2020-03-22

Pastor Jonathan Falwell

Key verse: Jonah 2:9 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.

These are interesting days. Days of uncertainty, fear and isolation. Today I want to spend a little time talking about the man who faced the most difficult quarantine in the history of mankind. If you think you feel isolated, this guy had it far worse.

The story of Jonah is one that is extremely relevant for us today.

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord had arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was inside the fish for three days and three nights.

T. Kendall says it well: “The belly of the fish is not a happy place to live, but it is a good place to learn.”

Jonah 2:1-10 Then Jonah prayed to the Lordhis 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.” 10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

1. Crying out to God is more important than crying about our circumstances

Vs 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!

  • Fear and self-pity will never provide the help we need
  • Focusing on the surroundings rather than God will leave us fearful, empty and without hope
  • No matter how isolated you may feel, God is never far away. He is always listening, responding and acting.

2. Focusing on His promises is more important than focusing on our problems

Vss 3-4 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.’

  • Jonah knew that trusting God in this moment was His only hope

3. Worshipping our Master is more important that worrying about our mess

Vss 5-7 “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.

  • Worship in the midst of our worst days is more meaningful than worship in the midst of our best days
  • Jonah remembered the Lord when common sense would have told him, “You’re Done!”

4. Our crisis is never greater than our God

Vs 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.”

  • No matter what you’re going through, our salvation comes from Him ALONE!
  • No matter how bad it is, it’s not too much for Him to handle
    • Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me?”

VS 10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.

Today is full of uncertainty and the opportunity for fear. Never forget, the same God who commanded a great fish to swallow a man whole, and then to spit him out again three days later unharmed, is the same God who has you in His grip!

Amos, Obadiah, Jonah(Vol. 19B, p. 241). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

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