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More Than a Fish Story

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 15, 2021 12:00 am

More Than a Fish Story

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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October 15, 2021 12:00 am

The most astonishing thing about the Book of Jonah is not Jonah's hatred for Nineveh or his 3-day journey in the belly of a fish; it is the grace of God.

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You notice the text and nothing really said about Jonah.

Nothing is said about his workplace. Not much of an introduction of all the thing about his previous ministry were not even told how the word of the Lord came to him was a dream was the division was an angel were not told Brett you were to discover that everything that happens in this little book seems to happen in fast motion doesn't quickly just starts in fast motion and just continues to move forward. Everything that can be left out is left out. Nothing clutters the hallways of the store. Then all of a sudden medicine that shocks here's a principle that we need to remember our past obedience to God does not guarantee that will obey God. Tomorrow Jonah 1 of the most famous prophets in the Bible is an illustration of this Stephen baby begins a series from Jonah today on wisdom for the heart. He's calling this series the prodigal prophets as we examine the successes and the failures of Jonah and observe how God treats him and those he preached to will see that the book is not about a big fish. It's about the grace of God. Let's get started. There's a lot more as you know, to know that an art is a lot more Zaki is climbing a tree. There's a lot more to Daniel than the lion's and there's a lot more Jonah than a whale.

But the truth is when we think of Jonah. That's the first thing that comes to mind John and the way it's a fish story much more than a fish story. One author put it this way less than 50 verses of Scripture.

You have a storm at sea. The conversion of idolatrous sailors miraculous rescue song of praise, the repentance of a brutal nation, you have the unique revelation of God's relationship to unbelieving Gentiles. A disobedient Jew all sorts of nonhuman creation.

The wind official find a worm in cattle in many ways. Jonah is a microcosm of God's relationship and sovereignty over all creation and all kingdoms and all history.

We don't think about Jonah and the greatest national revival ever recorded doing and if following the shortest sermon ever preached.

We all think of Jonah and the mercy of God. We don't think of the fact that Jonah would be the first missionary in human history sent by God to a Gentile nation that we never think about the fact that he is the only profit on record ever commissioned by God to go to a heathen nation with the message of repentance, a worse yet we rarely think of John as the signature sign the illustration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which will take probably one entire session to study the book of Jonah is much more than beneficial.

Little wonder then that Satan and those belonging to him and his kingdom have attempted throughout history for to make the book of Jonah, the butt of many jokes and in derision sneers the average Joe liberal professor and pastor along with so many so-called Bible scholars even though they were little care about the Bible have attempted for centuries to downplay and discredits to to dry. If not to destroy the authenticity and credibility of the book of of Jonah. And since many of us have sat in classrooms and maybe some of you are sitting in classrooms now with professors that would delight in sneering at this inspired story. Let me very quickly is an overview layout their objections and answer them just as quickly for five of them first as they object to the abundance of miracles.

Frankly, we would expect them to. They don't believe God sent a fish to swallow Jonah but then they don't believe God created fish to begin with so why would we expect them to believe God would command a great fish to do anything they don't believe God created the plants and the animals of Genesis 1. Why would we expect them to believe Jonah 1 and my friends you will never convince an unbeliever of God's power and his miraculous ability until they have placed their faith in the power of God's son, but until then the natural man, the on related to Christ's spirit man is unable to embrace receive. Paul writes in first Corinthians the things of the spirit of God because they are spiritually examined, you must examine them by virtue and with the help of the indwelling Spirit of God. So we would expect that it secondly they consider Jonah a fairytale because of the unique mission of Jonah of the liberal scholar will point out the fact that God never commissioned the Jewish prophet to go to a Gentile nation. So this must be a story to make the Jewish people feel good. Just because God hadn't sent a prophet doesn't mean he wouldn't think that's one of the things it makes it so remarkable. The truth is, both Elijah and Elisha made contact with pagan kings under the direction of God. So for Jonah to be a special envoy sent by God to a pagan nation is simply the grace of God and not difficult to imagine number three. The liberals object because Jonah refers to Nineveh in the past tense. In chapter 3 regenerates none Nineveh was a very great city is always to deliver on that he lived sometimes distant if you wrote it at all. In the refers to the city as a city. The past tense. Will the use of laws is perfectly acceptable in narrative writing which most of the book of Jonah happens to be narrative number four, fourth objection is the Jonah was was never there to begin with and it's proven by the fact that he writes that it took three days to walk through it when everyone knows that the city was small enough to travel through day okay what about outlying areas. What about the suburbs of this great empire that so overpowered the northern kingdom of Israel fact, we know that its population was larger than the city of Kerry today, more than 100,000 people and if you try to deliver a message to a city of coming doom more than 100,000 people. If like Kerry travel from one carry-on foot to the other end of Kerry. It would take you at least two or three days, maybe weeks.

If that were already beginning to complain he can drive from one end of Kerry to the other without it taking in on imaginable 10 minutes the unbelieving world is grasping at straws. The final objection is that Jonah uses some words seem incompatible with Jonah's vocabulary.

Aren't you glad the scholars knew so well.

Jonah's vocabulary. Will the truth is the words in question. You took the time studying. This is all the time. I even want to take on the objections those words appeared in Old Testament books both before Jonah's time and afterward Jonah is simply troubling to the unbeliever because of what it reveals of God and what it reveals of the gospel. Jonah is not make believe it was a real man. He was living in a real time, and he had a real challenge on his hand. In fact, we do know that Jonah has already been around for quite a while.

He was the court profit for Jeroboam the second and he prophesied faithfully in the northern section known as Israel. The northern kingdom after the division and he prophesied 750 years before the birth of Christ.

Jonah had already delivered a rather famous prophecy which had been fulfilled as the northern kingdom of Israel regain some of its lost territory that they thought was lost forever. Jonah prophesied they get it back in.

They got it back, which added only more credibility. The Jonas ministry. Think you might want to write into the margin of Jonah 11. We will get there I'd trust me eventually right in this text. Second Kings 14 and you cannot read it sometime and let me quickly read for the sake of time what the text says in verse 25 second Kings 1425 God restored the border of Israel from the entrance of payment.

As far as the CEO. Veronica according to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which he spoke through his servant Jonah, the son of a midsize now that that one verse collaborates the time and place of Jonah's ministry.

In fact, second Kings will also mention Jonah's hometown, which would later become known as Galilee.

Imagine that the prophet whose biography will provide an illustration of Christ's resurrection was prophesying in the same neighborhood where Jesus Christ will one day walk and teach and preach the one who experienced at a rather amazing miracle of being swallowed by a fish will be followed by the great prophet who will command the fish into the nets of his disciples and will create fish at a campfire and feed it to Peter and others wonderful testimony of the Old Testament corroborating the ministry of this little book called Jonah we we know that Jonah prophesied during the ministries of Hosea and Amos. It's very likely that Jonah had been trained by his predecessor man by the name of Elisha Jason Baxter wrote Jonah would have been a leading prophet among the schools of the prophets with Elisha near the end of his remarkable ministries interesting to consider the fact that Jonah and Elisha probably knew one another well. Jonah was one of the revered prophets of the Jewish people. In fact, centuries after Jonah's life. The father of Peter and Andrew would become apostles, Disciples of Christ, the father of Peter was named after Jonah more than likely after the famous prophet is his namesake your member the peer was not originally a Simon bar Jonah bar simply means son of Simon was the son of a man named, perhaps after in honor of this famous prophet of Israel name Joan so as far as the average person of this day. Jonah was so was a prophet who would help Israel succeed. He preached the greatest evangelistic campaign in Israel's history. He saw the pagan kingdom of Nineveh come to faith in God and he came for his crusade on a private cruise ship specially made by God. Josephus, Jewish historian, wrote in the first century these words as he incorporated Jonah into his antiquities. He wrote and I quote him but since I have promised to give an exact account of our history. I have thought it necessary to recount what I have found written in the Hebrew books concerning this profit. Jonah hundred and 50 years after the death of King Solomon. Jonah is preaching in Israel. This is not fantasy or fiction.

Jonah is for real.

So let me invite you to turn to these of 48 verses of Scripture and take a closer look with me at the life and times of the prophet Jonah. Now for some of you, your translation will accurately begin with a little word and or now, it's not my translations are for moment after preaching the word before we get to the book of of Jonah now or and it's the little Hebrew word is the little file that is often translated and and it reveals the interesting points that verse one of Jonah followed the previous verse of something else were not told what or where or by whom one wears.

We made the interesting note that if one of his books began with the word and his editor would probably wonder if something had been lost, including his ability to use the English language, you'll start with and follows something closely. God chose his wisdom not to let us know what that was several books of the Old Testament. By the way.

To begin with the word and this one does as well affect one wears me provoke my thinking as he went on to write that by opening with the word and the book of Jonah subtly hints to us that God's story of grace and mercy is a story of continuation. Note further in verse one and the word of the Lord came to Jonah.

Now whenever you read and the word of the Lord came to this is a formulaic phrase that that marks the true prophet of God, the true prophets of God have the word of God coming to them the false prophet to claim to speak the word of God.

They claim to have the word of God, but they only took God's name in vain when they said they had they had they spoke their own dreams and their own their own make-believe story to have the word of the Lord come to you. We have either been a mark of authentication as a true prophet of God or it would be someone other than a prophet, that would be asked to participate in some special mission of the Lord to the word of the Lord comes to you because you're going to have a special mission from God or to authenticate that you are a true prophet of God and for Jonah than it was the authentic Mark it. It was the fingerprint of true prophetic ministry. But know this, when the word of the Lord comes to someone, it means something is about to happen. Does it someone is about to slip into action something is going to happen to somebody and would you notice that when the text that nothing is really said about Jonah.

Nothing is said about his birthplace.

Not much of an introduction of all nothing about his previous ministry were not even told how the word of the Lord came to him. Was it a dream was the division was an angel were not told it evidently doesn't matter, but perhaps you've Artie discovered that everything that happens in this little book seems to happen in fast motion doesn't everything as quickly and it just it starts in fast motion and just continues to move forward. Everything that can be left out is left out. Nothing clutters the hallways of the story.

I noticed further the word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son of a mid-time who's he, we don't know what I thought it probably was important and so we just skim on by, but I do want to stop here long enough to point out some rather interesting meanings of both of these men's names which actually illustrate the coming drama that only was it a coincidence at all. Jonah is the Hebrew word for the often children of believing Hebrew parents were named after animals, hoping their children would grow up to exhibit everything good about its best characteristics. They probably did act like little animals early on but hopefully later on change.

The dove was known for gentleness harmlessness flight, and most significantly piece ever since Genesis chapter 8 verse 11. When the dove flew back to to know with an olive branch or leaf in it mouth became a symbol of hope and peace infected this day around the world is the symbol of peace and we use the phrase even to this day of extending to someone the olive branch is a symbol of extending peace. The someone whenever you see by the way.

The dove on flags or emblems, or political insignia.

More than likely the dove will be in flight its in-flight signifying its role as a messenger.

So here you have a man whose name was the symbol of peace said as a messenger to extend the olive branch to a nation in deep trouble with God. Jonah dove is about to be commissioned by the Emperor of heaven to serve as the ambassador of peace now. You notice the verse also told us he was the son of a midtime admit I comes from the same Hebrew root word which gives us the word amen amen the confirmation of truth. This is much more than coincidence.

Here you have a messenger of peace is going to tell the truth and would you know the outset.

Jonah didn't go to the Ninevites and talk to them about peace.

He went and told them the truth and they believe the truth and discovered peace. How unlike the messengers of God supposes messengers of God today who run around talking about peace but leave out the truth and people do not find then peace with God.

He goes as the messenger of peace to tell them the truth you've got 40 days and if you don't repent your dad he will literally live out his name but he really doesn't want to. Does he. And that's what we remember. Let's not be too hard though. On this dove before we know all the facts. It will discovered in our next session what it meant to go to the Ninevites.

The people renowned for their brutality. So it's fairly easy to outline what happens in this brief biography on my sermon outline my sermons by these titles, but it's fairly obvious and easy five points. Point number line is see John arrive. Point number two see Jonah swim point number three.

See Jonah fly point number four. See Jonah preach .5 see Jonah Powell. Let's talk about some key lessons quickly that are sort of lying out of the open factor circulating around in your mind that I want to at least get them down, and in any some some lessons learned from this man. At the very outset first. Be alert. God has delivered his word to us as well. Have you thought about the fact that the word of the Lord has come to you to enhance your holding it in your lap.

You say on my job prophet that either are not the son of a prophet infected.

One man said I even work for nonprofit organizations, but the truth is, God has spoken. He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways but he has spoken unto us in these last days through by his son.

We hold in our laps. I hold in my hand the words of the prophets of old and the words of Christ, in the words of Christ in and through his apostles. Be alert. God has spoken the word of the Lord has come to us as well and he has given us all that we need. Paul wrote to Timothy in second Timothy 316 and 17 all that we need to be equipped for every good work. Be alert to what God has spoken you through his word. It will equip you for life. Secondly, be encouraged. God can use anyone and anything to accomplish his will. When I watch God use pagan sailors the storm at sea plant. He'll even use a worm that's encouraging to me that to you. He will use a stubborn prophet to this is the grace of God about to be revealed in living color in and through the life of this prophet, so be encouraged. Thirdly, be careful because past obedience does not guarantee future obedience.

I agree with as I have studied red books just to prepare for the study of this particular Old Testament book.

I agree with those believe that Jonah was more than likely an old man when this occurred, his greatest test was reserved for his later you much like Daniel who many believe was around 85 to 90 years of age when he was thrown to the lions. So Jonah has served God for many years. Faithful as a prophet. He's Rob's shoulders with Elisha. He's more than likely taught a course or two in the schools of the prophets, nobody would have been surprised to learn. Jonah was the one who received the word of God.

Jonah was the one who is given is incredibly dangerous assignment difficult commission from God. John was the man years of faithful ministry past obedience doesn't guarantee future obedience friendly.

I think Jonah would've been somewhat embarrassed to know that 3000 years later here we are embarking on a closer scrutiny of his actions and his emotions, his pride is failure is fear when you be. I think it be embarrassed if it were about to pour over every word we can dig under every stop working to explore every corner and crevice of this man's life. Think about it.

He had he'd years of faithful service as a prophet of God, and we have one verse in second Kings, but he has a few months of failure and we got an entire book on that, but I'm reminded of God's purpose.

One of them giving us the Old Testament record. Paul said these accounts were given to you as an example. First Corinthians 10 six. In other words there to teach you what not to do and they will also teach you what to do and most often we learn by those so God gives us the whole story. Frankly, I gotta take this to you at the outset. I'm grateful that God didn't give us a book on Jonah successes in one verse is failure. I'm glad he turned around and gave us a detailed description of why how God had to communicate to as was also in other words, here's a here's a book for Saints like you and me get it wrong. But here's also a book to warn and amaze an original and challenge us to get it right. This testimony is even more profound years of faithful service in the past. Do not guarantee faithful service future.

None of us none of us have reached a yet so be on be encouraged. Care with that we bring this lesson to a close were just getting started with this series from Jonah here on wisdom for the hearts Stephen Davey will be bringing you the rest of this series over the next several broadcasts between now and the next time were together with you. I hope you'll take advantage of a very special offer that we have right now. Stephen has a hardback book that contains his practical and pastoral exposition of Jonah. We want to make this resource is accessible to you as possible so during this series, it's available to you for the amount it costs us to have it printed. There are two ways for you to get your copy, go to our website which is wisdom online.org you'll find a link to this resource right on our homepage. You can also call us and we can give you information over the phone. The number here at the wisdom international office is 86 648 Bible 866-482-4253. Ask about the Jonah block when you call well. Thanks again for joining us today were so glad you were with us and I hope will be with us for the rest of this series will resume next time here on wisdom

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