Series: Towards the Full Stature, Your calling in life
Sun am 24th September 2017 – Kobus Swart
Jonah 1:1-17; Jonah: 2:1-9; (Matt. 12:40); Jonah 3:1-6, 10; Jonah 4:1-11; Acts 27; (Rom. 8:19-21, 28); Mark 6:45-52; (Col. 1:27); (Isa. 4)
This morning I want to talk to you about the storms that come into our lives, and how to deal with the storms that you and I face. Firstly you have to identity the storm in your life; you could be carrying a storm on the inside. How do we deal with it?
We will look at the book of Jonah. There is a masterplan for every person who is born on the planet. Here comes God with a direct word and plan, defining Jonah’s calling and ministry (Jonah 1:2). It was a commission, but how did Jonah respond? But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord (vs. 4). What does ‘Tarshish’ mean? It is an exotic place, it talks about adventure, a distance paradise and Jonah had enough money to pay for his self-will. One of the worst things we can become is obedient to self-will. How does that manifest in our lives? God calls you, commissions you to a specific task and direction, but you chose to go the other way. Often we will then face the following: The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up (vs. 4). Storms come into our lives and we eventually have to face the issues head-on. Jonah was ready to die rather than returning to God and admitting that he missed his calling. It takes a while sometimes for us to find out and get the word, understand the message and reconnect with the plan of God. His trip to this ‘paradise island’ was ended, but his calling was saved. God was not finished with Jonah. Read to verse 17.
Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish … (Jonah 2:1-9). Jonah’s prayer came from his meditations in the Psalms (Ps. 18:6; Ps. 120:1; Ps. 18, Ps. 42; Ps. 139; Ps. 5; Ps. 69; Ps. 30; Ps. 142). What does it mean to be in the belly of the fish? It is a place of confinement; it is a restricted place; a place where God has you and you cannot run away. Even Jesus referred to Jonah (Matt. 12:40). It is a true story! If you read it through the eyes of Jesus, it means death to self; death to self-will. God has you in a corner because you ran away from your original calling. Think about this and take it personally. “God, am I on course with Your master plan for me?” It may seem like the end of life, the end of hope, but what it really is, is the end of religion; the end of your religious excuses. “Jonah in the belly of the fish, Jesus in the tomb; confinement turns into concentration; illusion into hope; death changes to resurrection. Tarshish, a glamorous career in religion is no proper destination for any pastor” (Eugene Peterson). When you are stuck on your way to ‘Tarshish’, you are going to find out the truth and maybe not in a very pleasant way.
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord (Jonah 3:1-3). As a result the whole city repented and was saved from their wickedness. When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it (Jonah 3:10). Amazing what repentance can do, it can even change what God had in mind. Instead of Jonah rejoicing, it greatly displeased him (Jonah 4). How far can religious selfishness go?
See how God is in charge of creation, in charge of storms and wind (Jonah 4: 7-8).There are other incidents in the New Testament of people in a boat and storms hit them (Note Paul in Acts 27). Everyone on the boat was saved; nobody perished. God turns everything for good for those who love Him and are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28).
When Jesus was asleep in a boat when the storm arose, the disciples were in a panic and they woke Jesus up. Because He had peace on the inside, He just had to say, “Peace be still.” Immediately the storm subsided. Take this as a key. You can only rule over the storm in which you can sleep peacefully.
Then when the disciples were in the boat but Jesus was not in the boat, the storm ceased only when Jesus stepped into the boat (Mark 6:45-52). This creation of God is reacting. It may increase because all creation is in travail waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God (Rom. 8:19-21). We are going to see the signs increase in intensity and maybe see signs we have never heard of or seen before. The ‘boat’, in this case, refers to the Church, but the Church needs to find Jesus in the boat – in other words, Christ within; the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). Christ within will calm the storm on the outside. He must be in your ‘boat’; personally and corporately. Christ must be manifested worldwide in the ‘boat’. Creation is waiting expectantly for the manifestation of the Son in the sons. This message has to go out. It is not about conferences or shows or nice programs, it is about Him in the ‘boat’. Then the storms will stop. There will be a new heavens and a new earth. We do not yet fully know what that means. God is going to make all things new. He is going to clean the planet of all the mess and corruption. Isa. 4 is about the spirit of burning that is going to clean the earth.