Today, Pastor Ed continued his summer sermon series in Jonah and Nahum by looking at Jonah 1:1-6.
We often ask, "Lord, are you there? Are you involved in this?" An important theme in the book of Jonah is this:
God is intimately and lovingly involved in our world (His world).
There are many times when it seems like God has gone radio silent. We also get inoculated to this truth. It's always worth looking at.
Jonah was a prophet some time between 800 and 740 BC. He was a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel, which wasn't great about following God. But they were in a period of ascendancy. This was about 30 or more years before Assyria took Israel into captivity.
Verse 2 - "Jonah ran away from the Lord" - would have been shocking. What Jonah was about was speaking the word of the Lord.
Tarshish, where he headed, was probably on the coast of Spain, the opposite direction from Nineveh.
In the storm, the pagans were all praying, but the prophet wasn't. He was asleep - may have been drained and depressed from contorting his life to avoid what God was saying.
God's prophet had to be implored by a pagan to pray.
God is intimately involved in our world.
God speaks to His people.
Jonah never doubted that God was speaking. God spoke throughout the Bible and still speaks today.
Ed gave personal examples where God spoke to him through Scripture, through thought bombs, and through strange urgings (example was an urging to pray for someone who turned out to have lost their job that day).
God still speaks today. Yes, the culture thinks we're crazy. (He said, "I barely believe it, and it's happened to me.")
The story of Jonah is powerful testimony that God speaks to His people.
We ask, "Why doesn't He always speak?"
That's a good question. It means you're taking God seriously.
If you're not yet hearing from Him, let Him know. That's what the Psalmist did, over and over. The Psalmist often says to God, "This would be a great time to show up!"
God moves in the circumstances around us.
Here Ed told the story of when Gateway providentially moved into Mercer Middle School before getting our building.
Was Jonah's story all a coincidence? Are the circumstances around us all coincidences?
God is lovingly involved in our world.
God loved the Ninevites, too. It has always been hard for God's people to understand God's love -- even for their enemies.
That's a big part of why Jesus came.
In conclusion, we talked about challenges to believing that God is intimately and lovingly involved in our world.
Circumstances get in the way - dreams dying, difficulties, diseases. Any circumstance when God seems silent makes it harder to believe. That is the challenge of faith.
But God extends His mercy to all.
We don't need answers; we need Jesus.