Are you tired of your life, your job, and even some of your relationships? And right now you just want to shift gears.
I mean, make a really big change, but don't know how to do it or where to go. Well, if that's you, stay around. Help is on the way. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram. The mission of these daily programs is to intentionally disciple Christians through the Bible teaching of Chip Ingram. I'm Dave Cruey, and today we begin a brand new series called You Were Made for More, Facing the Jonah in All of Us, taught by Chip and his son Ryan. For the next several programs, they'll co-teach through the book of Jonah and unpack for us the important lessons we can learn from this familiar Bible story. But before we begin, let me encourage you to try using our message notes throughout this series. They contain a brief outline of each message, scripture references, and much more. They'll really help you remember what you hear and maybe even share what you're learning. To download these message notes, go to the broadcasts tab at livingontheedge.org. App listeners, tap fill in notes.
Well, if you have a Bible handy, turn now to Jonah chapter one as Ryan Ingram kicks off this series with his message, Running from God. When I was 16, I was driving our family car. It was a four-door Subaru. Not real cool, but got you from point A to point B.
Not real fast either, which is a great thing for a 16-year-old driving. My older brother who was in college at the time, he had what I thought was a much cooler car. It was a Nissan Datsun.
Yeah, it was the year that they kind of merged. It was 1981, like fire orange hatchback. This thing, you'd open the door and it'd talk to you. It thought that was amazing. Then it had this digital dash. I was like, man, this is the coolest car. It's probably cool just because my older brother drove it, to be honest, and I wanted to be like him. There was this moment where he was in school in Arizona, and I was up here, but that car, though it was cool, it didn't have air conditioning, so it wasn't really all that cool inside. He said, hey, why don't we switch cars? Because the Subaru had AC. I said, fantastic.
I thought this was one of the coolest things. I remember the day. He was home from break. He had driven the car up, and we're switching cars. Now, the only problem is the Subaru was an automatic, and the Nissan Datsun was a manual, a stick shift. I'd never driven a stick before. This is the interaction that we had, and this is the way brothers do it, by the way, is we're out there. I hand him the keys, and I'm like, oh, hey, man, I don't know how to drive a stick, and he literally tosses me the keys.
I catch them, and he says, it's easy. You just put your foot on the clutch down. For those who don't know, a stick, there's three pedals and not just two. You put your foot on the clutch in, put it into gear, and then you just kind of go opposite, like this.
You're good. That was the extent of the training that I had in how to drive a stick shift. Now, today, if you have something that's a, you know, today, you just have little buttons, right? But back then, you had three pedals. You had, you know, a gearbox and a stick shift and all these sort of things, and so here I am spending months trying to learn how to drive a stick shift, and this is how it went for me.
I remember getting it into gear finally, getting it going, and then all of a sudden, you know, I try to get it out of, you know, into first and moving, and it would go, and it would completely shut down. Now, how embarrassing is that? As a 16-year-old, these were the days, obviously, then you could drive your friends around, and they stopped that for good reason as well, but I'm in the car with my friends, we're at the stoplight, and trying to go and go, and I mean, completely stall out, cars honking behind you, frustrated, and then, like, when you do shift, you ever done this before, those who've driven? How many, by the way, how many have driven a stick shift? Fantastic.
How many have an idea of even what I'm talking about? Okay, all right. And if you don't get the clutch all the way in, you do something called grinding the gears, and you get it, and it's like, and you're just, like, ruining the gears there, and so, I mean, I spent months trying to figure this out, broken, you know, stalled out, I finally realized the way that I could get out of first, especially with friends in the car, was to gun it, and so that's what I did, and I, you know, I'd get at the stoplight, and I'd just, like, gun the gas and peel out at every stop sign, every stoplight, and at 16, you can kind of act like you did that on purpose, you know, and I'm, like, yeah, look at this car. The reality is I couldn't do anything else.
That was, had no other option. Now, here's the reality. Here's the reality is often here's how we feel in life is, like, we just got thrown the keys to life, and there's no instruction manual, there's no way, like, hey, you go figure it out, and we're, like, trying to shift through life and figure things, and you kind of have it, and you're, like, and some of you feel stalled out in life, don't you? Or maybe you're making some different shifts and there's decisions, and you just feel like you're grinding the gears of life where you're just stuck in one gear, but you have to go faster and faster, and you just can't change it, or you're just, like, going, like, okay, the only way I know to do this is to gun it. And we live in this space of trying to navigate life, and here's what I know to be true inside of all of us, that there's this deep sense in our soul that knows and understands there's more to life than what we're currently experiencing.
And the busyness, it can tend to crowd it out, can it? And yet there is still that whisper of the soul that says there's more, you have purpose and meaning, that your life matters. How do you shift? How do we shift to the more we're made for?
How do we stop grinding gears and maybe stalled out in life? Here's the wonderful reality is that God didn't just toss us the keys and said, figure it out in life. He, in fact, went to great detail in his word to say, I actually want to help you and coach you and come alongside. I want the very best. I want to help you live into all that I created you to be. And so I'm not just going to talk, hey, good luck.
No, no, no. I'm going to teach you and show you and help guide you. I want to actually first kind of help give you a background to the entire book of Jonah since we're spending so much time in it.
And so if you got your notes, open them up. Let me give you just a backdrop to this book. First, Jonah is the fifth of the book of 12 or the minor prophets. And here's in the, if you got your Bible in the Old Testament or the Hebrew Scriptures, you flip to the end of the Old Testament, what you find is these books of prophecy. You have Isaiah and Jeremiah, they're major prophets and they're called major prophets just because they wrote long books, if you will.
And then there's minor prophets and they're called minor because they're just shorter. And in fact, it was all condensed in one book. It's called the book of 12.
And so you would have one scroll that had all 12 of these books. And that was, Jonah is the fifth of that book. And it's unique among the prophetic books as it's primarily narrative. It's telling the story of Jonah and his call to prophesy to this city of Nineveh.
Now let's talk about who is this Jonah character. He's Jonah the prophet. When you think of a prophet, a lot of times we think about foretelling the future and certainly that was some of the work that prophets did. But primarily what a prophet did was they proclaimed forth the word of God. They would proclaim forth the very words of God to the people of God in general to call them back to the heart of God and the ways of God.
That is what a prophet did. And Jonah, his name was Dov, literally son of Amittai. He was from Gathhefer and Galilee.
Just note that it's real close to Nazareth. So he lived in the region later on where Jesus grew up as well. He prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II, who was a wicked and evil king. And we see some of his story in 2 Kings 14 where, you know, this is where we get a picture of Jonah and like, hey, maybe there's some interesting parts about Jonah we want to keep our eye on, is he prophesied to this evil, wicked king in Israel that the borders were going to be extended and they were, but he had no problem with that and even calling Israel to repentance through that.
He's like very happy, hey, our borders are being extended and it gave him a great life because he's giving this good news. Well later on, a contemporary of his, Amos, said, yes, the borders are going to be extended, but because of your wickedness, because of the way you've treated people, because of the way you've been unjust to others, they're not going to last and it's going to actually come back upon you. And so Amos and Hosea were contemporaries of the prophet and God specifically what we'll be looking at is Jonah's call to preach to Israel's archenemy the Syrians.
We'll talk about them in just a second. Now something unique about Jonah is how Jesus identified with Jonah. Now Jesus quoted and spoke of four different prophets from these books in his earthly ministry, but there's only one prophet that he identified with and that was Jonah. And what he did is he identified himself with Jonah's three day sojourn in the belly of this great fish as a foreshadowing of his own death, burial, and resurrection. And let's be honest, as we start this conversation, isn't it part of the hang up of Jonah and the well or Jonah and the fish is Jonah and the fish?
You're like, come on, could that really happen? In fact, some people are like, yeah, it's probably just, you know, an allegory or, you know, a made up story with a point to just try to make this really good, meaningful point. Now there's been several occasions where people actually have been swallowed by fish and survived.
That's a whole nother story for another day. But here's what's fascinating. We're a group of people who gather around a resurrected savior who died, predicted his death, was buried, and then rose again from the grave. Okay, so if Jesus rose from the grave, it's not too big or too big of a jump to think that Jonah could survive a couple days in a well by God's grace in that area. And then the other side of it, just for me, and when I read this book, is if Jesus took this as historical, I'm going to take Jesus' word on it.
That's just my thing. I'm like, if you predicted your own death, burial, and resurrection, and then actually did it, I'm going to be pretty confident on whatever you said and go with what you said on that. So this is who Jonah is. Well, who are the Assyrians or the city of Nineveh who he's called to preach against? Well, Nineveh was the capital city of Assyria. The Assyrian Empire is an ancient superpower located on the east bank of the Tigris River, modern day Iraq, about 550 miles east of Jerusalem. Now think about this.
Imagine this. It had 100-foot high walls, 50 feet thick. And when we think about that thickness, there were also homes and different things built in the city walls, so it wasn't just like straight stone 50 feet thick. This is an immense, huge, massive city in the ancient day. And unfortunately, the Assyrians were renowned, well-known for their cruelty and brutality. In fact, one historian says it this way, it is as gory and a blood-curdling a history as we know. Like the things that you watch, and I feel like today and whatever kind of TV show, I feel like things have gotten especially gory and especially brutal, and this makes it look PG. In fact, let me just read just a little bit, because this is going to set the context for the entire book. One historian writes this, records brag of live, oh, sorry, this is going to be gruesome.
I just want to give you a warning. Records brag of live dismemberment, often leaving one hand attached so they could shake it before the person died. They made parades of heads requiring friends of the deceased to carry them elevated on poles. They boasted of their practice of stretching live prisoners with ropes so they could be skinned alive. The human skins were then displayed on city walls and on poles. They commissioned pictures of their post-battle tortures where piles of heads, hands and feet, and heads impaled on poles, eight heads to a stake were displayed. They would burn young ones alive.
This was their common practice, and they boasted, their kings wrote, boasting about this. Those who survived the sack of their city were tied in long lines of enslavement and deported to the Assyrian cities to labor on building projects. Tens of thousands and hundreds of cities suffered this fate over the 250 years of the Assyrian reign of terror. This is the city Jonah was called to preach to. And what we do know is about 50 years later after Jonah, Assyria then does conquer the northern kingdom, and they suffer this fate. Now, what is the purpose of Jonah for us? Well, one is it reveals an incredible theme that's woven from the very beginning of scriptures all the way to the end, and it reveals God's expansive love and mercy for every single person on the planet, especially those we feel do not deserve mercy. And then when we see Jonah and his life and his response as the reluctant, as the rebellious, as the anti-hero prophet, it so often acts as a mirror for our lives.
As we see it in the Word and we get to see ourselves and how we respond, and it's a clarion call for us to shift our lives onto God's purpose for this planet. So that's the history, that's the foundation, that's the background of the book of Jonah. Are you ready to dive in?
How do we shift to the more you are made for? If you've got your Bibles, would you open up to Jonah chapter one? We'll dive in and begin. Jonah chapter one begins this way.
The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai. Like God came up and said, I'm speaking to you. I have a call for you.
I have something to say. And I think we get excited about that. In fact, I was talking with my small group the other night and they were saying, you know, we so want God to like reveal his will like in just such clarity.
Wouldn't it be great? But then this is what God says to Jonah. Go to the great city of Nineveh. I'm sorry, come again. We just talked about what that city is. Go to that city, the arch enemies of Israel, Assyria, which borders the northern border of Israel, the ones who are constantly encroaching on our territory. You want me to go there?
Are you kidding me? And then preach against it or literally the text in Hebrew is just proclaim. It's just speak forth. It's just utter this because it's wickedness has come up before me. And Jonah's going like, no kidding. Are you?
Yeah, thank you. About time God, you caught up with where we're at on this. This is the call of God on Jonah, the prophet. And I think he responds exactly the way we respond. When we, when we experience God's clarity or God's word in an area that we particularly disagree with or dislike and don't want to do says, but generally never good, by the way, is the butts in scripture.
Some of them are very good, but this one is not. But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. Tarshish is like exactly opposite. If Assyria and Nineveh is Northeast, Tarshish is Southwest.
We don't really know exact identity, but somewhere in Spain across the sea. And he's gone as far away as he possibly can. He has for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa where he found a ship bound for that port. And after paying the ferry, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. He's like, God's got a call in his life. He shows up, but he doesn't like the calling. He doesn't like the direction. He disagrees with God's direction in his life to go to a people that he hates and that hate him.
And so what does he do? He runs the opposite direction and says, well, I don't want to do that. And so I'm not going to do that. In fact, I'm going to get as far away from there so that you can't make me do that.
That didn't work out. Now, I want to say something that's so obvious, but we have to say it. Something that we, I think intuitively we know this, but we don't really live this. When we run from God, we shift away from the more we're made for.
When you run from God, it's shifting that gear and it's shifting to a direction from the more you're made for. When you say, you know, I don't like that assignment. I don't like that call. I don't like that direction. I don't like the way you're telling me to do relationships. I don't like the way you're telling me to go about my finances. I don't like the way you're calling me to engage and be at my workplace. When we shift away from God, here's what happens.
We are shifting from the more you're made for. And you know this, you get this. Because if God made you, designed you, created you, and my men's morning group, we're talking about this in Ephesians 2, where it says that you are God's workmanship.
In the Greek there's coema. You're his masterpiece, his poem, designed with intention, created in Christ Jesus to do good works. Like he has just some incredible things for your life. And the calling isn't always what you want. The calling isn't always the way you think it should have been.
The calling isn't like, man, oh, I'm just going to live my best self. He's like, no, I'm calling you the Nineveh. No. Good.
I don't want that one. See, any time we run from God, we're shifting away from the more we're made for. You know, in the text it said that he went down to Joppa.
You remember that. And then something that didn't get translated, maybe some of your translation has this, when it says it went aboard the ship, you know what the Hebrew word that is? Down. And then in verse five, again, do you know it says that he went down into the ship. And the reason in the English they don't translate is because it's kind of awkward.
You don't go down and down. But here's what the author and the writers trying to help us to say, is that when you run away from God or when you shift from God, when you say that, it's not neutral. And I think that's what some of us think is like, no, I'm just in neutral. It's not a big deal.
I'm just gonna coast, and it's not a big deal. And it might seem like you know best in that season, best in that relationship, best. How do we run from God? I think it's in the areas where his will doesn't make sense. I think it's honestly, most of the time, don't we have a better plan than God's? I know you like created the universe and all that stuff, and it seemed like you had some pretty good Old Testament plans, but I got a pretty good plan for my life. This is Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram, and you've been listening to the first part of our guest teacher, Ryan Ingram's message, Running from God, from our series, You Were Made for More, Facing the Jonah in All of Us.
Chip and Ryan will join us shortly to share some additional thoughts to what we've heard. Have you ever thought you could or should be doing more with your life, but because of past mistakes or current circumstances, you feel unworthy or unmotivated to make a difference? Well, if you've wrestled with that, this series is for you. As Chip and guest speaker Ryan Ingram teach through the book of Jonah, they'll reveal we were all made for more.
Discover how to shift your ambitions, relationships, and life to the greater purpose God has for you. To learn more about this series, go to livingontheedge.org, the Chip Ingram app, or call 888-333-6003. Well, Chip's with me in studio now, and Chip, I'm really looking forward to this new series from you and your son Ryan. Why did you guys team up to preach on Jonah, and what are you hoping our listeners will learn from this familiar story? Well, thanks, Dave.
Absolutely. I can tell you exactly why I was excited about teaching this and teaming up with my son. You know, when you have a relationship with one of your adult kids and they ask you to do something, it's one of the most special things ever to get to do it. My son's a real student of the Scriptures, and we were out hanging out together and talking. He was studying Jonah, and we were talking about it. I had just recently read a book on Jonah. I hadn't really studied it in depth, but it's by Dr. Mark Yarbrough, the president of Dallas Seminary. I remember getting it in the mail and seeing the cover of the book, because I know Mark. I thought, you know, it's a little strange.
You know, the president of the seminary? I mean, really, a book of Jonah? Because in my mind, it was like the story about the great fish and Jonah and swallowed and all that stuff. Then I read his book, and the insights were just so penetrating. It was like, wow, this is a book for today. There's so much Jonah in all of us, and we're living in a net of a world.
It was like, wow, I got excited. We started meeting together and starting to do the exegesis of the book and dividing who would do which parts. I just have to tell you, Dave, it was a blast studying it together, team teaching it together, and then God really speaking to me. I think we're in a time where we need to make a major shift, or the way my son says it, are we experiencing the more that we're made for? And to do that, we need to make a major shift.
Jonah had some big shifts in his life as God sovereignly worked in him and then through him. I think that's what we need, and that's why I'm excited about the Living on the Edge family hearing this teaching. Thanks, Chip. Well, I hope this setup motivates you to join us for every part of this new series.
If you do happen to miss a program, you can catch up anytime through the Chip Ingram app. Well, here again is Chip. Thanks, Dave. Well, I'm joined by our co-teacher for the series, my son Ryan. First of all, Ryan, thanks for allowing me to teach at Awakening where you're the pastor.
I really enjoyed it, and I got to say I really learned a lot. Today you gave us a good backdrop to Jonah's story, including God's call on his life. Why was it so hard for Jonah to follow God's calling? And maybe just as important, what are some ways we as 21st century Christians struggle with that today? Absolutely, Dad. And what a joy it was for me to get to teach with you on this series.
And I want to thank you for partnering with me and serving our community awakening in this series. You know, why it's so hard for Jonah to follow God's calling on his life, I think is the same reason it's difficult for many of us to follow God's call. First, I think for Jonah, God's calling didn't make sense to him. Why would he warn this people whom he hated and who were a threat to his own safety?
They don't deserve a heads up. And I think for many of us, God's calling on our life just simply doesn't make sense. Why would we love our enemy? Why would we make every effort to keep peace with all people as long as it depends on us?
Why should I forgive someone who really doesn't deserve it? And at the heart of it, we got to ask the question, what if God's ways are higher than our ways? And what if God who created all that there is actually knows what's very best for us and his plans are best? What if his calling on our life is actually the path to true flourishing? Secondly, I think Jonah was comfortable right where he was at. Jonah was content with following God as long as it fit in with his comfortable way of life. Going to Nineveh would have pushed him way out of his comfort zone.
In fact, he would have become unpopular back in Israel. How often we miss out on the purposes and plans God has for our lives because we simply want to stay in our comfort zone. My friend Kevin Queen says it this way. The most dangerous place on the planet is often your comfort zone. It's there you're most at risk of missing out what you were created for. What if God's version of flourishing is better than your version of flourishing? What if God's plan and purposes for your life are better than your plans and purposes?
What if it is your comfort zone, my comfort zone that is keeping us from experiencing what we're created for? Challenging reminder, Ryan. Thanks. As we close, are you looking to get even more plugged in with Living on the Edge and our resources? Then let me encourage you to check out the Chip Ingram app. There you can listen to our most recent series, sign up for daily discipleship, and so much more. We want to help you grow in your walk with Jesus, and the Chip Ingram app is a great way to immerse yourself in Godly content. We'll join us again next time as we continue our new series, You Were Made for More. Until then, this is Dave Drewley saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
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