When was the last time you prayed something very specifically and saw God answer swiftly and unmistakably?
Well, that just happened to me recently, and I've got to tell you about it. Stay with me. Welcome to this Edition of Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram.
Living on the Edge is an international discipleship ministry focused on helping Christians live like Christians. I'm Dave Drouy. And as many of you know, Chip's our regular Bible teacher. But for the past several programs, he's been teaching a brand new series alongside his son Ryan called You Were Made for More, facing the Jonah in all of us.
We hope you've been challenged by this series so far. So if you would, take a minute after this message and share it with a friend, either through the Chip Ingram app or by downloading the free MP3s at livingontheedge.org. Well, with that, let's join Chip now for his talk, God's Deliverance. If you'll open your Bibles to Jonah, we're going to look at chapter two. But before we do, I just want to, as you get there, we talked about shift and how God actually allows storms to come into our life. And at times, even we learn causes storms into our life to shift our focus, shift our life, our mindset, sometimes our careers, our relationships, so that we get the more that he really wants us to have. And as Ryan was teaching, he said, I want you to write this prayer down. So I did.
Heavenly Father, would you give me an opportunity to share with someone in some way about you today? And I prayed that. And then Ryan said, I want you to write down the name of, I can't remember whether it was three people or four people, but as Ryan was sharing, what I realized was, down deep in my heart, I didn't really care about my neighbors the way God cares about them. I mean, there was sort of this moment, you know, he was talking about Jonah and his hypocrisy that, you know, he's this leader that is called by God and he's a prophet and he's taking God's word everywhere, but God says, go to Nineveh, and he goes, no.
And I just thought, you know, pretty hypocritical, you know. I was with Ryan like, yeah, what a hypocrite Jonah was. And then as he prayed and asked us to do this, it was like, wow, Chip, you got a lot of Jonah in you. And so I wrote names down and I've prayed for him every single day since week one. And it really is interesting how when you shift and you, and I've, you know, I told God, I was, I mean, I'm sorry, it's not like I've neglected them or I haven't shared or haven't done this, but they're not on my heart the way they were on God's heart. And so I prayed for him every single day and it's amazing, stuff started happening.
So the one guy that I really like, he's around the corner or so and I've seen him on the golf course and out of the blue, he's doing this charity event to help some other people and it's a, I think it's a little boy that died early and he got to know the family and he was literally orchestrating this charity event and had something to do with golf. And I couldn't go, but I wanted to contribute. So because I'd been praying for him every day, it was not like, should I?
I just wrote a check and I said, but I'm not available on that day. And so he calls me and says, would you do me a favor? I said, well, sure. He said, you know, the woman that lost her son and all this happened, she's a woman of faith. And you know, you gave me that book that you wrote on why I believe.
Do you think you could give her one or maybe something different? And I thought, here I've been for how many years and out of the blue or so is my experience as I prayed for him and God shifted my focus. And then afterward he says, hey, you know, since you can't make that event, how about you and I drive down to that golf course and we'll spend the day together? God allows storms in our lives to shift our focus and our life onto the more that we were made for. And so in Jonah's case, what we find is I can really identify he's a little hard headed. And so, you know, we know the story, right? He gets thrown in by the sailors and Jonah, we'll pick it up in verse 17.
And so let's follow it together. So Jonah runs away from God and these pagan sailors, they start praying to the one true God and they offer sacrifices. And you know, it's like, okay, you know, hey, please forgive us. But you know, one, ready guys?
Two, three. And they throw him in. And of course, Jonah's like, I'm done. And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. And Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish.
Now imagine, and we've done enough research and we've got two or three sort of historical examples, but let's go there for just a minute. It's a huge animal, whale, great fish, something. Actually Hebrew it's a sea monster and it's slimy and it's dark. And there's oxygen and you can breathe.
I just can't imagine. And so he's sort of drifting down through the water and notice God appoints his direction, his sovereignty. What I want you to notice as I read this, listen like someone who's been in this yicky, terrible place and yet realizing, hey, I didn't die.
Listen for this contrast. Jonah says or speaks or prays or cries and then listen for how the response is. Because as we read this, I want you to know that when you blow it and when I blow it and when we feel hopeless and like we don't deserve anything, I want you to catch this. I called out of my distress to the Lord. And in your Bible, you might underline, he answered me. I cried for help from the depths of shield. That's a Hebrew word from death. I just cried.
I mean, I've got no hope. He heard my voice. He still has a little bit of a reframing life, which we all do when we're running from God. For you cast me into the deep. Did God cast him into the deep?
Or is he in the deep because of decisions that he made? I don't know. Have you ever done this? I've done this a lot like you know sort of what's right to do and you don't do it. And you turn away from God and he says, that's not a good relationship or that's not a good decision or those circumstances are dangerous.
And so you go ahead and do it and then you get in a jam and then you do this. Boy, God, how could you let this happen? That's where he's at. But he's going to get his perspective in a minute. Into the heart of the sea and the current engulfed him. Imagine him.
He's floating down. All your breakers and billows passed over me. He's thinking, I'm going to respond. So I said, I have been expelled from your sight.
He's in this moment. You said to do this. This is what I did. I'm an actual willful shaking my fist rebellion. So I have been expelled from your sight. Nevertheless, circle that word in your Bible. Nevertheless, I will look again toward the holy temple.
And the Hebrew mindset at that time, that's where you prayed. That would be God's presence. He goes, I'm out of your sight. I don't deserve anything.
But nevertheless, I'm going to look again. So you know, it's like, I'm going down. I know I'm going to die, but I'm going to shoot up a prayer. The waters encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me. You're getting these verbs, encompassed, engulfed, billows pass over me. The weeds wrapped around my head.
It's pretty graphic. I descended to the roots of the mountains. In other words, he's actually hit the bottom, not only of the sea, but of his life.
The earth with its bars around me forever. This is I am done. And he understands I am done because of my choices and my rebellion and what I've done. And then here's another big contrast.
You might circle this, because the first big one was nevertheless. I know I don't deserve it. And this is, but you have brought my life from the pit. Oh, Yahweh, my God. While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
And then I love it. He goes, those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness. And he's incriminating himself. His vain idol was my will, my way, my perspective.
And now he's got palms up inside of a dark, smelly, slimy environment. And he says, but I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed, going to Nineveh, I will pay.
And then here's the great line that you just put a squiggly line under it, put a box around it. Salvation is from the Lord. It's this great moment. In the context here, he's not looking at, when we say salvation, we think justification. I turned from my sin.
I prayed to receive Christ. But the word salvation literally means to be delivered, to be delivered out of something. And so the author here is letting us know Jonah is delivered out of this.
But it's thematic. The Ninevites are going to be delivered. The sailors were delivered.
Salvation comes from God and God alone. It's one of the great themes of the book. Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land. Put a circle around vomited.
It's a really key word, and we're going to come back to it. And by the way, when you think vomited, I read a guy, he's a scholar, and he did all this word study on vomit. And he said, puke, regurgitate, think of the smell. He said vomit means vomit. And he said it's a unique word used in the Old Testament. There's a handful of times where God talks about what he vomits and why, and we'll get there in a minute. But I just don't want you to miss that.
What's the big idea? In other words, Jonah, we just heard his prayer, right? I'm running away from God. A storm comes. I get thrown in the ocean. I'm beyond hope. I cry out for help.
Here's the big idea. God delivers us from storms to reveal his mercy and to position us to fulfill the more that we're made for. I don't care what you've done. I don't care where you are. I don't care how far away you feel from God. I don't care if the storms are circumstantial or relational.
I don't care whether it has to do with work or job, whether it's something that you would look back and say, I got to own this, or it's what other people did to you, or circumstances out of your control. God longs for you to do what Jonah did. Think of the verbs. I cried out. I prayed. I remembered.
I asked. In the midst of the bottom, it's, oh, God, please. And notice he says, God delivers us from storms to reveal his mercy.
It's interesting. There's a classic Old Testament passage that says, God delights to show mercy. I mean, think of things that you delight in.
Think of things that, like, I love to do this, or I'm so attracted to do it, or it's such a joy whenever I get to. Whenever our God, who created all that there is, who spoke the galaxies into existence, and the triune God who sent God the Son to come and die in our place and rise from the dead, pay for our sins, when he sees us blowing it, and when we're hurting, and when we're struggling, he finds delight to forgive you, to restore you, to put his arm around you, to take you back to where you longed to be. But he doesn't do it just so that you experience his mercy. He delights to deliver us, often from ourselves, to reveal his mercy that this is what he's like, but to position you, to position you to get your focus off yourself and onto the more that you were made for, the better, the higher, the calling, and the purpose. That's exactly what was happening then. How do we understand this for us? And the context from chapter one and chapter four is this. Jonah's disobedience and despair were birthed out of fear that God's agenda might be different than his desires. Right? Wasn't that it? I mean, he was afraid, like, I don't want to go to Nineveh.
Why? We learn in chapter four, as it opens up, he says to God, see, you're going to learn a little bit later. Ryan, I don't want to get the cat out of the bag, but a little pre-tell here.
He actually will go. He will actually preach, and most wicked people that we have any record of in ancient history are the Ninevites. It's so evil.
It makes stuff that Hitler did look like child's play. It's so inhumane, so wicked. And God forgives them. And Jonah goes, the reason I fled, because I understood he's got good theology. You're this merciful God no matter where people are at.
If they ever repent, if they ever genuinely turn, if they ever ask, see, I knew you would do this. And so he's logical. Jonah's logic is God is merciful, therefore I'm not going to go to Nineveh. Second, Jonah's desire is for God's justice for the Ninevites.
Right? It's like, God, I don't want to go preach truth. What if they respond? And Jonah also knows he's got a prophecy in the back of his mind that about 30 years later that the Lord is going to bring about judgment to Israel. And so, you know, he's like us. He thinks it through. Now, let's say, if I don't go and they don't repent, that's the group that is supposed to come later, which they did in 722 B.C.
This is written about 760 B.C. And so Jonah's really logical. It really makes sense to him. God has this plan, but I know better. My desires, my purposes, my outcomes are better. And so Jonah's action revealed tribalism over lordship.
See, at the end of the day, Jonah says, the Israelites and my people, my group, are more important than God's agenda, because I know better. Anybody seen any of this in our life in the last couple years? I think the ugliness I've seen inside the church probably breaks my heart as much or more than anything I've ever seen. And it's tribalism. And it can be nationalism, but I mean, inside the church, there's people that don't talk to each other anymore.
They have said things and done things, because, and I mean, it has been unbelievable. And instead of Jesus, instead of what's God's plan, we may have all kind of differences, but what's God's big agenda, and isn't our lordship to him and what he wants us to do? So wouldn't we treat one another with respect and humility and understanding and say, I wonder, maybe there's a bigger thing than our deal, our tribe? Well, we're this group.
We think this is the only way to do it. Well, we gave to this group or you gave to that group tribalism, tribalism, tribalism. Our group, our way, our age, old or young, our ethnicity, our program, our view of scripture.
All these little tribes saying, we know best. That was Jonah's sin. Jonah's deliverance was birthed in his faith that God is merciful, even to those who willfully reject him. Notice I put some verses from his prayer. Jonah's near death experience, what?
He's in distress. Jonah's prayers and cries for help, he gets delivered. Jonah's response is this Psalm of Thanksgiving. What I want you to know, and this is so critical for us, Jonah has good theology, doesn't he?
He believes the truth. God is merciful. Since God is merciful, I don't want to do what he tells me to do because I hate those people.
My job has me doing a lot of travel around the world. Just before the pandemic, I was in China seven times and we do training of pastors, especially in rural areas, and then maybe three times in the Middle East in that season. One of the biggest takeaways I got from being with those people is their view of suffering and God's big picture instead of our own.
I'll never forget a pastor, he was a house church pastor in China, and I had a chance to eat with him and we were getting to know one another and he talked about his, he was on a sort of a traveling evangelistic campaign somewhere throughout China and the church met in his home and they moved things around and the authorities came, the wife said, no, no, no, no, I'm the pastor, I'm the only one, and the people left. They beat her to a pulp for two or three days and he came back, found his wife, was telling this story. In my gut, in my tribalism, it was, I'll tell you what, if someone ever did that to my wife, Teresa, I'll tell you what, right? I'm thinking that, and then he leans over with his eyes watery and says, can you imagine that God would ever count us worthy to suffer for him like that?
And I was, I mean, I was too embarrassed to say anything out of that. I had a lot of thoughts in my mind, but that one never came to my mind. Do you see his perspective? Eternity. His perspective, God's agenda.
His perspective, of course we're going to suffer in a fallen world where there's sinful people who do wicked things and God will use them. We have, sounded like the early apostles. In one of the trainings there in the Middle East, one of the groups that had come had done some other training and the leader of it was telling me, they said, thank you for this training. We don't have much access to good teaching. Before we go back to our country, would you teach us to die well?
Would you teach us to die well? Do you get it? It's not my agenda. It's not my country. It's not my group. It's not my young.
It's not my old. It's what does God want? Shift. What does God want for my life? Shift away from my culture, my desires, my this is the way it's got to be.
This is what's happening in this passage. Chip will be back in just a minute with his application. You've been listening to the first part of his message, God's Deliverance from our series, You Were Made for More, facing the Jonah in all of us. 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. Before we go any further, Chip's with me in studio to share a quick word.
Thanks, Dave. I'll be right back in just a minute with some final thoughts from today's message. But I just want to take a moment and share with you something very exciting that's happening in my life. I go to a church where the people are super young and most of them have very little experience to the gospel, the Bible. And Teresa and I opened our home and said, would you just want to explore the faith? And some are believers and some are seekers, and we're just having a fabulous time. And the one theme that I keep hearing, I mean, these are twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four-year-olds, and they just are asking, is there any real purpose in life? And how do you discover God's purpose for your life? And I'm reminding them that God has a mission, that they are His workmanship. They're His tapestry.
They're His work of art, that God has a good work from the foundations of the earth, according to Ephesians chapter 2, verse 10, that He's prepared for them. And what I want you to know is that He's got that for you as well. I want you to think about maybe a young person or maybe even yourself. And do you know your purpose? Do you know your mission? Do you know how you're wired? Do you know your gifts?
Do you know how you fit on a team? Well, I want you to know if those are questions that you're asking, Living on the Edge right now has some answers. We've created a brand new resource called The Real You. It's an online questionnaire designed to provide insight into how God wired you. This is more than a spiritual gift test. You'll identify the patterns in which you think, what motivates you, and why teams need someone just like you.
It'll take about 20 minutes to complete, and it won't cost you a thing. Then based on your responses, The Real You will offer suggestions about how you can practically live out God's purpose for your life, whether that's at home, in the office, at church, or in your community. As a Living on the Edge questionnaire, we want you to be the first to access this resource. Head over to therealyou.org to learn more. That's therealyou.org.
Most Christians don't know how to leverage their God-given wiring and experiences for the kingdom. We want to change that. Thanks, Chip. Well, as you can tell, we are really excited about this new resource. We hope The Real You will help you not only discover who God made you to be, but how He made you to think, act, and live. As Chip said, you can sign up for this free assessment by going to therealyou.org. Or if it's easier, text the word REAL to 74141. That's the word REAL R-E-A-L to 74141.
App listeners, tap Special Offers. Well, Chip, let's get to your application that we promised. Thanks, Dave. As I listened to this teaching, and when I was studying it, there was part of me that I thought, Jonah, I mean, like, how could you be that uncaring? I mean, how could you be so focused on you and the Jews and your agenda and completely miss how deeply God loves? Yes, the Ninevites were evil.
I mean, ruthless, violent. But the mercy of God and the love of God, and you're a prophet. I mean, you're a spokesman for God. And as I was thinking about how rotten of a prophet Jonah was, I began to think about my own life. And then I guess what I would call it is tribalism. You know, I've seen inside the church in the last couple, three years, and inside families, something that is so painful and so harmful and it's been so destructive. There's the mask or the no mask tribe. There's the never take the vaccine or you have to take the vaccine tribe. There's the Fox tribe and the CNN tribe.
There's the blue state tribe and there's the red state tribe. And in the midst of all that are believers, brothers and sisters in Christ, redeemed by the blood of Christ, who'll spend heaven together forever. And we have said things to one another. We have blamed, we have labeled, we have cut off relationships. We've left churches.
We've said horrendous things to one another. And our testimony, because our little tribes have become more important than God's agenda. God's agenda to be unified, God's agenda to love people, God's agenda to use the pandemic and the struggles and the hurts for us to be the salt and the light and to really care. And don't get me wrong. I think it's good to have different opinions and do your research.
And I happen to listen to both those stations just so I'm aware of what's going on. And I certainly have convictions about masks and vaccines and different things, but none of them matter as much as Jesus. My appeal to you, even as you see like I did how ugly it looks in Jonah's life, could we recognize how ugly it is in our life? And I'd like you to pray, I mean, an honest prayer and say, Lord, if I've said anything or I've posted something or if I've blamed other people or if I've been hurtful to someone in the body of Christ who disagrees with me about some of these secondary things, would you give me the courage this week to apologize, to say I'm sorry?
You don't have to change your opinion, but you can agree to disagree and you can say what I said and how I said it was so inappropriate. You're a brother, you're a sister in Christ. Will you forgive me? Could we start the healing and could we start it today? Great reminder, Chip. Well, as we wrap up this program, just a quick but important thought. Living on the Edge depends on listeners just like you to help us continue to encourage Christians to live like Christians. So would you consider partnering with us on a monthly basis so others can benefit from the ministry of Living on the Edge? Now, you can set up a recurring donation by going to livingontheedge.org or through the Chip Ingram app or text the word donate to 741-41. It's so easy. Text the word donate to 741-41. And thanks for doing whatever the Lord leads you to do. Well, from all of us here, this is Dave Druey saying thanks for listening to this Edition of Living on the Edge.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-19 15:19:35 / 2022-11-19 15:30:16 / 11