Our obedience is an expression of our worship of God and our recognition of His worthiness.
Previously in Jonah 1 we saw Jonah commanded to go preach to the Ninevites, Jonah without any hesitation runs away from His divine charge and gets on a boat to flee God and the Ninevites. While on the sea God causes a violent storm, the sailors pitch everything overboard, no answer. Then in desperation they all start praying to their respective gods, no answer. Then they figure out someone on board has angered their god and they identify Jonah as the culprit. At Jonah’s direction, but, after much hesitation, the sailors toss Jonah overboard to appease Jonah’s God. It works. The sea instantly calms and the sailors switch religions and start worshipping the God of Jonah. Chapter 1 left off with Jonah sinking like a limp worm and being swallowed up by a great big fish sent by God.
Chapter 2 is actually a Psalm of Thanksgiving, obviously Jonah wrote it after getting vomited up on a beach somewhere 3 days later.
There are two progressions in this book. First is the geographical progression: from Gath Hepher to Joppa to the sea to the fish and then to dry land. In chapter 3 the geographical progression continues from dry land to Main Street in Ninevah, then to a hill east of Ninevah where the book ends.
But the other progression is thematic. The story moves from rebellion (on the run) to indifference (at sea) to repentance (in the fish). Going forward it will be obedience (in Ninevah) to resentment (east of Ninevah).
Remember our outline: Jonah Running (ch 1), Jonah Drowning (ch2), Jonah Preaching (ch3), and Jonah Sulking (ch4).
We can divide chapter 2 into 3.5 points: 1) God Disciplines, 2) God Delivers, 3) God Devotion and 3.5) God’s Do-Overs
GOD’S DISCIPLINE (V1, 3-6)
Our attention is drawn first to the fact that God Disciplines. Notice how Jonah’s Psalm draws this out in verse 1, “….”, then in verses 3-6, “….”
God was disciplining Jonah for several reasons. For one thing, Jonah flat out disobeyed God. To talk about God’s disciplining us is to talk about our disobedience. God doesn’t just demand obedience and expects obedience, but, He deserves obedience. Dr. Ben Hammond in his book on the attributes of God says, “When I obey another person I make it obvious that I consider him greater than myself…” Do we consider God greater than ourselves? Do we show it by obeying Him when we don’t want to? When our ideas about what’s right and wrong are at odds with what God says do we lay aside our own ideas to follow God? Real obedience is not when my thoughts on right and wrong intersect harmoniously with God’s. That’s easy because God is not challenging my moral framework and calling me to do something that my views don’t constrict or compel me to. Real obedience is when God makes demands on my life that I don’t want to make on my life and I submit to those demands without trumping them with self-assertion. This is the essence of “deny yourself” that Jesus spoke of.
The opposite is true too: When I disobey someone I make it obvious that I consider him less than myself…” THerefore, our obedience is a way we communicate to God and the world around us that God is worthy and He is to be worshipped. Our obedience is an expression of our worship of God and our recognition of His worthiness.
Disobedience shows really that in our hearts – whether we say it our not with our mouths – we think we are equal with God as authorities over our lives. Our attitudes, actions and worldly standards will often play that out.
Another reason though that God disciplines Jonah, is not just that he was in disobedience, but, souls were at stake. Jonah wanted the people of Ninevah to perish forever, not just be wiped off the face of the earth. He did not want them to hear the message of God’s mercy and grace and so be saved. God however wanted them to. If Jonah didn’t preach to them they would be destroyed. So God was going to get Jonah to go preach to them.
Now someone might say that God could have gone and picked another more willing man to go preach. We briefly talked about that a couple weeks ago. But, the fact that God doesn’t do that, and, the fact that God doesn’t let Jonah go, and causes this whole episode to take place, shows God’s love and faithfulness. God is
God’s people throughout history know that God disciplines His people. David in Psalm 51; Nebuchadnezzar finally praised God after God made him act like an animal for 7 years; Moses was prohibited from entering the Promised Land because of his angry temper;
Application: God will discipline His children. Hebrews 12:5-7 and God will take us deeper and deeper in discipline to turn us around. This is God, not Satan. Jonah never credits Satan. He knows everything happening to him is by the hand of God. God is not to be trifled with. He is a fearsome God and it is terrifying to fall in the hands of the Living God. God loved Jonah, yes, but, we are badly mistaken when we think God has as little concern for our wayward ways as we have. He will chastise and discipline us when we choose the wrong path. But its because of love, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline” Jesus said (Rev. 3:19). Hebrews 12:6-7 says, “….turn and read ….” Jeremiah 31:18-20, “…”