God in Pursuit #2

Jonah 2:1-10

Last week we began looking at book of Jonah and we found Jonah in rebellion and God in pursuit. Again, I am thankful that God continues to pursue us even when we run away from Him. Remember what we said about rebellion last week.

When we left Jonah he had just been thrown overboard by the sailors in an attempt to quiet the storm and save their lives. Note v17

Consider some interesting thoughts on this verse. The sailors never dreamed that a person could survive the waters. They had prayed and asked God not to punish them for 'innocent blood'. They were convinced that they were sending Jonah to his death, but God wasn't finished with him. The great fish was 'prepared' by God to rescue Jonah from certain death. The Hebrew word for 'prepared' is also translated numbered, appointed, set, or told. This great fish was not there by accident or by coincidence! The Lord had him precisely where he needed to be in order to fulfill the purpose of God for Jonah. Why would God do such a thing? Because He loved Jonah…He would rather have Jonah swallowed by a fish than to live in rebellion. That is pretty amazing isn't it? God would rather have us anywhere, than to have us in rebellion! Think of it … God pursues us and will do some amazing things in order to get our attention. It may mean taking that which we think is most important to us. Our family, our finances, our health, or our ministry… why? God would rather have us anywhere, than to have us in rebellion toward Him. For Jonah it was in the midst of a storm, and then in the belly of the great fish. Where will it be for us?

In chapter one we saw Jonah running away from God, but in this chapter we see him running back to God. In chapter one we saw the great patience of God, but in this chapter we see the great pardon of God. In chapter one everyone but Jonah was praying, but in this chapter the only one praying is Jonah.

I. Where He Prayed. v1

II. Why He Prayed. v2

III. When He Prayed. v7-9

As a result of Jonah's long awaited confession and repentance, God instructed the fish to dump him out on dry land. Jonah was set free from the bondage of the fish; but he was not free to do as he chose…he was set free to serve and obey God. What if…?

Think tonight about this. What if God had not gone after Jonah? Where would he have been? He would have arrived in Tarshish with no job, no family, no friends, and no real purpose for his life. He would have probably gotten a lame job (like scraping barnacles off the ships) and lived his life in bitterness and rebellion toward God. If you could have talked with him what would he have said? Oh yeah, I used to be a prophet of God, but that was just a phase…now I am doing what I really want to do!

Folks there are plenty of Christians who have gone on to Tarshish …they have run from God and are still running. Jerry Qualls was called to preach when he was 18 years old; he finally stopped running when he was nearly 40. Ben Harrison ran off and joined the Navy. Are you running from God tonight? Are you in rebellion or in obedience?