Jonah 1 – The Lost Men and The Real God
Tuesday, 28th February 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-3 Live in Foolishness
The meaning of Jonah is ‘dove’ and we can see that God used Jonah greatly to be His prophet. V1-2 ‘Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”’ Not only our prayer and cry will go to God, but our wickedness will also go to God. Jonah received this signal but what was his reaction? V3 ‘But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.’ Jonah went to the opposite direction of God’s guidance. He knew what God wanted him to do, but purposely he turned away from the way he should go. Jonah turned away from the presence of God, he cut God off completely.
Jonah was God’s prophet, God would talk to him no matter where he was, and he could not hide from God. When we try to hide from God, when we try to ignore His calling, then we will live our lives in foolishness.
Section Two V4-10 Hide in Sleep
V4 ‘But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.’ We thought when we hide and run away, God will not be there, and He will not find us. But God is always with us, He is calling us, He is looking at us, and He wants to talk to us. It’s the people, who choose to ignore Him.
V5 ‘Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.’ Jonah chose the fall asleep in the midst of the storm. Even the experienced mariners were afraid, they were trying to fight for their lives, but Jonah, the prophet of God, chose to sleep. A lot of times, when we try to hide from God, and get away from what God wants us to do, we will choose to fall asleep, to be in deep sleep.
V6 ‘So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”’ Even an unbeliever could see Jonah was a sleeper, a person, who was trying to hide and trying to run away. We thought nobody would know that we are running away from God, but when we are rebellious, everyone can see that we have turned away from God.
V7-8 ‘And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”’ The people on the boat knew Jonah had given up and was running away. Even the unbelievers could see that Jonah did not see his God and did not care about his life and death.
V9 ‘So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”’ Jonah knew who he was, he even told the people that he feared the Lord. Jonah knew God well, but his action was showing his foolishness and ignorance. But did Jonah really know God? If he really did, then why would he run away from God? God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, when Jonah refused to listen, he ran to the sea. We thought we know God, we call God the Creator, but at the same time, we chose to walk our own ways and make our own decisions. We thought we can sleep all we want, because God cannot find us and God cannot see us.
Jonah was contradicting himself, not only he was turning away from God, but also he was going to the world. Jonah was heading to Tarshish, a place of business. Jonah chose the world over God, but what could the world give to him? The ship was about to sink, so in order to live, the people threw all their cargos into the sea. We are also like this, we work hard all our lives, but when our lives are in immediate danger, what would we choose? God is the I Am Who I Am God, can we choose God over the world? We must strive to live in the Kingdom of God, and not to drown in the world.
Section Three V11-17 Experience God in Desertion
V15-16 ‘So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.’ God’s work is more than what we can imagine. Not only He wanted to save Jonah, He also used His signs and wonders to save the people on the ship.
V17 ‘Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.’ God did not give up on Jonah, Jonah was running away but God saved him. God will also not give up on us, even though we may be rebellious, and we may reject God, but God is always with us.
约拿书 1 – 人的迷失 神的真实
V13-15a 神没有停止风浪，于是船上的人将约拿丢下海。神用约拿想不到的方法使他来经历神（V17)，让他知道神不仅创造旱地，也创造沧海， 连大鱼都要听从神。我们选择放弃神，但神没有放弃我们。