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Flight JON01 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig
The Truth Network Radio
July 3, 2023 6:00 am

Flight JON01 - Part A

Connect with Skip Heitzig / Skip Heitzig

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July 3, 2023 6:00 am

Pastor Skip is teaching from the book of Jonah, a minor prophet with an important mission from God… one that he should have embraced, but did not.

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Jonah had a mission, a preaching mission.

Go out and cry against it. Their wickedness has come up before me. Now, the message God will tell him to preach is a message he, you would think, as a Jewish prophet who was an enemy of the Assyrians, it was a message he should have loved.

Today on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Pastor Skip begins his teaching from the book of Jonah, a prophet with an important mission from God, one that he should have embraced but did not. But first, here's a resource that will help you understand and communicate the path to true freedom in Christ. Freedom.

It's a powerful word with several layers of meaning. Benjamin Franklin said, the birth of America meant liberty if we can keep it. But the freedom Jesus gives from sin is permanent if we receive it. There's a level of freedom that is better than political freedom, better than social freedom, better than any kind of freedom, and that's a spiritual liberation, a freedom from sin. One day, Jesus stood up in Nazareth and clearly declared liberty for those in bondage. Are you enjoying the full rights of your freedom?

Do you know someone still suffering from addiction? You will want to order our freedom package, which includes 10 full-length messages by Skip about your path to freedom with titles such as Can God Be Known and Extreme Makeover Soul Edition, as well as his Life Change Next Steps booklet. The freedom package is our thanks for your gift of $50 or more to support the broadcast ministry of Connect with Skip Heitzig. So request your freedom package today when you give online securely at connectwithskip.com slash offer or call 800-922-1888. Did you know that you can now connect with Pastor Skip and this ministry via text messaging? Simply text connect to 74759 to join the group. When you do, you'll receive a free digital booklet called Are We Living in the Last Days? Get a glimpse into the last days and how you can be ready for them. So text connect to 74759 today. Now let's turn to Jonah 1.

As Pastor Skip begins today's teaching. Our flight tonight goes from Joppa to Nineveh. If it was in modern terminology, we would say the flight takes off in Tel Aviv. That's where the airport is in Israel, right by Joppa. We're going from Tel Aviv to Mosul.

You've heard of that word. It's in the news. It's where ISIS had its headquarters, the caliphate for a long time and they're still around that area. So it's interesting to me that the story of Jonah is not an outdated story. If you were to tell a Jewish person go to Mosul, he would have second thoughts. And this Jewish prophet, Jonah, is told to go to Mosul, to go to Nineveh. Now some of the prophets we have noticed are called major prophets. We've noted that some are called minor prophets. Jonah could be called the missing prophet. He's missing in action.

He's gone AWOL. Some prophets are even designated as pre-exilic prophets. That is prophets who write before the exile, pre-exilic. Some are called post-exilic prophets.

So you have pre-exilic and post-exilic. I would put Jonah in just the pathetic category. What kind of a prophet is a guy who says no to God when God gives him a mission? Another way to look at it is some of the prophets were called by God to go down south, the southern kingdom, and preach Judah. Others were sent up north to the northern kingdom called Israel. God called Jonah to go east, but he decided to go west.

I mean we have every direction represented here. Some people will do just about anything to get out of a task. To evade their responsibility or to avoid their calling. It's always good to ask what God has gifted you for and called you to, and where your wheelhouse is, where your sweet spot in life operates by the grace of God. Say yes to that.

Say yes to the opportunities before you. For Jonah, the call of God, he hears it, but it's like I'll do anything except go to Nineveh. It reminds me of a couple guys. There were two guys who, this is a couple days before Christmas Eve, decided to go sailing while their wives went shopping. They get out on the boat.

Wives are shopping. They're sailing. They're out in the ocean. Storm comes up. It gets windy.

It gets nasty. The wind is beating against them. The waves beating against them. Then they get stuck on a sandbar, and so they're lodged in the mud. They hop out of the boat.

They're sweating. They're trying to push the boat out, and it's just grueling and hard, and one turns to the other with a big smile says, this sure beats Christmas shopping, doesn't it? Actually, it does, in my opinion. The book of Jonah is short. If you've read it, you know that.

Hopefully, you read it before tonight. The book of Jonah has four chapters, but altogether, 48 verses. Forty-eight verses is the whole book, 1,328 words in the entire book, but it's significant enough to take it as one unit, so we're flying simply from Joppa to Nineveh. We're going to just cover the book of Jonah and no other minor prophets. The question comes, what kind of story are we dealing with? Is it to be taken literally, or is it, as some say, an ancient myth on the level of a Greek mythological rendering of something, or even a Jewish fable, a Jewish tale, something that you would tell your kids? It didn't really happen. In fact, perhaps some would say, it's the story of a man who was on a boat and had a dream, and this is the rendering of the dream that this guy named Jonah had.

None of it really happened. Others will call it an allegory, not literal, not mythological, but simply an allegory. That is, one thing is emblematic of something else. So, Jonah is a symbol of the Jews.

The whale is a symbol of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, who swept Israel away in a storm and swallowed them up, a military storm, and brought them into captivity. And the reason people have problems with the book of Jonah is, well, have you read the book of Jonah? I mean, it's like, really? You're saying this really happened?

This literally happened? I mean, I don't know if I can swallow this story. It's just too deep for me. So, you need to hear this without giving you a whole bunch of evidence of why it could be, and I want to give you a little bit, but let's just cut to the chase here. This is what Jesus said in the New Testament book. I'm reading out of Matthew chapter 12. He said, For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise in judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and indeed a greater than Jonah is here. If the story of Jonah is mythological or allegorical, if it is not literal, then Jesus Christ is a liar. The veracity of the words of Jesus are at stake when we are dealing with the story of Jonah. And then, according to Jesus' words, he correlated an historical figure named Jonah, a real place in antiquity named Nineveh, acknowledged a massive revival.

By the way, we're dealing with the biggest revival known to man in history. Jesus acknowledged that and staked the veracity of Jonah and the fish story with his own death and bodily resurrection. If Jonah didn't happen, then we shouldn't believe that death and resurrection happened, because he correlated both of them. So that just sort of cuts to the chase. That's why I believe it's literal. Also, it is written in simple narrative form, like many other historical documents.

Without sensation, just statements are made. So again, we've said this quite often, but if you think about it, it will really help you. The big roadblock is not Jonah chapter one or chapter two or chapter three with the revival. The big roadblock is Genesis 1-1. If you can get over that, the rest is easy. If we're dealing with a God who can speak worlds into existence, universe into existence, galaxies into existence, if God in the beginning in the beginning created the heavens and the earth, my goodness, this is a walk in the park, right?

This is chump change. This is easy. So you get past that and the rest of the Bible can fall into place for you. So it's written in just normal historic narrative. Number two, there was a historian and historian in antiquity named Josephus, Flavius Josephus, very detailed. He wrote several volumes, The Wars of the Jews, The History of the Jewish People, telling about battles and about movements in great detail. And he wrote about the book of Jonah as an historical story that happened.

So that is one source. Other Hebrew sources, the fact that it's written in plain straightforward narrative form, but also the fact that Jesus said it happened and he correlated that to his death and resurrection. So there's four chapters. I've outlined the book according to each chapter and with the analogy of running, okay? So chapter one is called running from God. Chapter two, you could call it running to God. Chapter three, you could name running with God. And chapter four, a run-in with God. So you're running to, from, with, and then you're fighting what God is doing.

You're having a run-in with God. So we begin with running from God. Chapter one, verse one, now the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of Amittai, saying. Now we don't know much about Jonah, but we do know what town he's from. Doesn't say so here, but 2 Kings chapter 14 mentions Jonah, a prophet, Jonah the prophet, being from a town called Gath Hefer. Gath Hefer was a town in the Galilee region. It is a town today identified by the Arabic term El Meshed and El Meshed or Gath Hefer, his hometown, is just four miles northeast of the town of Nazareth. So next time you're in Israel, go check out El Meshed, Gath Hefer. That's where he is from.

That's where Jonah was from. I'm pointing this out because there is an occasion in the Gospel of John when Jesus is having a run-in with the Pharisees. The Pharisees dispatched some officers to arrest Jesus.

They don't do it. They come back empty handed. The Pharisees and the chief priests say, well, why didn't you bring them? And all they could do is say, nobody spoke like that guy. That guy can give sermons, man. He's good.

It was awesome. They came up empty handed. They just were amazed at what they heard. And even Nicodemus spoke up and said, you know, you can't condemn a man unless you've tried him.

And they rebuke him. They rebuke Nicodemus and they say, are you taken in by this guy? And then they said this, search and look for no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.

Do you remember that? No prophet has arisen. They said that, oh, so emphatically. I guess none of them had quiet time that morning in 2 Kings 14.

If they had, or if they knew the existence of that text, they wouldn't have said what they said. For indeed a prophet did arise out of Galilee before Jesus of Nazareth. And that was Jonah of Gath Hefer. And by the way, Elijah, the Tishbite, that's also up in the Galilee region, but to the east. Anyway, the name Jonah means dove, which is emblematic.

Typically a dove is emblematic of somebody who's very peaceful, pacifistic, docile, even obedient, does not fit Jonah at all. This guy had a good name, but he didn't live up to his name. He lived the opposite of his name. You know, there's some people that they just don't fit their name. Imagine a legalistic church lady by the name of Grace, right? It's like, well, I wish you could get some.

You need some. You got a great name, but you don't live up to it. But then there are people who do live up to their name. I had a dentist who was just hard, harsh, seemed mean, didn't believe in much anesthesia, didn't believe in much Novocain. He kind of said, buck up, get over it, kid.

I remember one occasion. And he was appropriately named Dr. Steel, as in nerves of. Jonah, dove, doesn't quite fit, because, verse two, the Lord said to him, arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me. Nineveh was the capital of the ancient Assyrian empire. Nineveh began when it was built by a guy by the name in Genesis of Nimrod, the great-grandson of Noah. He built the city. He became an ancient superpower, and the capital of it was Nineveh, one of the most powerful cities in the Middle East, on the Tigris River. And it was located 220 miles north-northwest of the ancient city of Babylon.

So it is in Iraq like Babylon. Jonah had a mission, a preaching mission, go out and cry against it, their wickedness has come up before me. Now, the message God will tell him to preach is a message he, you would think, as a Jewish prophet, who was an enemy of the Assyrians, it was a message he should have loved. The message that he gives, the message God gave him to preach in chapter three, verse four, is this. In 40 days, Nineveh is going to be destroyed. It's going to be overturned.

It's going to be overrun. He should have liked that. He should have loved that. But verse three, but Jonah, but Jonah, but Mr. Dove Man arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, found a ship going to Tarshish. Tarshish is out in Gibraltar, Spain, 2,500 miles west. Nineveh is 500 miles east. God says, go east.

He goes, I'm going to go west, like times four. So he paid the fare, went down into it to go with them to Tarshish to flee from the presence of the Lord. To me, it's mind-boggling that any prophet, let alone just any follower of God, but especially a prophet, could imagine that you could escape the presence of the Lord.

Is that possible? Can you go anywhere? When Jonah was doing his thing, there was already the book of Psalms.

We know that because in chapter two, he quotes from them. One of the great Psalms is Psalm 139, where the psalmist says, where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend into heaven, you're there.

If I make my bed in hell, behold, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea. You know, I've always wondered what the name of the boat was called that Jonah got on. I don't know what it was called and say, but wouldn't it be fun if the name of the boat was Wings of the Morning?

Just a fun thought. If I take wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me and your right hand shall lay hold of me. And that is exactly what happens to Jonah in this story. When it says he left the presence of the Lord, it means he's resigning. He's fleeing, pleasing the Lord. He's leaving, standing in God's presence as a servant of the Lord.

That's the idea behind it. He's handing in his resignation saying, I quit the ministry. I don't want to be a prophet.

I want to be a nonprofit organization. I quit. I'm turning it in. Now, this is markedly different from other people that we know about in the Bible who tried to quit, but they eventually did it. Moses tried to quit. Moses said, I can't speak.

I'm not going to stand before Pharaoh. I quit. But he went anyway eventually. Jeremiah was so fed up. He said, I'm not going to preach anymore.

I'm not going to make mention of the name of the Lord. I quit. But he ended up speaking. He said, the word of the Lord was in me like a fire. I couldn't contain it. It was so powerful within me. I couldn't hold it back any longer. But Jonah actually got on a boat and left.

Why? Why would a prophet whose whole job description is to, A, hear from God, B, do what God says, C, follow through? You know, if you're a prophet, you're waiting for a mission. When God gives you a mission, you're going, wow, finally, I get it.

So it's like this. You're an astronaut. You train for outer space. But very few people get sent on the astronaut teams to go into outer space, let alone to go, like, to the moon. So you've trained. You've worked hard. You've been conditioned for outer space.

And then your supervisor comes to you one day and says, you have been selected for the next manned mission to the moon. What would your response be? Yeah, you say, oh, yeah.

Oh, yeah, I'm good. You wouldn't say, nah. You know, if I went, I'd miss the next episode of Dancing with the Stars.

I'm really into that show. Are you kidding? But Jonah does that. He says, I don't want to go. Verse 4, but the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Now, notice a contrast. Verse 3, but Jonah, it begins, verse 4 begins, but the Lord, but Jonah, but the Lord, but the Lord, but the Lord, but the Lord, but Jonah, but the Lord, but Jonah, but the Lord. So it's like God saying, I see your but, Jonah, and I raise you one, but the Lord, which is higher stakes. You know, there are some people that simply hear God's voice and comply.

They're the best kind. They read the scripture, and they go, I'm going to do that. They hear God giving them a commission, and they go, yes, sir.

Right away, sir. Little young Samuel the prophet. Speak, Lord, your servant hears.

They're the best kind, but then there are people that have harder heads. Saul of Tarsus was one. Saul of Tarsus persecuted the church. Saul of Tarsus tried to stamp out Christianity. So what got his attention is getting knocked off his high horse, literally, hitting the ground, seeing a light from heaven, being blinded, until he finally goes, uncle, I give up.

I'll do it your way. Some people need greater means for God to get their attention. So Proverbs 15, 10 says, harsh correction is for him who forsakes the way. Mark that verse, my friend, if you're hardening your heart against God. That concludes Skip Heitzig's message today from the series, The Bible from 30,000 Feet.

Find the full message, as well as books, booklets, and full teaching series at ConnectWithSkip.com. Right now, we want to tell you about an opportunity you have to take your knowledge of God's Word to a deeper level. If you're ready to study God's Word beyond going to church and personal Bible study, you're ready for Calvary College.

Take your learning and your life's purpose to the next level with an education in biblical studies. Registration for the 2023 fall term is open right now. All classes take place online. Courses like Old Testament Survey and New Testament Survey, Acts, Romans, and Revelation, plus theological studies and the doctrine of man, sin, and salvation. Calvary College partners with Veritas International University and Calvary Chapel University, where you can earn an accredited undergraduate or graduate degree, or simply increase your knowledge of God and His Word. Registration for Calvary College online classes is in full swing, but registration ends August 5th. Don't miss out. Head to calvarychurchcollege.com and click on apply.

Fill out the form, pay the registration fee, and start selecting classes to join us online this fall. We're glad you've joined us today. Connect with Skip Heitzig is here to connect listeners like you to God's truth, strengthening your walk with Him, and bringing more people into His family. That's why we make teachings like this one today available to you and so many others on air and online.

If they've helped you connect more closely with Jesus today, would you consider giving a gift to encourage others in the same way? Just call 800-922-1888. That's 800-922-1888. Or visit connectwithskip.com slash donate. That's connectwithskip.com slash donate.

Thank you. Tomorrow on Connect with Skip Heitzig, Skip continues his teaching from Jonah and shows you how your disobedience affects others. Make a connection, make a connection at the foot of the cross. Cast all burdens on His word. Make a connection, connection. Connect with Skip Heitzig is a presentation of Connection Communications, connecting you to God's never changing truth in ever-changing times.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-03 05:06:08 / 2023-07-03 05:15:12 / 9

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