Jonah 1:1-4-11 ~ Revelation 5:1-14 ~ Psalm 133:1-3 ~ Proverbs 29:26-27
Today is the 14th day of December. Welcome to the Daily Audio Bible. I am, of course, Brian. It’s great to be here with you today for another step forward. Not that many more steps, friends, before we reach the end of the year. I can’t believe it but it’s true. We’ve been kind of sailing through a lot of territory as things speed up here toward the end of the year, not only in our lives because of the holidays, but because of the shortness of the books that we’re moving through and today is no different. We begin today a new book in the Old Testament, the book of Jonah.
Introduction of a New Book (Old Testament)
Jonah is a book of prophesy that has a twist. Jonah was a man in the 8th century BCE, so a long time ago, who lived just north of Nazareth in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign for Jeroboam II. Although he was a prophet, his mission was not to call Israel to repentance, nor was it to forecast the destruction of Israel’s enemies. His mission was a unique one that he wasn’t excited about at all. His mission was to go to the land of Nineveh, enemies of God, enemies of Israel, and call them to repentance. Of course, like I just said, Jonah was not excited about that idea at all and his pride and fear very quickly had him on a ship sailing in the other direction. He’s way up in the north in the Galilee and he comes all the way to the Mediterranean coast and Japha, which is still a city today just outside of Tel Aviv, and he gets on a ship and he goes in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Of course, the story of Jonah is a famous one. Jonah ends up in the belly of a whale and after three days of repentance he is spit up on the shore alive.
So there are obvious foreshadowings of Jesus in this story and there are also obvious parallels to our own lives. When we allow fear and pride to lead us, this fear of man that we were talking about yesterday, when we allow this to rule and govern us and lead us into disobedience, well then all we can do is find ourselves on the run. But running from God, not only is it stupid, it’s impossible. God loves us enough to never stop pursuing us and although Jonah found himself in the belly of a whale, that whale became his salvation. He would have drowned for sure in the open sea in a storm and although the journey must have been unspeakably uncomfortable and gross, God used the whale to deliver him alive and well on the shore, giving him a second chance which he takes.
There are a lot more nuances to this as we get into the story, but we may find our journey similar. It is important to consider the fact that maybe God is not punishing us. Maybe we’re in the belly of the whale and God is rescuing and saving us because we’ve been on the run and it’s not working.
So we begin, from the English Standard Version today, the book of Jonah, chapter 1 verse 1 through 4 verse 11.
Alright, the story of Jonah is riveting because it is so full of tension and drama and humanity, but it is like a mirror of our own lives in so many ways.
Jonah gets this call from God and he is invited to do something he doesn’t want to do. Part of that has to be the fear of man, like we were talking about yesterday. He does not want to go to Nineveh, God’s enemies, and call them to repentance. They are God’s enemies, so they are enemies of the people. If he goes there and calls them to reconciliation with God and repentance and they hear him and God spares them, then how is he going to go back and face the people? He can go back and say, “I just did what God told me to do,” but they are enemies. So there is that layer going on and then there is just the fact that he hates these people. He does not want them to be spared by God. He wants justice. He wants God’s mighty hand to fall and burn up the city and get rid of their enemies, so there is that layer going on.
It all conspires to put him on the run and he runs a long way, from Nazareth to Japha, which is a pretty good distance, especially if you don’t have a car and he didn’t, so it is a good way. He is already on foot on the run before he gets on a ship on the run to go further away from God, but God is having none of it. We know the story. It is really, really remarkable because God redeems Jonah. God could have been like, “Well, you got what you deserved. Now you are food for the fish,” but instead God redeems. God rescues.
There are times that we’re in the process of being rescued where we are still upset about the situation. Because being in the belly of a whale for Jonah had to be – I don’t even know how to think about what that would be like, other than probably unpleasant. Probably thoroughly unpleasant in every sensory way and terrifying, but here he is in this very uncomfortable, very weird place but it is also the thing that is keeping him alive. So Jonah gets spit up, back alive on dry ground.
God is always rescuing us. Sometimes we’re still thrashing in the rescue, like a drowning person who is panicking and the lifeguard or rescue forces come to extract a person, but it becomes dangerous for the rescuer because the person is panicking and flailing and thrashing and all they need to do is be still and be rescued. We do this stuff all the time.
Once Jonah is in the whale, he begins to pray. He knows what is going on and he gets spit up on the ground. So he still has to make the long journey to Nineveh and it is a long journey from the coast of the Mediterranean all the way across the desert to Nineveh, a long, long, long way. I imagine news of what was going on with Jonah probably started to spread and probably gave his message a lot more weight than it would have had, had he just gone. Had he just gone, he would have obeyed God and the people would have had the opportunity to repent, but the story of the whale, if that was making itself known around the countryside and got its way to Nineveh, well that would make people pay attention to what Jonah had to say.
When Jonah spoke, the people all the way to the king responded and the city was spared and Jonah is outside the city just fuming. He is so upset that he is like, “I just want to die!” It is so funny, but it is so tragic because it is so like our lives in all of the thrashing and all the things that we say. God’s message is ultimately, “This is not your call, little buddy. I mean, who are you to decide whether or not I spare these hundreds of thousands of people?” Why can’t I, who created all of this, invite anyone I choose to stop going on the path of destruction and return to a place that will keep them safe? Who are you to decide this?” God is just saying, “Why can’t I rescue people who don’t even know what is going on, who don’t know their right hand from their left? Why can’t I rescue them?”
It’s funny because he’s like, “Just kill me. I’m angry enough to die!” And what is he angry enough to die about? Because God asked him to do something he didn’t want to do. Oh, that is close to home there. God wanted him to go and rescue and be his voice to his enemies. Yeah, that is all through the Bible and that is all through our lives. So if we’re feeling like we’re in the belly of the whale because we know we’ve been on the run and we know there are some things we need to reconcile, there are some people that have become enemies that we would just as soon see lightning bolts cast upon so that they get what they deserve, but God is saying no, I actually want you to be part of the redeeming story in their lives, I want you to set aside what you think you know and stop this fear of man and swallow this pride that has poisoned you and I want you to be part of the redemption story, well, may we consider the story of Jonah as we proceed.
Father, we invite you into that. It is close to the bone on a number of levels for sure. There are a lot of layers here, but they touch us in the soft spots. So rather than continuing the run, we invite your Holy Spirit to come, rescue us, Lord. Reshape the way we’re looking at things, the way that we’re looking at our enemies, the way that we’re looking at those we fear, those that we have marginalized, and let us see that we don’t really have a say here. You choose who you want to redeem and you have come to redeem the world, so that means you have come to redeem those that maybe we’re not on good terms with or maybe that we’ve just had these attitudes toward, people groups that are just like, yeah, let’s do away with it, let’s just be done with it, when that may not be your plan of redemption. Help us, Lord, to pray for our enemies and love those who hate us and live like Jesus. Come, we pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Www.DailyAudioBible.com is home base. It’s the website. It is where you find out what is going on around here and we have these three items that are important right now:
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And that’s it for today. I’m Brian. I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
Community Prayer Requests and Praise Reports
Hey. I got behind major, but I finally caught up. Going on six years listening. Man, I’ve had a rough year and also I guess early summer I got in a fight and got stabbed behind the knee which crippled me and I lost everything, became homeless. There has been so much heartbreak and broken relationships that have come from that and stuff even before that event. I don’t know, but I need some teeth and I need reconciliation with people. I need a forgiving heart and I need others to forgive me. So please pray for me. Thanks.
Hi Daily Audio Bible family. It’s James, the teacher in LA, and this prayer is being sent to Rebecca from Michigan calling in about feeling lonely and concerned about being alone at Christmas and the holidays. Father God, I pray for Rebecca and for all the other single people in our Daily Audio Bible family, particularly those who don’t have a lot of close friends to spend that time with. Lord, I pray that first of all you would make your presence known to them, even as they hear this prayer, knowing that I wouldn’t be responding, Lord, if you hadn’t moved your Spirit in me to respond, Lord, that your Spirit in me is the same Spirit in them, that you are in all of us, that you are present to all us. I pray that they would feel your presence in this moment and all throughout the holiday season. I pray that they would learn to hear you and feel you in the stillness, Lord, and that in the time of being quiet and being alone, that they would be able to tune in to you more closely, get closer to your heart, hear what you have to say into their lives so that they can follow you and just get closer to your heart. In Jesus’ name, amen. Rebecca, if I lived in Michigan, my wife and I lived in Michigan, we would invite you over, but sorry about that. Yeah, do you have people you volunteer with or anything? See if they want to go do stuff with you, even if it is just inexpensive. Who knows? Love you guys. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hi everyone. This is Reginald M. from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. It’s just a little bit after 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon the 10th of December. My email address is KeepersoftheEarthOwner@gmail.com. Pastor Gene, thank you for mentioning me in your prayer request/message as Keeper of the Earth. Thank you for your prayer support. I thank you, everyone, for having prayed for my son. December 4th was his 5th birthday and it was the first birthday I was able to celebrate with my son in three years and it was a very nice day for the two of us to spend together, a couple hours. I also want to give you some advice from a heart filled with love. Pastor Gene, you’re always the majority no matter what the odds are against you, especially walking in obedience to Christ and you’re walking with Christ. Number two, there is something that I would consider the root principle. When Ruth was in the fields gleaning from the edges of the fields, she was still blessed by God and singled out by another man who was watching out for her. Being in that situation, I would be looking for more positive opportunity after another or one glimmer of hope after another and just trust God with the process completely and watch what he does for you as far as opening doors and maybe even getting you out of there sooner than you imagined. Have a great day everyone. I love you all. God bless. Bye for now.
Father, I come humbly in prayer before your throne once again because you’re Almighty God and the deliverer of all men. There are so many people among us who are hurting and in pain, with very serious problems, __________ and tears fall like rain. You said you keep in a skin bag each and every one of our tears. You said every hair on our head is numbered and you know the sum of all of our years. You said you had written down in your book every one of our parts before even one of them was ever formed and only you know our hearts. And on top of that, you offered us adoption as sons once our hearts had conformed so we come to you through Jesus, humble, tired and worn, walking by faith to this place we consider safe. But then we have all these problem that won’t go away, even though we cry out to you day after day. Like people with cancer and people who need a liver and so many other problems, Father, from which only you can deliver. Strengthen us, Father, so we can endure to the end and if our faith gets a little bit shaky, please revive us again and help us to see that when we’re under such strong attack, that it is really just the wicked one trying hard to turn us back. Help us, Father, to commit ourselves anew. Help us to surrender all completely unto you. BlindTony1016@gmail.com. I have to give a shout-out to Pelham and Molly. Didn’t you say that you all were about to have a baby around Christmastime? It is around time. It’s time for you all to check in, Pelham and Molly. Let us know what is happening with the baby report. And once again…
Hey Daily Audio Bible. This is Pelham from Birmingham calling. Just wanted to call. Apparently the Holy Spirit wants me to reach out to Mark from the Four Corners region again. I think he called like on the 5th, maybe a day or two after that, but he was battling addiction and an addiction to pornography. I’ve faced both of those things, so I feel. Man, you’re on my mind and I’m praying for you and you have the victory already. Don’t let the enemy lie to you. Exposing it like you’ve done and bringing light to it is the first step toward victory over that. I also just wanted to call because I need international prayer because I’m going to be a father any day now and I’m scared. I’m not sure. I definitely don’t know what it is going to be like and I want to raise up a wonderful child that is a world changer. I don’t deserve a child, but God in his grace has blessed my life so much. So pray for me and Molly. I just wanted to reach out. Hope everyone is doing great. Blind Tony, you’re on my mind as well. Thanks guys.
Hello. I’m calling from southwest Florida and I just want to thank everyone involved with the Daily Audio Bible. I’ve been listening for several years and I’ve never called in, but I feel like the enemy has been keeping me from doing that and today my husband said something. He said we need 1000 prayers for our son. I thought where can I get 1000 prayer warriors? And then I realized I could get more than 1000 through the Daily Audio Bible. So I’m asking you to pray for my son, Danny. He is a 29-year-old wonderful young man with a degree, very bright, but has just not found his way and is struggling with the things of the world. I just pray that he’ll surrender to God and give up all of those things that are holding him down. There is nothing we can do. We’re putting him at the foot of the cross, but I would so appreciate prayer warriors for my son, God’s will be done in his life. Thank you all so much. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Thank you.