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Sometimes to wake up, to be restored, we need to be swallowed. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Providence as presented at Granola Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries.
So as you listen to today's message, go deeper in your study as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
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Here is Alan Wright. Though you might be far from God, He is able to orchestrate circumstances and people and events for your good and His glory in ways that might defy your imagination right now. And we've learned how God could even work through others wickedness like Joseph's brothers that sold them into slavery and God used it for good. Well today, we come to even a deeper revelation. What about the moments when you're at your worst?
The darkest valleys. You feel like you've got the least faith you ever had. Where is God then? I want to show you the providence of God in the familiar story of a depressed wayward prophet named Jonah. Jonah chapter 1 verse 1. The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai. Jonah was a famous successful prophet.
We know this from a passage in 2 Kings chapter 14 where we're told that Jonah prophesied about the extension and securing of the borders of Israel under the reign of Jeroboam. So Jonah was powerful in the spirit. He had accurate prophecies. He was in the royal court. The people knew who Jonah was. He was well known.
He was an amazing man of God. And at verse 2 the Lord gives him a word. Arise and go to Nineveh that great city and call out against it for their evil has come up before me. Nineveh was the chief city of their arch enemy Assyria. The primary at that season enemy to Israel. People that would invade and overrun their nation. They were idolatrous. They worshiped false gods.
They had no respect at all towards the people of Israel. They just assumed devastate to them. And Jonah was told to go and preach to them. You'd have to think about your worst enemy to begin to envision what this story of Jonah is about. And notice that word great. That great city. I bring your attention to it because one of the thematic literary elements in the book of Jonah are repetitive words and themes. It is all by itself just beautiful literature. And this word great which means not only large but important is something that is going to recur throughout the story. A story about a great city. And we'll read about a great fish. And we'll read about a great wind and a great evil and a great tempest.
And the wickedness is great. And that word for wickedness occurs eight times in our story of Jonah as well. Verse 3 Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord went down to Joppa found a ship going to Tarshish so he paid the fare went down into it to go with him to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord. Literally away from the presence of the Lord means from away from the face of the Lord. In Hebrew the idea of the presence of the Lord is almost always in this phrase the face of the Lord. Because when the Lord lifts up his countenance he's like a father whose child comes in the room and the father lifts up his face with the light. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and lift up his countenance upon you.
That's the presence of God. And so Jonah is fleeing from the face of the Lord doesn't want to see the Lord's face doesn't want to be in his presence because of this this command to go preach to the enemy he doesn't want to do it. And you'll notice that he's going down to Joppa that's going to be another thing that's going to occur over and over he's going down to Joppa he's going to go down into a boat he's going to go down and to the sea he's going to go down into a belly of a whale this is a depressed prophet who is going down. If you were to imagine where he's trying to go and look at on a map it's almost comical because he's told to go 550 miles to the northeast to Nineveh but instead he goes 2,500 miles to the west essentially to the farthest known place in the world at that time to Jonah. He wants to get as far away as he can and it's interesting if you notice again at verse 3 the repetition of Tarshish three times.
Flee to Tarshish ship going to Tarshish go with them to Tarshish Tarshish Tarshish Tarshish away away away. It's about a depressed prophet who wants to get as far away away away as he can get from God. Verse 4 the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea and there was a mighty tempest on the sea. There's our word grape again great wind and that same word appears great tempest. The ship was threatened to break. It is no ambiguity here the Lord is the actor he has hurled the wind and that's important to the story. The phrase about threatened to break up is really wonderful in Hebrew because it is alliterative and it is what we call I think onomatopoeia where a word sounds like what it is doing like the word crash in English sounds like a crash and that's the way this sounds in the Hebrew about this ship threatening to break up. You can almost hear the storm. Verse 5 the mariners were afraid and each cried out to his God and they hurled cargo into the out of this that was in the ship to lighten it getting ballast out that will potentially help save the ship but Jonah had gone down there's our word into the inner part of the ship and it laying down there it is again it was fast asleep so they're crying out to their false gods strategically unloading the boat. Jonah's gone down as asleep there's only two ways that anybody could ever be asleep in the middle of a hurricane on a boat that's about to capsize and that is either you've got perfect peace and faith or you are so depressed you don't care anymore and that was Jonah.
I've never been depressed to that level but I've counseled and prayed with many who have and report that it gets to a point you don't care about anything when it all feels hopeless you just don't care anymore let the storm kill me and then care what's the point a mighty man of God in the bottom of the ship sleeping. That's Alan Wright and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at pastor Alan.org. God's love you've heard about it with your ears you've believed it in your mind now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book lover of my soul the Bible is a love story from beginning to end you are the spiritual bride of Christ the perfect bridegroom the Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you to win you and to walk with you hand in hand for any man who has fallen in love with a woman you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like for any woman who has searched for true love what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman renowned author of the five love languages says the incredible reality that God pursues us and love comes to life in lover of my soul ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart accept Christ's proposal enjoy his embrace revel in his love after all it's a match made in heaven it's lover of my soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries this broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support when you give today we will send you today's special offer we are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries call us at 877-544-4860 that's 877-544-4860 or come to our website PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues here once again is Alan Wright. And at verse six the captain came and said what you mean you sleep or arise call out to your God perhaps the God will give a thought to us we may not perish it's like our gods aren't working maybe your God will work how could anybody be asleep at a time like this verse 7 they said to one another come let us cast lots that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us so they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah and they said tell us on whose account this evils come upon us what's your occupation where do you come from what's your country what people are used so this is throughout the history of the world what every religion apart from the gospel has done that anytime things look like they're going in the wrong direction that life seems scary and uncertain or painful what must we do to appease the gods so that we would find favor and get a better sense of security in the world that's what religion does and still does and desperate to find an answer they're looking maybe this guy has a God maybe we could sacrifice to his God what do we need to do and they cast lots ancient practice of trying to discern the mind of God and we don't need this as Christians you don't see anything like this in Christianity because we have the Holy Spirit of God himself and we share in the mind of Christ and we have an anointing from the Holy Spirit that will lead us into truth we can talk to God they cast lots and falls on Jonah and they say who are you what's what's going on here verse 9 he said to them I'm a Hebrew I fear the Lord the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land this is not the mighty prophet who is saying I am a Hebrew and I serve the one true living God the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob who is the creator of the ends of the earth and the master of the wind and the waves and he can know this is Jonah depressed going okay I might as well tell you this isn't weird it's a depression it's like if he hasn't abandoned his belief in God you're just depressed I'm a Hebrew I serve the one true God who made all of this and I am they said to him verse 11 what shall we do to you that the sea may quiet down for us what do we need to do so that we would move your God on our behalf that is the spirit of religion what effort do we need to make what what offering do we need to make what sacrifice do you need to make obviously we need to do something to move your God so that we don't die it is the opposite of the gospel and Jonah who knows better in his depression says verse 12 pick me up hurl me into the sea and the sea will quieten down for you which is prophetic that's what's going to happen but it's not for the reason he thinks he's not being offered as a human sacrifice he says for I know it's because of me this great tempest has come upon you which is true but not in the way that he thinks there's never a place in Scripture ever anywhere not in the Old Testament or New Testament that any human sacrifice in any way of pieces or pleases God God finds the sacrifice of a human being the greatest abomination and there's no way that that's what this story is about God doesn't want Jonah in the water to kill him but he does want him in the water because he's got a plan to save him verse 13 nevertheless the men rode hard to get back to dry land they could not they they were like we're probably gonna have to throw him in but that's a last resort let's try harder ourselves and then we'll make the sacrifice the human sacrifice they rode they couldn't do anything about it verse 14 then they called out to the Lord they called out now to this God that Jonah had introduced him to the Lord Yahweh Oh Lord let us not perish for this man's life and lay not on us innocent blood we wash our hands with it for you Oh Lord have done as it pleased you and so they picked up Jonah they hurled him in the sea and the sea cease from its raging and the men of course figured that we just made a sacrifice of this human and obviously pleased this God named Yahweh and the sea has stopped and so that verse 16 the men feared the Lord and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and they made vows offer offer misunderstanding who God is they thought they just killed Jonah and that their human sacrifice had pleased God and so it says they feared the Lord remember that verse that says the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom I love what my uncle Stanley used to say it's the beginning but it's not the end that all they knew was whoa his God must be real that's all they really understood at that point they didn't know how to have a relationship with God so at verse 16 they feared the Lord and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and they made vows they just assumed that this God must be like their gods and that there was all about their vows their sacrifices and what they didn't know God but that's what they started doing verse 17 and the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights it might be that this should be translated some scholars say had appointed which I like the Lord had long before appointed a great fish wasn't a fish that happened to be swimming by it wasn't an accident when Bennett was little he liked to play act Bible stories his favorite was David and Goliath why was Goliath a thousand times falling down on the carpet in the den as he would hurl a tissue or something using his blankie but he also liked Jonah and I remember one time we're playing Jonah and he was up on the couch he said okay daddy this couch is the boat and and and the storms blow and so I'm like so okay now daddy you be the sailors and throw me into the sea so we put some cushions on the floor I took him I hurled him overboard down onto the sea the deep sea and he's flailing around they said okay daddy now you be the whale and so I put my arms out like jaws boom boom boom boom boom here comes the great big whale to eat up Jonah roll don't roll don't roll don't roll no and little two-year-old Bennett interrupts me said no daddy said the whale doesn't eat Jonah the whale saves him I remember at the time 26 years ago and I said are you sure about that and okay well I went to seminary I'm pretty sure he eats him and I went back I went back and look at this story you know and what persuades me of Bennett's theology on this is that chapter 2 verse 4 the prayer of Jonah who is he recalls it he says at verse 4 he said I'm driven away from your sight yet I shall again look upon your holy temple the waters closed in over me to take my life he's describing what it felt like to nearly drown the deep surrounded me weeds were wrapped around my head the roots of the mountains I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever yet you brought up my life from the pit that's how Jonah looked on it he sent a great fish to bring his life up out of the seaweed and save him see Jonah didn't repent after he was swallowed by a whale he was repenting while he was sinking down and saying Lord save me and so the whale was the salvation there's a whale of a difference between being eaten and being saved I couldn't resist verse 10 the Lord spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land I like that God can speak to underwater sea creatures in the deeps I wish somebody had a better or softer word than vomit but that's what we get in the English Standard Version because it's messy getting saved and put on dry land when you've been sinking into the deep sometimes a little messy and then one of my favorite verses in the Bible at Jonah 3 verse 1 as Jonah is there wiping the fish guts off of his body and thinking about it all the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time there's a scripture in the New Testament it says the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable isn't that beautiful how beautiful is our God that you could run to Tarshish with all your might and let lie a prophetic gift dormant and God's after you Alan Wright our good news message it's a whale of a plan from the series Providence hey stick with us Pastor Alan is joining us back in the studio sharing a parting good news thought for the day here in just a moment unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get Alan Wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at pastor Alan org God's love you've heard about it with your ears you believed it in your mind now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book lover of my soul the Bible is a love story from beginning to end you are the spiritual bride of Christ the perfect bridegroom the Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you to win you and to walk with you hand in hand for any man who has fallen in love with a woman you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like for any woman who has searched for true love what you long for can only be found fully in God Gary Chapman renowned author of the five love languages says the incredible reality that God pursues us and love comes to life and lover of my soul ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart except Christ proposal enjoy his embrace revel in his love after all it's a match made in heaven it's lover of my soul by Alan Wright the gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries this broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support when you give today we will send you today's special offer we are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries call us at 877-544-4860 that's 877-544-4860 or come to our website pastor alan.org back here in the studio to share Pastor Alan's parting good news thought for the day and God's after us and have a friend who says you know it's all in the way you hear even that that God's looking after you he's watching you he's not he's not looking down with grave disappointment ready to snuff you out he is pursuing you with love and grace and that's part of our closing thought today yeah if you think of Jonah as the ultimate picture of Jesus then you start realizing more and more the depths of which God has gone to redeem our lives and I think in many ways that's what Jonah points us to is look at the unfailing mercies of God and all of this pointing to the ultimate unfailing mercy of God to come for us in the person of Jesus Christ and we can be in a situation where God is at work redeeming and working on our behalf and we can be completely unaware of it and in fact there can be times in which we feel like we're getting swallowed up but we're really getting saved and that's what the story of Jonah points us to and it always points us to the better Jonah Jesus that's all about the providence of God thanks for listening today visit us online at pastor alan.org or call 877-544-4860 that's 877-544-4860 if you only caught part of today's teaching not only can you listen again online but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching delivered right to your email inbox free find out more about these and other resources at pastor alan.org that's pastor alan.org today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries
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