I am beginning a new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church in Augusta, Georgia, where I have been serving as interim pastor for the last 10 months. There will be four sermons, but I want to work my way slowly through this “minor prophet’s” book.
Although there has never been a more reluctant missionary than Jonah, the book gives us much more than simply his running away from God or just a story of his being swallowed by a sea creature. His story is really verbal orthodoxy being contradicted by behavioral heterodoxy. He seemed to believe the right things. But his life did not reflect his professed faith. Which is a condition, I suspect, which characterizes most (if not all) of us. Let’s begin looking at chapter one of Jonah and make some observations:
23 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah son of Joash king of Judah, Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years. 24 He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit. 25 He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.
It seems probable that Jonah was a disciple of Elisha and succeeded him as prophet. He lived during the reign of Jeroboam II and was a statesman in the northern kingdom of Israel.
We read that “the word of the Lord came to Jonah . . .” God commissions him for a task. If you are a Jesus-follower, you have been commissioned for a task. What would you say is your TASK for today? (to be continued)