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March 3, 2020 1:00 am
When God wants to get the attention of one of His servants, He has many creative options. In the case of Jonah, God took extreme measures. The belly of a great fish is hardly a vacation, and Jonah got the message.Click here to listen (Duration 25:02)
Looking to Jesus.
When God wants to get the attention of one of his servants has many creative options. In the case of Jonah God took extreme measures the belly of the great fish is probably the Holiday Inn and here Jonah got the message from the Moody Church in Chicago. This is running to teaching helps us make it across the finish line. We've seen Jonah have to die itself will what has to die next this disobedient prophet will date you know. In the case of Jonah. What he needed to do is not only died so but did die to self reliance. He had to go to Nineveh and totally depend upon God and in the midst of his racism in the midst of his anger toward God. God used him, which is a tremendous encouragement.
It's a reminder that God often uses very imperfect saints, but at the same time, the story of Jonah reminds us that we can be in a culture where God is not honored and we can still bring glory to him.
If we preach the right message and that's why I've written a book entitled Christians politics and the cross for many years.
I've given thought to the intersection of politics and religion, and specifically Christianity, and I have come to some conclusions as to when we shouldn't obey the state when we should. The flag of course is oftentimes a point of controversy, even here in the United States. I believe that you would benefit from this book and for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337 and now let us open our hearts and open our Bibles as we learn again from the life of Jonah the need for personal brokenness and reliance on God, was it not CS Lewis who said that he came kicking and screaming into the kingdom of heaven. And I know for sure it was Jesus who said no man can come to me except the father which had sent me drag him. That's what the Greek word drag him you and I are pretty stubborn, especially when it comes to our relationship with God in this series of messages on brokenness I need to point out that brokenness doesn't mean that we don't have a will of our own.
It doesn't mean that we become colorless non-entities what it means, though, is that we are committed to living our lives for the glory of God.
Even at great personal cost and we are willing to accept the circumstances that he brings into our lives and we accept those circumstances as the will of God. Not always chafing against them and fighting than and and constantly in conflict, yet we can improve our lot, but the end of the day. We believe that what is happened in our lives can be used for good and we accept it as from his hand.
Jonah is the man that we are talking about, and this is Jonah chapter 2, I hope you will be able to turn there in your own Bibles.
It's a difficult book to find it because it's in those minor prophets minor meaning shorter profits. So you have Jonah Micah Nahum. One way to find the book of Jonah is to go to the break between the Old Testament and New Testament and then just go backwards for a number of pages and you should find it there.
Last time we left Jonah in the belly of the fish and it is there in this creative learning center. God prepared for him, but God. God's attention now. Just think about the belly of the fish.
What can we say about it. Well first of all, all of the regret in the world can't change the past. Jonah could have been there in all that he could have done is to think about how terrible it was that he did this and say Seo. If only I had done differently know there's room for regret but regret never changes the past.
There's no use praying like the teenager did old God. I pray that this accident might not of happened the wonderful prayer the accident is happened and you are driving too fast. Furthermore, in the belly of the fish. Jonah had no future. His future was out of his hands. He couldn't say well now what I'd really like to do is to talk about my five year plan the belly of the sea monster, you don't talk about that because your future is out of your hands catch this. He was not able to call an attorney and say I'm going to sue God for doing this on me. There is no possibility as a matter of fact, he couldn't even enlarge his living space is Laban's file three months often village that he was unable to to expand his living quarters. He was pretty confined there for to 72 hours and while he was there in 72 hours.
He composed a poem. In fact, some people think it was made up later because it's got snatches from the book of Psalms and well maybe it's because Jonah knew the book of Psalms is a property should have known it and so he took some of the ideas and piece them together but he did make these ideas is on and remember, had lots of time he probably prayed other things too but this is a summary of his prayer and he probably went over it. A number of times just to get it right so we have in effect a song worth in the belly of the sea monster. Notice the text says verse one Jonah prayed to the Lord to his God. I love that he was God's servant, and now suddenly the man who was running from God was saying I want to get away from the presence of the Lord. This man suddenly is now again confronted by God, so he prays to the Lord. It says, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. He prays to the Lord to God saying I called out to the Lord out of my distress and he answered me out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
Some people think that this means that Jonah actually died.
She will in the Old Testament generally is the region of the Netherlands. That is the what shall we say that to area that shadowy area where the spirits of the departed Wynton Old Testament times, and as some people say that this would be a much better example of Jesus, who later on uses this as an example of his own time in the tomb, and his resurrection, but it's possible that Jonah didn't actually die. He's just saying I was in the deepest pit that you could possibly imagine.
I was in the depths, and I most assuredly thought I was going to die yet you preserve me.
What did Jonah learn about God in the belly of the fish.
By the way most of us don't like the smell of of of the outside of the fish. I've no idea what the inside of a fish smells like. But here Jonah was confronted with God. What did he learn first of all, God was listening.
I already read it there for you in verse two he answered me out of the belly of Sheol when I cried, and you heard my voice. God is not deaf.
In fact, frequently in the Psalms. It is says that Lord when I cried unto you.
You incline your ear that God doesn't have ears like you and I do. But this almost means is that when I cried to you what happened was you were listening. You are so fine tuned that you could even hear the whispers of Sheol, but you most assuredly, therefore, are able to hear me even though I'm confined even though I have no future. Even in the midst of this dilemma.
All God in desperation, I cried to you and you heard my prayer. God understands all the different languages of the world. She understands your words. He also understands your heart he knows what it is that you are thinking and even in the depths of Sheol member Psalm 139 if I ascend into heaven, thou art there and if I make my bed in the Sheol others the same word again, behold now part. There, of necessity, God has to be in Sheol got even has to be in hell is not communicating with those who are going to be there, but he needs to be there because he is everywhere and so you can't get away from God and listen to you today listen to you in your apartment or in your condo or in your home. In the midst of your grief in the midst of your puzzle life.
You cried to God. God is listening. As a matter of fact, you can contact him and you can call him collect. He has free phone service some time ago I told you about a man who came to the church year and said you know I've been trying to reach God but is not answering his calls. You know why he wasn't using the right area code and I get the wrong area code and of course he doesn't. He was not using JES, you asked that's the right area code when he is at area code you can call collect. God listens. Secondly, God was controlling, or we might say directing God was directing. Notice what the text says I'm in verse three now for you cast me into the deep into the heart of the season. The floods surrounded me and your waves and you are billows passed over me will notice the number of things in the book of Jonah, that God controls God controls the wind. It says in chapter 1 verse four and the Lord hurled a great wind onto the sea, God spoke, and believe me it blue, and the waves were high and and then you have God controlling the dice. Some of you say will does God control the rotation of the dice dizzy control who wins the lottery well all that I can do is point to the text.
Always keep your finger on the text chapter 1 verse seven says and they said to one another, let us cast lots that we may know, on whose account is evil is come upon us, so they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
So God controlled the dice that the sailors were using, but also controlled the fish we learned last time that he appointed a fish to swallow Jonah God controlled the sailors as they made up their mind as to what to do to throw the cargo into the sea and what have you. So God doesn't have trouble with that later on were going to find out that God doesn't have trouble with a worm and a plant that grows up.
God is having some trouble with a man who will defy him in a way that the wind doesn't.
The dice don't and the fish does this man is going to say no to the will of God.
And even when he's there is.
God is trying to break him down, you'll still find out his will learn next time is a very reluctant learner. Could I be talking today to somebody who is just plain stubborn.
It's possible but let's hurry on to want to get to. So God was controlling today I'm speaking to some of you who because of your own bad decisions, sinful, disobedient decisions, just like Jonah's decisions you are today in a difficult spot but it's because of the trail you chose this is just the natural results of you taking the wrong path and insisting that you're going to take the wrong path and making one detour in your life after another.
I'm speaking to you today and you disabled can God help me welcome. Did God help Jonah in his distress and the answer is yes where ever you are today cry to the Lord and he will listen and he will control and direct and the reason that you can pray with confidence is because he is in charge and he can control any can direct that's one of the things that Job had to learn, didn't he wear that Job's trial come from God or the devil is a trick question. The answers both immediate cause is Satan ultimate cause God.
That's why Job prays and says the Lord gave the Lord takes away. How do people die immediate cause cancer, heart attack, all kinds of other creative ways that people died today. Ultimate cause God.
Blessed are those who can accept that, and therefore receive God's comfort and know that he does all things well. So Jonah's theology here is that is getting very very biblical. He understands that it's God who hurled the great wind upon the sea is God who cast them there and though the water belongs to God. It's your waves.
You are billows passed over me. It's if you're seaweed that is wrapped around my head will say later God is controlling God was answering here I pick it up at verse four. Then I said, I am driven away from your site. I need to pause there for a moment, is not exactly what Jonah wanted.
Chapter 1 he flees from the presence of the Lord and we learned last time what that meant he was fleeing from God. He was saying.
I'm resigning. I don't want you in my life.
I'm not gonna pray he didn't pray in chapter 1, because what I want to do is to put God on the shelf and then put a tag on the shelf that reads to be dealt with later. I'm doing my own thing like one woman said she got into a car and she squealed the tires and shouted out loud thought. I'll see you around town as she did her own thing until finally God.
God her God can get people now notice that he says I am cast away from your presence will Jonah you should be very happy about that. That's exactly what you wanted is to be driven away from your site. That's what my translations says remember English standard version. It says I am driven away from your site will Jonah aren't you happy there is no person in this world more miserable than someone who experiences the loss of God. The loss of God, no it's not.
It's not a cause for happiness. You may say well I'm going to do my own thing and I'm not going to relate to God. I'm not going to seek his direction. I'm not going to seek the counsel of godly people who can help me make decisions.
I'm not going to seek the word of God.
I know what I want to do and I will do it.
Some of you are on the verge of making a decision that could ultimately end up destroying literally the rest of your life as you may trip a series of dominoes and not know where those dominoes are going to end up. So here he is saying I he says was driven away from your site and now I'm discovering that that is a life of misery when he says I shall look again upon your temple in verse four. It's probably the Temple in Jerusalem. He goes on to describe what is going through the waters closed in over me to take my life. After all, there was a period of time when he was thrown into the water before the fish caught in the deep surrounded me weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of mountains.
I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me for ever. That's when the fish swallowed him.
It's as if now suddenly now suddenly he was in this confinement that he couldn't get out of and in his dilemma. He was crying to God, but I mentioned to you that God was answering there. It is in verse four yet you brought up my life from the pit, old Lord my God. God answers and then God was showing him that that even in the dilemma over which we have no control when we are finally brought to the and manipulation of self-will of self-reliance of dependence upon ourselves of determination that we are going to change a situation, and God kicks all those props out from under us, so that suddenly everything that we have been able to control no longer is under our thumb under our feet. It is then that God needs us and answers us and it is then God comes through so Jonah says that God was answering what else was God doing there. He was purifying two aspects to this purification. First of all, you'll notice he says in verse seven and following Willis look at that verse eight. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. Why does he throw that in there because his own will and his own desires. He recognized to be an idol and other things that we set up it says in the book of the easy kill that this people have set up idols in their own hearts are idol can be another person. It can be a vocation. It can be whatever we desire to do that can be our idol that says I want this, even above the will and the purposes of God. I want this more than I want the glory of Jesus. That's an idol will my friend. I do know about you but it's very convicting for me to recognize that idols can exist in our own heart.
Let me ask you a question. How are you dealing with the political buzz that is happening in our country at this time, all kinds of wrangling accusations people saying things that are oftentimes very extreme.
Where do we as Christians fit. I've written a book entitled Christians politics and the cross in this book, I argue that we cannot be co-opted by the right or the left. We must keep the main thing the main thing I think that you'll benefit from this book and for a gift of any amount. It can be yours. Christians politics and the cross. Here's what you do go to RTW offer.com that's RTW offer.com or call us at 1-888-218-9337.
Let me give you that phone number again 1-888-218-9337 Christians politics and the cross is time now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lukes or a question about the Bible or the Christian life Pastor Lukes are many people are antagonistic toward the Christian faith because they see Christians who don't live out what they preach. A listener wrote to us asking how to handle this dilemma. He says recently I had a conversation with a man that was very frustrating.
He began saying he had many issues with Christianity you went on for about three hours criticizing what we believe.
One issue was if Christians claim to love and obey the Lord, why don't they keep the 10 Commandments I tried to explain the Christians both forgiven are still not perfect, and we will always struggle against the sin nature. What else can I say to him, well you can say a couple of more things. Also, if he's the one who says that there are hypocrites in the church. What you need to do is to ask him whether or not there are hypocrites in the world and then point out that sometimes the difference is that the hypocrites are in the church instead of the world, but that really we are all to some extent flawed and so what we need to do is to help them to understand that the purpose of the church is not for these perfect saints. It's for sinners who are trying to make progress in their Christian life. And if we define it that way.
Most assuredly, I'm sure he can find a reason to come to church as well. But there's a different slant to your question because you said that he asked why Christians don't keep the 10 Commandments.
Maybe he meant something different. We have course, do not keep the Sabbath commandment the way in which it was commanded to be kept in the Old Testament. That's a separate issue. I don't think that that's what he was referring to, but to if it was, I suggested you go to your pastor. Go to your local Christian library or bookstore. There are many books that discuss that particular issue, but the bottom line is you are right. Christians are not perfect, they are forgiven, they struggle sometimes they do not have a good witness for Christ, but hopefully there on the right path. Encourage him to join you. Thank you Dr. lutes are if you'd like to hear your question answered. Go to our email@example.com and click on ask Pastor lutes or or call us at 1-888-218-9337 that's 1-888-218-9337 you can write to us at running to win 1635 N. LaSalle Boulevard Chicago, IL 60614 running to win is all about helping you understand God's roadmap for your race of life.
Have you ever been at the end of your rope.
Jonah was he found himself in the belly of the great fish God is amazing ways of getting us to say yes.
He arranges conditions so that we will choose to do his will. Next time, Sir continues his series on brokenness how God gives us to say yes will turn again to Jonah chapter 2 learning about the goals we set up to avoid obeying God for Dr. Erwin lutes are this is Dave McAllister running to win is sponsored by the Moody church