting. Um, three days, three nights is going to parallel what Jesus is going to do in the ground, but, um, and Jesus is going to reference a three days and three nights. So, so what's going to happen is, um, you're going to read this and everything inside you is going to be, uh, uh, skeptical and go there.
[00:09:45] No, no way. No, no. That's impossible. I want to say this to you. If you have that reaction, I'm cool with it. I really am. I get it. I get I'm so glad you're here. Even if you think this is unbelievable, but I want to help you to understand something. There's a couple of points I want to make here on this.
[00:10:02] Number one, Jonah is not a story about a fish. That's the first thing you need to understand. If you get stuck on the fish, you're going to miss the. Now the second thing I want to say about this is you've got to understand there's only one way this happened. There's only one explanation for it and no other, the only chance it happened this way is if God did a miracle.
[00:10:27] Now, before you click your tongue or roll your eyes about miracles, let's just stop for a minute. If you don't believe in miracles, then there's a bigger issue. Now let me explain. We live in a natural world, governed by natural laws and laws that are repeatable, that are observable, that are, you know, you can document them.
[00:10:43] You can, the, the laws of the land supernatural is when something above the natural law intercedes or interacts or intersects the natural world. And you will, that never happens. But see, if you say that never happens, then I've got to say, what are you going to do? With the Virgin birth because Jesus came supernaturally.
[00:11:06] And if you want to throw that out and a lot of people do you throw that out? I just want to say, I'm going to sit here and testify to you. I believe in the Virgin birth. I don't, it does not cause me any. I also, by the way, believe in the resurrection, you go, come on, pastor a guy rising from the dead. I don't know, man.
[00:11:23] I expect God to do stuff like that. I wouldn't want to follow a God that can't do stuff. I expect him to come in supernatural and I expect them to exit supernaturally. They also expect them to do all kinds of supernatural things while he's alive, because he, every healing that Jesus did, every miracle walking on water, feeding the 5,000, it's all super.
[00:11:41] And if you don't have room for a supernatural, God, you're going to be locked in a natural world. Then you're going to have no resources beyond natural resources. It had to be a miracle. So if it's a miracle, I'll just put it in that category. Now you need to understand, I don't argue with miracles. I pray for miracles and I rejoice in them when they happen.
[00:11:58] Every prayer I pray is asking for super natural intervention. That's what prayer is. God I'm pleading with you to get involved in this change. The course of. And that's prayer. Do you believe or not? I do so. I, I don't, I, I don't get hung up on this. All right. Now with that said, I want to, I want to say this.
[00:12:20] Some people go pastor, you're a fool. There's no possible way a fish would eat a person. Well, funny you say that. I don't know if you saw this June 12th of this year. I'm going to quote the Cape Cod times about a 56 year old lobster. By the name of Michael Packard, that was, um, uh, he was swimming, Provincetown, Massachusetts.
[00:12:46] He was lobster diving. He said, I saw all kinds of schools of fish going by is plucking lobsters off the bottom. And next thing he knew he got really, really dark. He had no idea what happened, but he got really, really dark quote him. I could sense I was moving and I could feel squeezing with the muscles in his mouth.
[00:13:06] He thought he had been swallowed by a great white shark. But he said, I never felt any teeth. And so he's inside something. He doesn't know what he's inside and he's trying to figure it out. But once inside, this is what he said. I'm just quoting him. All right. This is a real story. You can go read this. All right.
[00:13:23] I was completely inside. It was completely black. I thought to myself, there's no way I'm getting out of here. I'm done. I'm dead. All I could think of was my boys. They're 12 and 15 years. Actually what had happened is he got swallowed by a humpback whale and he was inside this well, and, and, and then, um, not after a long time this Fisk goes, okay, that's going to get me into gesture or something.
[00:13:50] I don't know, spit them out, spit them out, ended up in a hospital, hyenas, uh, the seat of heinous. There he is. This is the guy and. Um, I'm telling you this story, not to prove that Jonah is true, but to prove the bizarre things happen, and guess what? Without God having anything to do with it, a fish can swallow a human.
[00:14:12] All right. So it can happen now again, I can make you believable. I'm just saying, see, the problem we're going to have with Jonah is then this actually happened. I want to say the point of it is not, did it, or did it not actually happen? Was that real? Was it, was it a fable? Was it an allegory? Parallel.
[00:14:29] Here's the point. What I know is real in this story for a fact is what Jonah did I do? And I'm willing to go on record of saying, what Jonah did you do? And that I don't debate. I sometimes you run away. Do you remember being a kid and running away? How many come on? God is here, man. Better not lie. How many of you remember running away as a kid?
[00:14:53] Look at the hands. Look at the hand. Okay. How far did you get before you realized this is dumb? My guess is around the block. All right. You started real. I have no food. I'm hungry. I forgot my pajamas or whatever. And so you decide to repent and go home. Don't you think that as we get older, we would learn.
[00:15:13] There's no point in this running away thing, you know, what's fascinating. The older we get, the more we run you go into it. Not. We run from God first and foremost, we run from God. We, we reach a point in our lives where, and I don't know how it played out, but you go, I'm not listening anymore. And I remember clearly in my life when I, when I literally shoved got off, but often it's like, your parents are bringing you to church and you go the minute I don't have to go, I'm not going.
[00:15:42] And some of you go, yeah. And I know you're here now. So something happened, but that's the memory of so many people. It's just like, God, get out of my. And we run away, but we don't just run away from God. We want re run away from our spouse. We run away from our kids. We run away from trouble, stress, job problems we run, and you would think we would learn.
[00:16:03] So just like Jonah, we run, we see ourselves in him. We see him in ourselves and that's why he's so worth studying. Now, again, this is important. I know I'm belaboring this when we run, where do we go? We go to dangerous. We go to dangerous places. We go, we go to danger. We run to danger. Joan is going to go get on a boat and get it on a sea.
[00:16:27] That's stupid. When we run, we run to dangerous places. We run to dangerous relationships. We run to dangerous substances. We run to dangerous situations. We run two, we run the danger. It's predicted. As if somehow the danger that we're running from is less than the simple obedience of what we're being called to do.
[00:16:51] We run to dangerous places and people. And the second thing that happens is we begin to self-destruct when we run, we self-destruct everyone who loves us knows we're self-destructing everyone who knows us. He says, what are you doing? What are you thinking? Explain to me why you would, and then they'll put the thing on, why would you leave your spouse?
[00:17:08] Why would you have that affair? Why would you buy that thing? You can't afford. And they see it plain as day. Why would you, but you don't and people who love you get in your grill and go, what's your problem and what are you doing? And yet we don't listen, we just go, you don't get it. And we just kind of do our thing.
[00:17:28] We also, we avoid people who speak wisdom in our lives and we avoid places where we'd hear wisdom. And frankly, a church is one of the places where you hear wisdom, because we're going to read from the word of God you got, I don't want to hear. We're running. Why would I want to hear what he has to say? So we tend to self-destruct.
[00:17:46] I want to point out something that's important to you understand when you want to run away from God, you can relax. He's not going to chase after you. You can relax, you know why he won't chase after you, because if he chased after you, you just run farther and faster you, it would just to spite him, you would just go further into trouble.
[00:18:07] But what's cool is, you know what, wherever you're running to, he already this. So, you know, he already is there. He's there. So you don't have to, when you finally decide I'm going to turn around and come back, you don't have to travel all the distance again, to get back to where you started. No, wherever you want, wherever you are, when you're ready to turn around, God's ready to embrace you.
[00:18:25] He waits for you and he waits patiently. And he's, he's good. Now I said, last week, God doesn't want to pay you back. He's not out to get you. Who's not trying to pay you back. He just wants you to bring you back. Cause you ran away. Once you bring it home. That's a story. That's it pretty simple. Now let's just talk about what it's like to be stuck in a fish eye.
[00:18:50] Many of us had that experience of Jonah. Jonah. Do you want to have that experience? What is when learns, spending time inside a big fish? What do you do? Well, you kind of in solitary confinement. Yes. Got a lot of time on your hands. You've got a lot of, I think what probably happens when you're inside a fish and you're stuck, you start reflecting on things you've learned.
[00:19:13] No, it's the self, um, things you say, things like, you know, if I would have known then what I know now, if I would have had any inkling that my running away would reach this destination. I think we'd look at our desk, our decision to. You go, you know what I got to remember next time and you would start scratching out some things, um, once you get in the second chapter of Jonah is a number of things.
[00:19:40] You get a prayer, we're going to read a prayer. It's not long, it's not long. It's just a prayer. It's it's like you're getting his insights reflections. Ponderings it's as if you're like reading his journal. Uh, ju Don is going, what? I must never forget about being inside a fish and he just writes it out.
[00:20:02] And that's what we're literally going to see here in just a moment. So you could call these, I guess, insider insights, insider insights, like what do you know, what do you discover when you're inside a fish? These are your insights. That's what you have in chapter two, which we're going to look at. Here's the first thing I think you discover that God always provides, but not always how we might imagine he will provide that.
[00:20:29] So let me take you back to Jonah. One 17. We've already read this, but it's, it's the, it's the T that the whole thing is, you know, teed up on now. The Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah. The Lord provided.
[00:20:47] And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights, a big fish, three days, three nights who thinks of this stuff? Well, it's all kind of setting up the story of Jesus. That's going to come hundreds of years later. It's kind of helping you to understand, and Jesus is going to reference this, uh, when, when he lives his life.
[00:21:10] But here's what I need us to think of. We often think of God as like a Santa Claus, like a God that only provides, you know, really, really good things. We never think of God as providing something as difficult as a huge fish to swallow you and keep you for three days and three nights, we don't tend to think of that way.
[00:21:30] We think that God will give us everything we want and that if we walk with God, no problems are going to come. Our way is all going to be, you know, a better roses and it's gonna be. And yet it's often not because we forget something about God's nature. He's a father and we're his children. And he was trapped at 12 or seven.
[00:21:49] It says endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as his children for what children are not disciplined by their father. So what Jonah needed was disciplined from God and God sent a fish to discipline them. The word provided is the word appointed commission. God literally literally communicated with this fish and how?
[00:22:12] I don't know, man. I didn't have some conversation. Hey, Mr. Big fish. We'll call him Harry. Hey Harry. I need a favor. Once I boss, I got this dude. He's kind of drowning right now. Let me send you his coordinates. Can you go do me a favor? Can you go get him? Yeah. What do you want me to do? Well, listen. Very, very.
[00:22:32] I need you to swallow, do not chew rum porn detail. I need you to swallow him and I just hold them in solitary confinement. And then I'm going to give you bearings in which I'm going to direct you to a place. And when I, my cue, I want you to spit them out. Got it. Whatever you say, boss. Okay. So somehow he communicates to this.
[00:22:55] And so he's on a journey Jonah to one. Now we're going to go fast, Jonah to one from inside the fish while all that's going on. Jonah prayed to the Lord, his God, this is fascinating at no point. Did Jonah feel the need to pray before when he was thinking about going to Nineveh, not praying when he's decided not to go to Nineveh, not praying when he's going to go to Joppa, not praying when he's going to get on a ship to Tarshish, not praying when he was on the ship in the storm, where.
[00:23:23] All the sailors were on the deck. Praying. Where was he sleeping underneath now he's in a fish and now he's thinking I should probably pray. Why didn't he pray before? Cause he's like me. He's like you, when we got it, we got it, man. When we don't need help, we don't need help when we're okay. We're okay. I'm busy.
[00:23:48] I don't have time. And. He's going. I got it. I'm in control. When you think you're running it, you don't pray, but now he's in a mess. And what kind of a Udacity does it take to think that after you run away and you've rebelled and you've done all this that God's going to give you the slightest hearing as to your request.
[00:24:11] That's what we think. But Jonah, isn't a fish in solitary confinement. Middle of timeout has nowhere to go and nothing to do might as well. And so he prays and a Jonah chapter two, Jonah chapter two, verse two in my distress. I love that phrase because you know, when you're going to start praying in your distress, in my distress, I called to the Lord and he answered me from deep in the realm of the debt I called for help.
[00:24:44] And you listened to my. He's reflecting on this now. He's not saying I hope you'll hear me. He's reflecting on what happened. I was in this fish. I was in this fair. I was in distress and I prayed. And you heard me? How does he know he heard him because what's going to happen? Well, you go to go to verse three, you hurled me into the depths into the very heart of this.
[00:25:09] You hurl me. This is fascinating. Who hurled Jonah into the depths. If you know the story from last week who were all the. The sailors, hurled them overboard, but Jonah goes, you did it in that horrible thing that happened. I saw your hand, you did it. And by the way, if you haven't figured this out, you know, uh, there's a, uh, there's a storm and the Lord caused a storm and a Lord costs sailors, and the Lord caused the fish.
[00:25:41] Hmm. That's interesting. Jonah could have thought it was all just happening. But folks there's design behind this and I want to suggest there's design behind your life and there's designed behind my life. But let me show you, if you summed up everything we've read about Jonah so far, one word would sum it up and you probably haven't even caught the word.
[00:26:00] The word is down down. He went down to Joppa. It says who's going down to Tarsus. He went down in the boat, they threw him overboard. Edwin began to go down. He was swallowed by a fish and it went down. How far down do you have to go before you hit rock bottom? How far down you see his life is on a trajectory is only going one direction and it has nothing to do with a music group.
[00:26:28] She's going down. How far down this Jonah have to go. How far down do you have to go? How far down do I have to go before I realize this destination? How far can I. Uh, second thing I think we could pick up on here is distress. It seems to be, God's just great instructor. Let me pick this up. I'm going to be in Jonah chapter two.
[00:26:50] I'll just begin with verse three, Jonah, two, three, I'll stop at seven. All right. So I'll just read all this. You hurled me into the depths. God, you did that into the very heart of the seas and the current swirled about me, all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, I've been banished from your side.
[00:27:09] Got it. You've thrown me overboard and I am, I'm just over. I've been banished from your sight yet. I will look again toward your holy temple. So at some point he looked up at some point in all the despair and going down, he looks up the engulfing waters. I will look again at your, towards your holy. I'm going to get out of this.
[00:27:32] The engulfing waters threatened me. The deep surrounded me seaweed was wrapped around my head. That's a glorious picture to the roots of the mountain. I sank down the earth beneath barred me in forever, but you Lord, my God brought my life up from the pit, which the pit rock bottom. Hmm. When my life was. I remembered you Lord and my prayer rose to you to your holy temple.
[00:28:06] See, I want you to understand something. This is right. This is really personal. Listen to me. He's going down, down, down, down, down to rock bottom. He's inside a fish. He's down and it's dark. It's dark is inside a fish he's down and he's it's dark and he begins to feel distress. And despair and desperation.
[00:28:32] Are you there yet? Are you there? Because what's going to happen when you find yourself in that place, he's in pain and you might be in pain, but if somebody said, God, uh, CS Lewis said pain is God's megaphone to get your attention. We said, we all think we're invincible. We're immortal, man. You're kidding.
[00:28:54] We're in destructive. And we think that until we find ourselves in so much pain, God, not any of that. And the third thing I want to point out here is that in the end, the choice is ours to make meaning the condition that we all find ourselves in you. He's giving you the decision as to what you want to do with the mess you find yourself.
[00:29:16] In in fact, I want to show you something in Jonah, two, eight and nine, and we're just almost done. Do you want it to eight and nine says, um, those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God's love for them. Just stop right there. That sums up our culture. We're clinging into all sorts of things that are just worthless.
[00:29:39] Idolatries. Can't do anything to solve our problem. Can't fix it. Just we're holding clinging onto things. And, uh, we won't let go, but I, he said, but I. With shouts of grateful praise God, I will sacrifice to you what I have vowed. I will make good. I will say salvation comes from the Lord. Let me tell you what he's saying.
[00:30:04] God, I repent. I repent. I will go. I'll turn around. I was running away. I'm turning around God. I realize you're right here. I'm signing up for duty. You want me to go to Nineveh? I'll go to Nineveh. We'll see this next week. I'll go to Nineveh. I promise you. Get me out of this mess. Get me out of this fish.
[00:30:27] And I will go to you now. I want to ask a question again. I've already asked it how far down do you have to go? You see, what's amazing is God is literally saying to you, this will end as soon as you want it to the pain you're in will end the minute you want it to. There's a great story told in the old Testament, I don't have time to go into it other than to say.
[00:30:50] Moses was sent to Pharaoh, the Pharaoh of Egypt, the king of Egypt. And he was holding the Israelites in captivity. This is the book of Exodus and Moses was told to tell Pharaoh, let my people go and that he wasn't going to do it. So God was going to give him some plagues to inflict on the land of Egypt.
[00:31:10] One of those plagues was what was called the plague of frogs, frogs, frogs, everywhere, frogs, every. Frogs and your refrigerator, frogs in your bed, frogs in your bath, frogs everywhere. And, and, uh, basically, uh, Moses is going to have, this Pharaoh is going to relent is going to repent is going to go. Okay.
[00:31:30] Okay. I give, and then he's going to ask a simple question. I'm going to show it to you. When do you want relief? Watch this unbelievable. Moses said to Pharaoh, I leave you to, I leave to you the honor of setting the time for me to pray for you and your. And your people that you and your houses may be rid of the frogs, except for those that remain in the night.
[00:31:54] What's your answer? Feral. When do you want relief? Look at the next word. What's the answer? Say it out loud tomorrow. Tomorrow. I'm going to stop there, but tomorrow. No. Yeah, I just want one more night of misery. I just haven't had enough frogs licking my face yet. I just seriously, I need one more night to sleep with these frogs.
[00:32:19] How stupid can we be? All he's got to say is now I'm done with it and relief would come immediately. He's just like us. I don't know. I think later I know, I know my life's a mess. I think I still have a little bit ago till I hit rock bottom. I think the low, I think the bottom is a little. Just give me a couple more days to be in misery is crazy.
[00:32:45] Um, second Corinthians six, two, and the, in the time of my favorite, I heard you and the, in the day of salvation, I helped you. I tell you now is the time of God's favor. Now is the day of salvation. Why would you want to live in misery? I just get one more night inside this fish. God, that's all I want. Just one more night.
[00:33:07] I want four days and four nights. Can we get it? Well, so let's finish it up here. Uh, Jonah two 10 and the Lord commanded the fish and it vomited Jonah onto dry land, too much information. Amen. It vomited literally. It's the, the fish hurled, Jonah. I think John's getting tired of getting. The fish hurl, Jonah, what does that mean?
[00:33:43] What he vomited? He pooped. He tossed his cookies, whatever phrase you want to put there. This fish is now. Where do you suppose this fish? Jonah? I don't know, but I got a pretty good clue right? About the beginning of the road. So the fish want to go to these GPS coordinates, get there and expels them. He goes flying out of the, I don't know, flying out of the fish.
[00:34:15] Now let me just point something out. He's got a lot of miles. You have to travel, right. But now he's coming out of fish. Guess what? Guess what? He, you know what his life's all about right now? He's covered in fish goo and tartar sauce. He's a mass. Wouldn't it just have been easier. Jonah. Just do what you're told.
[00:34:33] Just go do what God said. Now, now I need to be doused in fish, Fu fish, GU, and tartar sauce before all way, first time obedience would be so much better. So off he goes now, we'll see what happens when he gets there next week. But what's the point of all of this, and this is the conclusion. All right, what's the point of all of this?
[00:34:53] Let me just draw. There's a tendency within all of us to do some things. Let me point them out. Number one, to play, to play the victim and blame somebody else for our trials. Hey, this is not my fault, man. This is not my fault. This happened because God caused a storm because they'll sailors just threw me overboard because the stupid fish, uh, take no responsibility for the mess you're in.
[00:35:18] They did it to me, but the truth is Jonah did this to himself in my distress who caused your distress, Jonah. And if I can be so candid with you, can I just say most of my distress, I caused my. Can you admit that too, that a lot of the things that have come your way, you, you brought those on. I do in my distress that I brought on Proverbs 6, 27, 20, it says, can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?
[00:35:48] Can a man walk on hot coals without us feet being squares enough to come up running fast over the coals. Can you stand on hot coals and not burn up? Can you put coals in your lap and not burn yourself to no, no. Uh, there are consequences to behaviors. These things happen. There's a saying, I have no idea who to attribute it to, but you might've heard it.
[00:36:09] You get what you got when you do what you did. You get what you got when you do what you did. When you put hot coals on your lap, you get what you got. Cause you did what you did when you do that. That's what's going to, if you're tired of getting what you got, you gotta quit doing what you're doing. You got to do something different, like just has this way of pouring these consequences back on us.
[00:36:28] We want to blame somebody. I think the point of Jonah don't do it. Number two, I think we think we can outsmart God, we cannot run God. We can not maneuver God. We can out-think him. I've gotten him. I think one of the things that we need to understand is you can't it just can't third thing I want to point out is that I think there's a tendency within all of us to fail.
[00:36:53] And this is so important. Please give me your attention. That we failed to recognize that God's deliverance comes to us often in a way we never have thought of or associated you. See, Jonah was my big problem is I got swallowed by a fish, but the truth of the matter is God sent salvation to me. By swallowing me up in a fish.
[00:37:21] You see the fish, wasn't the problem. The fish was the solution. To the problem of Jonah bobbing up and down in the Mediterranean with nowhere to go. Do you ever think about the stuff that happens in your life that you're going to want to blame God for might actually be sent from God. You're like, I lost my job.
[00:37:40] Where was God? I lost my job. I can't believe I lost my job. Could it be possible that God caused you to lose your job and that the best thing that will ever prove to have happened in your life is you lost that. Or I, I, you know, I pray to God that this relationship would happen. I prayed to God that he would bring me in this person together.
[00:37:59] And he didn't. Did you ever think that maybe what God did is save you by sending that breakup in that relationship? Do you ever think that maybe the reason you didn't get that contract or they left you was because God was saving you from something. You really think like this? We just want to blame God when the actual solution might be the very answer God's going to, yeah, I got you up, but you're going to have to have some time in my own personal life.
[00:38:30] I've experienced this, that, that family crisis you're going through might actually be the solution that you've been praying for. Maybe something as simple as your car breaking. Now, your car broke down, this horrible what's happening to my harbored. Could that possibly be God preventing you from something?
[00:38:47] You have no idea what he saved you from? Well, lastly, at some point, usually in our distress, we start to see things God's way we start to go. Okay. All right. Maybe I should turn towards God. This is the story of. And I want to remind you with what I said last week. It's never, never, never, never too soon to quit running from God.
[00:39:14] It's also by the way, never too late, never too late to quit running from God. It's never too soon church to turn toward God. It's never too late to turn towards God. What I love about God, among many things is that when you turn to God, you know what he doesn't do, he doesn't do like you do with your dog.
[00:39:34] You grabbed him by the back of the neck, put his nose in his mess. You do, you need to know, do you do this? God never does that. He never rubbed your nose in your problem. He just embraces you when you turn and welcomes you back home because he didn't come to pay you back. It came to bring you back first, John, one eight.
[00:39:59] If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but I'm adding that word. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us of our sins and purify us from all unrighteous. Yeah, you're covered in fish GU and tartar sauce. Turn to God. He'll heal. And he'll set you on the right path.
[00:40:27] So the big idea that I've been, I haven't said it well, I'm going to close it. I'm going to pray big idea when your life is heading down, make sure your focus is looking up. That's the story of Jonah to. Let's pray to God. Uh, thanks as always for your word. Thanks for teaching. Thanks for Jonah. Thanks for the story.
[00:40:50] Thanks for the incredible application of the story to our lives. God, we've all run and we've all sank. And the question is, is how far do we run and how far do we sink before we see what's happening? And we turn and got to thank you that you don't, you're not punitive in the sense that you delight in our misery, that when we turn your embrace, you clean it.
[00:41:11] Yeah, get us on the right path and get us going the direction you knew was best for us all along. So Lord, I do pray for hearts to be sensitive to this. And again, I prayed it already. I can't, I don't have the words. Your spirit can do what your spirit can do, help anyone who's in pain realize that there is a way out that you love them and that you will, um, be there for them.
[00:41:34] The minute they're done no more nights with frogs, no more nights in the belly of a big. So, uh, God, may we turn to you everyone, you know, every story, you know, God speak to us individually. I pray this in Jesus name. Amen. Hey, listen, next week. Um, next week you don't want to miss next week. It's really, I mean, I can't believe you will not believe what we're going to study next week.
[00:42:00] We're going to be in Jonah three next week. If you want to get ahead, read it this week, come prepared and we'll pick it up. God bless you guys. You're awesome. All right.