The kids were on the edge of their seats for this one, so I think I’ll share these messages. I may upload the prepared text later this week as I know some who use this site are hearing impaired. Blessings to you all!
2/22 Here it is:
God told Jonah to get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it. Instead, Jonah tried to run away from God. He ran away to Joppa and found a ship that was going to Tarshish in the opposite direction of where God had told him to go. He paid them to take him to Tarshish and got in the boat and went down inside it. He wanted to run away from God – to run away from the presence of the Lord.
But you can’t run away from God can you? No, the Lord sent a big wind on the sea. He made an awful wind storm that was so bad that the ship was going to break into pieces. So the captain and his crew started praying to all of their gods because they were scared and then they threw out what they were carrying on the ship to lighten the load. Jonah meanwhile was sound asleep deep down inside the ship just as you will remember that later in the Bible we find Jesus and his disciples in a boat when a demonic storm came up and Jesus was fast asleep. Jonah was sleeping comfortably and the captain of the ship went down and woke him up and demanded that he pray to his god so that they might not all die in that storm. The captain didn’t know he was asking Jonah to pray to the very God Jonah was trying to run away from – the God of the land and the sea.
And the crew said to each other that they should cast lots to find out if someone on the boat was responsible for this evil storm threatening to destroy the ship and drown them all. And casting lots it pointed them all to Jonah. So now they started asking him questions. I would guess that when he paid his way it was no questions asked, he just said I will pay you well to take me far from here, but now they were asking questions – they wanted to know why this evil had been brought on them, what he did for a living, what country he came from, who were his people – they wanted to know the whole story – why were they all in danger of death from him so that they might know what to do about it.
And Jonah told them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” The crew and their captain were really afraid then because he had told them that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. Not knowing what to do and seeing that the sea was getting worse and not better, they asked the prophet Jonah, “What can we do to you that the sea would quiet down?” He told them to throw him into the water and the water would quiet down. But these Gentiles did not believe in human sacrifice and they were afraid that they would be held responsible for his death if they threw him into the water. So they rowed hard trying to get back to dry land, but the sea just got worse and they couldn’t do it.
So the crew and their captain cried out to Jonah’s God that He would not let them die because of Jonah and that He would not find them guilty of murder for throwing Jonah into the water and then they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea and the sea immediately became calm and still. If they were afraid before, now they were really in awe of the Lord and so they made a sacrifice to the Lord and made promises to Him. They held church right there.
And then the Lord sent a great fish to swallow Jonah and he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. Next week we will see what happens next. But from this part of the story we know Jonah and the captain and crew of that ship all discovered that you cannot run away from the Lord God. He isn’t just the God in Israel. He is the God who not only made the sea and the land, but who controls them. Let me tell you too that one day God sent the Lord Jesus Christ and He too told a sea to be quiet and it stilled, He angered the priests and the Pharisees who were ready to have His blood on their heads – unlike the captain and crew on that ship they were bloodthirsty, and His sacrifice on the cross saved us from drowning so that we can follow Him and worship God everywhere.