How cool would it be to receive a text message from the Lord? But what if you didn’t like what the text said? This is exactly what happened to the prophet Jonah. We’re talking about attitude this week and how Pastor Chuck’s Swindoll says that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you and I react to it. This is a powerful truth, and if you and I can get ahold of it, I believe our daily lives would change. I believe generations behind us would change if we could just look at our attitude and say, Jesus, take the wheel. Today we’re reading about Jonah – Let’s “dive” in!
How cool would it be to receive a text message from the Lord? But what if you didn’t like what the text said? This is exactly what happened to the prophet Jonah. Welcome to the Bible for Busy People. My name is Erica. We’re talking about attitude this week and how Pastor Chuck’s Swindoll says that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you and I react to it. This is a powerful truth, and if you and I can get ahold of it, I believe our daily lives would change. I believe generations behind us would change if we could just look at our attitude and say, Jesus, take the wheel. You know what I mean? Join me. Today, we’re going to be diving in. See what I did there? To Jonah chapter one, beginning in verse one,
The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.”3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.
All right, we’re going to pause here for a moment. In the middle of Jonah’s predicament. I want to read you something from Psalm 139, and I really hope that this comforts you today. At the moment. For Jonah, this would’ve provided no comfort but for us, I really think it will. Psalm 1 39, verse seven,
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! 8 If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave,[a] you are there. 9 If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, 10 even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. 11 I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night—12 but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you.
Wow, that is just so comforting to me. I don’t know about you to Jonah though, who is escaping the Lord. He’s saying, I do not want to go on this mission. Hoo! He’s going to learn in a mighty way how you can’t escape from the presence of the Lord. Okay, verse four, now in Jonah chapter one,
But the Lord hurled a powerful wind over the sea, causing a violent storm that threatened to break the ship apart. 5 Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship.But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. 6 So the captain went down after him. “How can you sleep at a time like this?” he shouted. “Get up and pray to your god! Maybe he will pay attention to us and spare our lives.”7 Then the crew cast lots to see which of them had offended the gods and caused the terrible storm. When they did this, the lots identified Jonah as the culprit. 8 “Why has this awful storm come down on us?” they demanded. “Who are you? What is your line of work? What country are you from? What is your nationality?”9 Jonah answered, “I am a Hebrew, and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”10 The sailors were terrified when they heard this, for he had already told them he was running away from the Lord. “Oh, why did you do it?” they groaned. 11 And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, “What should we do to you to stop this storm?”12 “Throw me into the sea,” Jonah said, “and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.”13 Instead, the sailors rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, Jonah’s God. “O Lord,” they pleaded, “don’t make us die for this man’s sin. And don’t hold us responsible for his death. O Lord, you have sent this storm upon him for your own good reasons.”15 Then the sailors picked Jonah up and threw him into the raging sea, and the storm stopped at once! 16 The sailors were awestruck by the Lord’s great power, and they offered him a sacrifice and vowed to serve him.17 [a]Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
Yeah, I imagine the only thing that smelled worse than being inside the belly of a whale was Jonah’s attitude. He’s ready now for his first adjustment. Join me in Jonah chapter two. Yes. I said, first we often need more than one attitude adjustment, don’t we?
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. 2 He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! 3 You threw me into the ocean depths, and I sank down to the heart of the sea. The mighty waters engulfed me; I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves. 4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence. Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’5 “I sank beneath the waves, and the waters closed over me. Seaweed wrapped itself around my head. 6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains. I was imprisoned in the earth, whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, snatched me from the jaws of death! 7 As my life was slipping away, I remembered the Lord. And my earnest prayer went out to you in your holy Temple. 8 Those who worship false gods turn their backs on all God’s mercies. 9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
Do you see how Jonah’s attitude changed? He knew that he was dying when he was thrown into the water. He didn’t yet know that the Lord had arranged for a whale to swallow him up in his great mercy. The Lord gave Jonah another chance. Verse 10 now.
Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
Listen, whatever circumstances you find yourself in, whatever the belly of the whale you are in right now looks like God can adjust your attitude. You don’t have to hang your head. You can look up. The same Lord who is merciful to Jonah, is merciful to me and merciful to you. All right, until next time when Jonah receives his second attitude adjustment, can you relate? I sure can. Remember, you are loved.
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