On Sunday, Pastor Ed Allen continued his series in Jonah and Nahum with a message about Obedience from Jonah 1. But before the sermon, Bill Russell told a striking story about when he felt a strong urging to speak to a stranger - and it ended up being God's perfect timing. Then another striking instance happened a year later.
The Key Truth from Jonah 1 has a front end and a back end:
Our God Is Sovereign.
See Psalm 24:1-2; Psalm 135:6; Job 42:2; Ephesians 1:11; Matthew 26:19
We Must Obey.
In Matthew 7:13-14, we're told to enter through the narrow gate. That's not talking about believing the right thing, but about taking the way of obedience.
Obedience is for our best.
Jonah disobeyed as hard as he could. His disobedience got him and a whole boatload of bystanders into deep trouble.
Obedience is a stinking big deal.
Lives have been ruined by disobedience.
You cannot enjoy the benefits of a relationship with God unless you're actively obeying Him.
Daily we make choices that have far-reaching consequences to ourselves and others.
Jonah used what he wanted to decide his action.
Yet he knew it was disobedience. He knew what God wanted.
Disobedience always involves some level of kidding ourselves.
God surrounded Jonah with undeniable circumstances. The sailors asked Jonah why he would disobey such a powerful God. Not a God to be trifled with.
Jonah wasn't surrendering to God. He chose death, or so he thought. Jonah was quitting, refusing to choose.
Almost all of us know the searing pain of disappointment in our lives. Sometimes we choose big or little disobedience.
Stepping outside of God's will puts you outside the fortress of His protection and out of the best direction for you.
Our desires and our culture tell us that God's will for us should be easier and more convenient, so we choose a different destination.
Examine the story our culture is telling us. We know from evidence that our culture's ideas do not work.
We then spent some time in prayer affirming the truth:
God is Sovereign. We Obey.