The God Who Pursues
The Assyrians had a certain kind of pride in making their brutality known, just as lynching was a way of saying, “I hate you, I’m in power, and I’m going to destroy you.” As we saw last week, Jonah’s fear was what partially drove him to disobey God, but what really led him to take the ship to Tarshish was the fact that he knew God would show mercy and relent from the disaster if the people of Nineveh would repent, and he did not want to see this people avoid God’s judgment. Don’t we all have a little Jonah syndrome in us, thinking that there are people in our lives to whom God should never extend his mercy? In our fight for justice we should not reflect the very hate which fuels the hate we’re fighting against.
Jonas disobedience shines light on our own disobedience. Disobedience is functional atheism and a fool’s errand. Thinking that God does not exist in certain aspects of our lives, trying to live like God does not exist does not change the fact that he actually does exist and that he sees everything all the time at the same time. When you want to run from God, the devil always has a ride in the form of friends and opportunities, and he’s more than happy to take you in the direction of disobedience. Disobedience is fun for a minute but always takes you down, down, down. As we keep going down spiritually in our heart, sin keeps us longer than we want to stay, costing us more than we want to pay. Disobedience may happen alone but does not hurt you alone. How much have you been hurt by someone else’s disobedience? How much have you hurt those around you because of your disobedience? Disobedience is easily justified. Merely admitting disobedience is a bootleg confession. We are to admit and then to turn from our disobedience. Peace is not a test for what’s right. Obedience may actually take us into a place of turmoil. How does God pursue Jonah? God pursues Jonah by sending a storm, the storm of storms. Trials and danger can lead cussing men into praying men. Has God sent any storms your way? God then pursues Jonah by turning up the heat. We can’t see what God is doing in our storms because we are so bent on doing it our own ways, blinded by our sin. As it becomes clear that God’s will is over the storm and he continues to turn up the heat, Jonah actually does take ownership of his sin and turns to obedience. As a fruit of ownership and repentance of Jonah we encounter two miracles. The sea ceased from its raging, but more importantly, the sailors on the ship worship God, realizing that he is the true God who can create and calm the storm. Lastly, God pursues Jonah by rescuing him. When things are the darkest for this man, the hope shines the brightest. The God of relentless grace saves Jonah at his worst point. God is chasing after us to beat sin over its head, and he’s coming after us in mercy because the sin was judged on the cross as we put our faith in Him. You can listen to this message on Jonah 1 by Pastor Mike HERE!
We’re painting the PO! If you are available 5/1 (Fri) and/or 5/2(Sat) please email Peter Ashmore at firstname.lastname@example.org for the details. The last work day we had at the PO there was a great turn out which made the load lighter for everyone! This will be a great opportunity to be part of the bigger vision of renovating the PO!