The Blinding Consequences of Disobeying God’s Mission

Rob Green April 10, 2016 Jonah 1:4-10

→ Click to view the Sermon Outline

4 ways that rebellion leads to callousness and destruction

I.  Rebellion leads to callousness toward our life circumstances

Jonah 1:4-5 - The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up…but Jonah had gone below into the hold, lain down and fallen sound asleep.

II. Rebellion leads to callousness toward the people around you

Jonah 1:5 - Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them.

A. Jonah does not help the sailors steer the ship

B. Jonah does not help lighten the load

C. Jonah allows them to call upon their false gods

Jonah 1:5 - Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god.

D. Jonah makes the crew go through the exercise of casting lots

Jonah 1:7 - Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lost so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.

III. Rebellion leads to ambivalence toward the Lord

A. Jonah knows that the storm is from God

B. Jonah hears the captain suggest it

C. Jonah knows the lot is going to fall on him

IV. Rebellion leads to callous toward our own spiritual condition

Jonah 1:9 - He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of Heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

Manuscript

Our annual theme this year is loving our world and Pastor Viars began this particular series on the Book of Jonah and we saw how Jonah had a God-given mission which he refused to obey, instead chose to rebel against the Lord. We acknowledge that that ministry assignment was a rather challenging one. Historically speaking the Assyrians known as a very brutal people. As Jonah was watching CNN he was just seeing the rise and power of the Assyrian nation and could see the handwriting on the wall. In fact, some 50 years after Jonah is dead, the reality is the Assyrians came and conquered all of Israel.

I would admit and I guess you would too that you would rather an easy assignment than a hard one. Is that true? Eighteen months ago I had the privilege of being asked to speak in the Dominican Republic. Had the chance to go there with my wife. About 100 feet from our hotel room was that view and then about 100 yards was that view. Isn't it fair to say that I really wasn’t suffering for Jesus very much. I'll tell you, if I got that call again I would be like, "Yes, Lord, yes. To your will and to your way." I say, "Yes, Lord, yes. I will trust you and obey." You'd be that way too, wouldn’t you?

When it comes to this assignment, "I want you to go to Nineveh. I want you to go to the Assyrians." Jonah really wasn’t all that excited about that. The reality is that would have been like going to Japan in 1946 or it ISIS today. We acknowledge, of course, that it would be a challenge to do that but Jonah refused to follow the Lord. When Jonah refused to follow the mission that God had given him, that set in motion a series of events. One of those events is a callousness in his own heart and then destruction all around him.

That’s one of the reasons why Jonah is a book of warning to you and to me. It's not one of those warm, fuzzy books like Philippians where everything is just wonderful. It's a call for us to evaluate our own hearts and our series is called a loveless prophet because Jonah clearly loved himself. He clearly loved the nation of Israel but everyone else, there's a big question on whether he loved them or not. The reality is that his lack of love leads to rebellion and his rebellion leads to destruction.

Friends, let's be honest. Before we go any further, I think this is a struggle that all of us have at least to varying degrees. I'm not assuming, of course, that every person who's going to be here or hears this message this morning is exactly like Jonah in every way, shape, or form but I think it is fair to say that there will be some individuals here today who are very much like Jonah and maybe nobody knows it except for them and those closest to them. The truth of the matter is that their spiritual life is just as in bad a shape as Jonah's and God is giving you a warning today.

I think it's also fair to say that many of us would say that maybe we aren’t exhibiting Jonah-like attributes in all areas of life but maybe there are a few areas in which that would be true, where we're willing to worship the lord on our terms and our conditions. We say, "Lord, I'll follow you in this way, in that way, and in that way over there but over here, that’s like off-limits. No, no, no. This over here is mine and you cannot have it." Friends, if that’s the case, the Lord is trying to help you see that that’s now how following Christ works. He wants you in every area to be turning it over to him and to trust him and to follow the mission and the calling with which he has called you. God wants to talk to you about that this morning.

I think it's true for all of us. Maybe we wouldn’t say that there's any area in which we're choosing to rebel against God. We are seeking to honor him. Maybe we wouldn’t say that we are like Jonah in every way but here's the reality:  Jonah-like behavior doesn’t start with the feet, it starts with the heart. In other words, it's not as if Jonah just decided to rebel at this moment. There was already things taking place in Jonah's heart prior to Jonah 1:1 that leads him to rebel in this fashion. Maybe we would say that we're heading in the right direction but maybe not with the same passion or enthusiasm that we once had. In fact, maybe I'm finding it a little bit convenient to organize my life apart from the Lord rather than having him in the midst of it.

I think there is a message here from Jonah for all of us and clearly Jonah if giving a warning to use to repent. Let's, with that in mind, turn our bibles to Jonah, chapter one. Jonah chapter one, that is on page 657 of the front section of the bible that’s in the chair in front of you. Jonah chapter one, page 657. The title of our message is understanding the blinding consequences of rebellion, understanding the blinding consequences of rebellion. Let's pick it up in Jonah 1:1.

The word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise. Go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry against it for their wickedness has come up before me" but Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the load. He went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea. There was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his God and they threw the cargo, which was in the ship, into the sea to lighten it for them.

Jonah had gone down below the hold of the ship, laying down and fallen sound asleep. The captain approached him and said, "How is it that you are sleeping. Get up. Call on you God. Perhaps your God will be concerned about us so that we will not perish." Every man said to his mate, Come, let us cast lots so that we may learn on who's account this calamity has struck us. They cast lots and the lot fell to Jonah. They said to him, "Tell us now, on who's account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? Where do you come from? Where is your country? From what people are you?" He said to them, "I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land."

In this particular passage

I would like us to consider four ways that rebellion leads to callousness and destruction. Callousness in our attitude and destruction all around us. Four ways that rebellion leads to it. We saw last week that Jonah refuses to follow the Lord and here's the first thing that happens.

I.  Rebellion leads to callousness toward our life circumstances

His rebellion leads to callousness toward our life circumstances. Notice in Jonah 1 beginning in verse 4:  The Lord hurled this great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. What is Jonah doing? Sleeping. He had gone down below into the hull, laying down and falling sound asleep. Jonah may have been trying to hide from the Lord. He was trying to escape. In fact, we saw twice in the first two versus, he is going away from the presence of the Lord.

Here Jonah is trying to hide from God but God is now allowing that.  Rather than to let Jonah remain in his sin, the Lord brings a store. Just so we are clear, there is a great wind and a great storm. This is not your run of the mill rain cloud. In fact, the ship is in danger of destruction. What does Jonah care? He doesn’t give a rip about that. After all, he's down under the deck sleeping, completely ambivalent and callous to the storm taking place.

Before we make this point practical, I think it's helpful for us to remember when we see the word ship, what are we talking about? In our modern day we might be thinking like that. We might be thinking that’s the ship that Jonah took. That was the one that was sailing to Tarshish or maybe we're thinking like that. That must have been it right there. That was the ship. Maybe we're thinking, no, no, no. It's got to be like one of those. Here's the reality. When you think about ships you can imagine stuff like that and think to yourself of course Jonah was down below the deck sleeping and probably had a nice king size Serta mattress and he hears the rain falling on the deck of the ship so it's this soothing nice white noise that’s allowing him to sleep so soundly.

In reality the ship was more like this. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t want to be on the Wabash on one of those in the midst of a great storm let alone the Mediterranean Sea. Here he is with no real concern at all for what is going to happen to this particular boat or one just like it while everybody else seems to be pretty concerned about that. Jonah fails to love the people of Nineveh. He gets on a ship to run away and therefore he has absolutely no regard, callousness for the events that are taking place around him.

The Lord had called him and calls us to a mission. To love the Lord with all our hearts. To do our best for him. To use our time well. To use our tongue to edify rather than to destroy. When you choose the path of rebellion, you stop caring about the destruction that is taking place all around you. You stop caring about your life. You stop caring about the things that the Lord has entrusted to you. That’s exactly what Jonah is doing. Does he really care about the storm? Of course not. He's asleep under the deck allowing all the events to just happen. In fact, whatever happens, happens. It's all good. Whatever. I'm fine with whatever happens as long as I don’t have to fulfill the mission.

Better yet, those in this spiritual condition blame the destruction in their lives on other things. It would be easy to say this is just Mother Nature pouring out her wrath today or this is the little tattle tale who told the police or the church about me or if she or if he or if they. See, friends, if there's a wake of destruction behind you, do not be blind or callous to it. It may be that you are the reason for the destruction.

One of the things we're going to see in this passage is that Jonah is the common denominator over all of this. It may be that the destruction that is taking place in your life is really all about you. In other words, God gave us the book of Jonah as an example to avoid. It's a wake-up call to repent of our rebellion and to turn our ship around and get it going in the right direction. Jonah's a wake-up call to love the Lord and pay attention to all of the things that are happening around us.

II. Rebellion leads to callousness toward the people around you

Rebellion not only leads to a callousness around our circumstances but it also leads to a callousness toward the people around us, a callousness toward the people around us. Jonah's ambivalence is not limited to his own circumstances or to the ship itself. He's callous to all the people who are suffering as a direct result of his rebellion. The bible tells us that the sailors were actually afraid. That’s an important clue to what is happening. God caused this storm to not just simply be the run of the mill storm but to be a real doozy because he wanted everyone scared. The sailors viewed this storm as life-threatening.

Sadly, Jonah did not care whether his life was destroyed. He didn’t care about the ship and whether it was destroyed. Even worse, he doesn’t care whether the sailors lose their lives either. Notice the sailors' response. They became afraid. Every man cried to his God and they threw the cargo which was into the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. You start unpacking this little section here and you begin to see things like Jonah doesn’t help the sailors steer the ship.

Do you remember the picture of the boats? The picture of the boat was just like one of these right here. It doesn’t have an engine. Did you notice that? It doesn’t have an engine. It only moves one of two ways, either the wind moves it on that sail or someone uses those oars. If you're in the middle of a storm … I'm not the greatest sailor in the world but I know this, that if you're going to sail in the midst of a storm, you'd better have that bough pointed in the direction of the waves because if you get that boat sideways into the waves, you're going in. That boat is going to capsize.

How do you keep it going? You can't use the sail. It's windy. You don’t want the whole mast to break. What do you have to do? You got to row it in. These waves are dangerous and if the ship gets caught sideways then the whole thing is going down. Jonah doesn’t care about that. The men are grabbing the oars trying to keep the boat steered into the waves so that it doesn’t capsize.

Oh yeah, what's Jonah doing? Sleeping. He's sleeping. He doesn't care. He doesn’t help. He doesn’t pitch in. He doesn’t get involved and "Hey, let me grab one of those oars. I know that rowing is exhausting in the wind. I know that it's exhausting in the waves." If you've ever done it before, it is kind of disconcerting when you try to put your oar in the water and there's no water because your boat just went five feet higher than the water. Here he is not helping at all.

What about this? He doesn’t help lighten the load either. Jonah doesn’t actually help lighten the load. Not only doesn’t he grab and oar, he actually doesn’t help with lightening the load either. The text told us that the men are not only busy rowing this thing into some sort of safe position but they are also lightening the ship in order to ensure that they would not drown.

Jonah doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about Ninevites. He doesn’t care about the sailors. In fact, he doesn’t even think about, you know what, if they throw all the cargo off the ship and they're not all the way to Tarshish, what are they going to eat tomorrow? It's not like you just stop off on a fast food restaurant on your way. If you throw all your provisions off, your journey is over. Does Jonah care about that? Not in the least. Jonah doesn’t give a rip about them. He's going to die anyway so what does he care?

Think about this one. Jonah allows them to call upon their false gods. Can I just ask you when the sailors are crying out to their own gods, what would be the right response of Jonah? You would think he would actually do something about that, wouldn’t you? How is this actually helpful? Jonah is fully aware. He is a prophet of the Lord after all. Idolatry is a disgrace to the God of heaven and earth. He understands that there is no other God besides Yahweh and here the sailors are completely wasting their breath crying out to a series of gods and Jonah offers no correction at all. He offers no hope. In fact, if they enter into an eternity away from God, Jonah didn’t care at all about that.

You see the level of his callousness. You see, that’s what rebellion does. When a person begins to rebel, they stop caring about the events of their own life and they stop caring about the lives of other people. In this case Jonah's perfectly content to stay asleep wining in his own self-pity that God has given him some horrible mission to go witness, to cry out against the city of his enemies. He is so wound up about that that he doesn’t care whether all of the sailors die in a Christ-less eternity.

Jonah also makes the crew go through the exercise of casting lots. He makes them go through the exercise of casting lots. See, in verse 7 we're told that each man said to his mate, "Come, let us cast lots so that we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us." This was the ancient way of figuring out God's will. Let's just cast lots and see who's lot it goes to. How many of you have seen the Jonah movie put out by Veggie Tales? Is that not hilarious. What happens right here? Does anybody know? It's a game of Go Fish. How creative is that. If you're never seen it, you've got to watch it. Here they are playing this game of Go Fish and Jonah knows, "Yeah, it's going to be me. It's going to be me but we're going to go through the exercise anyway. We're going to go through the game." You know the way Go Fish works is everybody gets eliminated and then it's finally down to two and somebody's got the last match and it's going to go down all the way to two just like casting lots did, all the way down to two. Which is it going to be? You or me? Jonah makes them go through this whole exercise even though he knows he's guilty.

Friends, can I encourage you that our rebellion does the exact same thing. A person who runs from the mission that God has given them is a self-centered user of other people. That’s what they become, a self-centered user of other people. It does not matter what pain or hurt or suffering is caused. A person living in rebellion against God is a person who seemingly has no end to their own selfishness and destruction is all around them.

I want you to think with me. Have you ever witnessed a woman who is living in rebellion leave her husband and children for them to make due on their own, for him to be the single dad who now has to pay the price for all of her rebellion? Think about this. Think about them having a little conversation as dad is putting the kids to bed and what dad says to the children is that Jesus loves you. They turn to him with all seriousness and they ask, "Well, daddy, if Jesus loves me then why did mommy leave us? If Jesus really loves me then why do we have the life that we have?"

Think about it the other way. Let's say it's the guy this time. He's decided that he just really doesn’t want to care for his family anymore. He has a few priorities of his own and he doesn’t really give a rip about the consequences that other people suffer. Therefore he goes off to do his own thing, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. Here's this single mom working to put food on the table. Children are in school all day. Mom comes home from work and she tries to communicate to her children that God is good all the time. "Honey, God is good all the time, all the time." The children with all seriousness say, "Mom, if God is good all the time then why did daddy beat me? If God is good all the time then why did God allow daddy to hurt you? If God is good all the time then why is it that daddy left us?"

How many of you have watched a child as they have grown decide that they are going to live for themselves and quite frankly they don’t really care who's going to get hurt in the process. Mom and dad are doing everything they can to try to help their child. The child steals from them, creates chaos, brings sorrow upon sorrow on those who love them and they don’t care. Surely God's word provides many answers to questions like the ones I've raised. That doesn’t change the reality that one person's rebellion results in a lack of care and an intense amount of suffering for those around them.

Friends if you are beginning to walk down that path they I want to encourage you, what the Lord is encouraging you to do is to repent of that. See Jonah. What he does is the more he rebels against God and the more that he wants to get away from God, the more destruction is left in his path, the more callousness he develops in his own heart not only to his own circumstances but also to the people around him.

If you're in rebellion and the Lord is convicting you then I want to encourage you to repent. If you say, "I really don’t know how to repent. I don’t know how to get from where I am to where I need to be." That’s one of the reasons why we have service pastors. It's not because there isn't anybody else who can give announcements. We have service pastors to ensure that our church never gets so big that the pastoral staff seems out of reach. Your service pastor will either counsel you himself or will find someone who will. We don’t want anybody living in rebellion. We don’t want anyone living in a state of rebellious position in their own heart and then don’t know what to do about that rebellion.

If destruction is all around your life and there's a callous spirit to those around you, that’s an indication that you're in rebellion against God. You're fleeing from the Lord and you're carving a path of suffering in your wake. If you're not in rebellion then I want to encourage you to do a couple of things. One of them is to thank your deacon the next time he calls you or send you an e-mail. To actually thank your deacon if he calls you or sends you an e-mail. Our deacons have a challenging job. They help the pastors do soul care. Sometimes soul care is easy and it's wonderful and then there are other times when it's not so easy and it's not so wonderful. The difference between those two is often the amount of rebellion that’s involved.

If you're in a good place, can I encourage you that the next time your deacon calls you, you just thank them for having somebody around you who cares about you. If you're in a bad place then can I encourage you to thank your deacon that he had the courage to call you anyway? Have you ever had one of those phone calls where you were calling somebody who didn’t want you to call them? Have you ever been in one of those spots? It's not a very warm and fuzzy place to be. If you're in that spot I want to encourage you to thank them and to respond to their words of encouragement and maybe even correction.

If you're in a point many group or ladies bible study, I want to encourage you to thank those who are leading that, who are encouraging all of you to be in a position where we settle accounts quickly rather than wait until rebellion and bitterness build and build and build with results of callousness toward other people. If you're not in a small group, whether it's an ABF or a point man or a ladies bible study, I want to encourage you to do that. One of the hardest jobs in soul care is actually speaking with the victims of those who have suffered in the wake of someone else's rebellion.

That’s Jonah's life. At this point his apathy and his callousness results in the suffering of other people.

III. Rebellion leads to ambivalence toward the Lord

We also see in this passage that rebellion leads to ambivalence and callousness toward the Lord. He's seen it so far. Jonah's callousness to his own circumstances. "Storm? Who cares? So What? Ships going to break apart, so what? I don’t care about that. Provisions tossed overboard, who cares? I don’t really give a rip. Then we saw his callousness toward the people. If you guys could figure it out on your own, that’s great. Go ahead. Row with your heart's content. I'm not going to get involved. You want to call out to your false gods, who cares about that? Go ahead, enjoy. Talk all you want. I'm not going to get involved. I'm not going to share any hope."

Then we see that his rebellion leads to callousness even toward the Lord. Not only was he running from the Lord but then the Lord basically says to him, "Jonah, Jonah. Jonah! Pay attention. This storm is directly from me." Jonah knows it. We didn’t read that but later on in Jonah chapter 1 he knows the storm is from God. In fact, he says, "I'm the one who follows the God who has made the sea and the dry land. I know the one who's in charge of the storm but I'm not listening. I'm not really paying attention." Even though that God has brought about this great storm, this great wind, this great storm in order to get their attention.

He has the sailor's attention. He has the captain's attention. He does not have Jonah's attention because Jonah does not care. He's not listening to the voice of the Lord. He also ears the captain even suggest that the storm is from God. The captain says in verse 6, "The captain approached him and said, 'How is it you're sleeping?'" Like, "Dude, how can you sleep now? Like seriously?" Then he says, "Get up. Call on your God. Get up and call on your God." At that moment you would think Jonah would say, "You know what, I was just rebuked by a pagan captain of this ship. It's time for me to get right with God right here, right now." Right? Wouldn’t you expect that? Here's this voice. God has sent the storm so he sent the circumstances, he sent the captain to go in and say, "Jonah, call on your God." Jonah's like, "Uh, no thanks. I'm not really interested. I'm in rebellion against the Lord right now so I don’t really care whether or not God is interested or not. I don’t want to fulfil God's mission and so therefore I'm not going to talk to him. I know what he wants and I don’t want that and so therefore, I'm not listening. I don’t care. You can come talk to me if you want. The storm can be here if it wants. That’s fine. I don’t care."

Then in the midst of casting lots, the game of Go Fish, Jonah knows the lot is going to fall on him. He could have saved them all the hassle. Friends, he says, "No. I'm not interested in that." God is trying to get Jonah's attention and he's using various means in order to do it. At some point while they were in the middle of casting lots you would think Jonah just could have said, "All right. Look guys. I know where this is going. This is going to me. The lots going to fall on me. I already know so we can just put the sticks away and we'll just go ahead and stop the game." But no because Jonah doesn’t care. He doesn’t give a rip about his own circumstances. He doesn’t give a rip about the people who are around him and he doesn’t care about the Lord either regardless of how hard the Lord attempts to get his attention.

If you're here this morning and this whole study has just been a little bit confusing, maybe one of the reasons for that is you don’t yet have a personal relationship with the Lord. It may be that God is pulling at your heartstrings right now. Maybe God's trying to get your attention. Maybe it's through the voice of a friend. Maybe it's through a challenging circumstance that's going on in your life right now. Maybe it's through this message and his word right here and right now. Can I encourage you not to shut out his voice? Maybe what God wants you to understand is that you are a sinner and your sin has separated you from a holy God. Therefore, he's saying, "Look, I want you to repent. I want you to see the significance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only hope of your salvation. I'm trying to get your attention." Yet to this point you haven’t been willing.

Can I encourage you to be willing today? Can I encourage you to see your sin the way God sees it. Can I encourage you to see your rebellion the way God sees it, to repent and ask for God's forgiveness and to trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ as your only hope of salvation? If that’s a decision that you think you need to make, you're just not sure about all this. Somebody will talk to you about that today. Talk to Trey, talk to me, talk to someone around here and we will have that conversation with you even today.

If you know the Lord, this passage is also a warning to us. It's a warning to you to not be like the loveless prophets, to not respond in rebellion to what God is trying to do in your heart and in your life. It's a call for you to repent and to change in the way God wants you to change.

Pastor Viars mentioned that our church is working on a lot of possible initiatives. We talked about one is the Latin Strategy [inaudible 00:34:25]. Here's the nutshell of it: Developing partnerships with churches across the Spanish speaking world who want to start counseling ministries and counseling training ministries so that every person regardless of whether they speak English or Spanish has training accessible to them in their own language in their own country. That’s going to require loving the Mexicans, loving the Dominicans, loving the Cubans, loving the Peruvians, loving the Chileans. It's going to require that. We're not really going to be able to be very successful at that if there's rebellion in our heart that is leaving destruction in our path.

I talked about the men's ministry with Greg and Erika Wetterland. In a nutshell, this is about having a program to help men understand how to live out the gospel in their lives. These men have already created a pathway of destruction in their wake. It's going to require loving those guys. One of the things I appreciated so much is when we went down to Wheeler Mission and visited that program down there. It was just amazing how much they loved the men who were in it. They took us to a place that they call Memorial Hill. It was the location of a little memory spot for all those who came to the mission and didn’t accept the teaching of the word, remained in rebellion against God, and died of a drug overdose. There was a tree actually dedicated to a person that many of you would even know who went down there and did not head the word of the Lord, continued to live in rebellion and die of a drug overdose.

It's going to require that kid of love in order to accomplish that. The international ministry with Aaron and Teresa Burke. If you've been attending church family night for the last year and a half you've seen over and over and over again an international student who has come to Christ and is now being baptized and that’s going to require that we get the rebellion out of our hearts. If we're going to do these ministries well and with excellence then the rebellion against the Lord and his mission have to be out of our lives.

IV. Rebellion leads to callous toward our own spiritual condition

We also see one more piece here. Rebellion leads to callousness toward our own spiritual condition, toward our own spiritual condition. As Jonah was confronted and finally the lot falls on Jonah and so he now has nowhere that he can hide. He says this, "I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." If you're reading your bible, you're just like going through and you get to verse 9, here's the response you should have:  "Seriously? Are you kidding me? You must be joking?" Jonah is in this place where the storm has been raging. He's seen men fight against the storm. He's witnessed them calling to their nonexistent God. He's played this game of Go Fish all the way to the end and now he's going to give lip service to the Lord. Seriously? Isn't that incredible? After all of the things that have happened he now is going to say, "I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land." You just wonder whether or not one of the sailors just felt like knocking him out right there. Seriously? You've got to be kidding me.

That is exactly the kind of callousness that Jonah has and that we want to avoid because we now see that Jonah's callousness extends even to his own spiritual condition. He is so callous now that he can reject the voice of God through the storm, the life circumstances. He can reject the voice of God from the people who are around him who are suffering and who are even saying to him, "Hey Jonah, call on your God. Maybe your God will rescue us." He's like, "No. I'm not worried about that. Forget that. I'm just going to hang out here, okay?" He doesn’t care about that and he doesn’t care about the Lord. Now he says, "I don’t even care about my own spiritual condition." I can reject all of God's voice in my life and at the end when someone asks me to put it down on a test like who are you anyway? Actually I'm a Hebrew and I fear the Lord God who made all this stuff including this storm.

It's a reminder of just how far Jonah has gone and the callousness that’s found in his own heart. Jonah's blind and he's callous to everyone so why not his own spiritual condition. Friends, we're nine versus into this book and we find that Jonah refuses to accept the mission God has given him. In the process he tries to run from the presence of the Lord leaving a pathway of destruction in his wake. By the time that he's actually on the ship, he is so callous to his circumstances, callous to the people impacted by his rebellion, callous to the Lord, and now he's callous to his own spiritual condition.

May the Lord help us not be in a similar situation. Let's be people who when we sense, get that first inkling of rebellion in our heart, that we're quick to repent, we're quick to change, and we're quick to make it right. Let's not wait all the way to the end of this. Let's not wait until we have people calling out to us, "Hey, didn’t you hear? The Lord's trying to get your attention." Do it now. Do it now.

I want to encourage you over the next week to read Jonah at least three times and then be ready for next Sunday. In many ways today was like the downer sermon. Next week is going to be the joyful one as we see a God who works even in the midst of people's rebellion.

Let's pray. Father, we see that your word is in sometimes given to us as just a source of encouragement and we leave so excited and happy and thrilled and then there are other times when your word serves as a warning, a call to repentance. A call to make things right. A call to listen and, Lord, I pray that you would help each one of us. To whatever degree that we are rebelling against you and the mission that you have given us, would you please help us to repent? Would you help us to see that you are trying to get our attention through various means and ways? Now Lord, would you help us to respond to that attention. Lord, help us not to be like Jonah who became callous not only to his own life but to the lives of other people. Help us not to be in a place where we're deluded to the place where we believe that we are spiritual when in reality we are rejecting you. Lord, we understand that that’s what it's going to take. It's going to take that willingness to repent if we're going to fulfill everything that you have given to us.

Rob Green

B.S. - Engineering Physics, Ohio State University
M.Div. - Baptist Bible Seminary
Ph.D. - New Testament, Baptist Bible Seminary

Pastor Rob Green and his wife, Stephanie, joined the Faith staff in August, 2005.  Rob’s responsibilities include oversight of the Faith Biblical Counseling Ministry and teaching New Testament at the Faith Bible Seminary. He serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition and as a fellow at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors.

Read Rob Green's Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Green to Faith Church.