Many believe the story of Jonah being swallowed up by a big fish as a fairy tale. Jesus certainly didn't as He referred to it and His literal 3 days and nights in the tomb. We read the story of Jonah this week.
Jonah 1: Jonah Flees the Presence of the LORD
1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me."
3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.
4 But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came and said to him, "What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish."
Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea
7 And they said to one another, "Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us." So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
8 Then they said to him, "Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?"
9 And he said to them, "I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land."
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, "What is this that you have done!" For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, "What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?" For the sea grew more and more tempestuous.
12 He said to them, "Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."
13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them.
14 Therefore they called out to the LORD, "O LORD, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you."
15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.
16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
A Great Fish Swallows Jonah
17 And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Things to think about…
1.Nineveh was the capital of the Assyrian empire that was oppressing Israel in Jonah's day. Surely God would not call Jonah (one of His prophets) to speak of His mercy to the wicked Ninevites! Jonah runs. Are there people that you just can't stand? Pray that the Lord gives you a change of heart regarding these folk, especially if they are outside of Christ. Why not invite them to church.
2.The location of Tarshish is disputed. Some say it was in Spain. If this is the case, it was in the exact opposite direction to where the Lord had called Jonah. Nineveh was inland to the east, Jonah heads west via the sea. What is the Lord speaking to you about that is making you want to turn and run the other way? Perhaps He is calling you to be reconciled with someone - perhaps when you last spoke it was not on the friendliest of terms.
3.Jonah is woken and says that he is a Hebrew and knows the God who made the sea and dry land. He had already told them that he was running from the Lord's presence, Jon 1:10. Johah says the only answer to stop the storm, "Throw me in the sea" Jon1:12. How does Jonah's action reflect on what we are called to do as 'living sacrifices' for Christ? Do you sacrifice certain things for the good of others?
4.Look at the fruit of Jonah telling the truth about God as Creator and the sea finally becoming calm after they do what Jonah asks. These mariners feared the Lord exceedingly, sacrificed to Him and made vows, Jon 1:16. These men obviously made it back to shore to tell the story, which brought the Lord more glory. My encouragement would be for you to try it for yourself and see what the Lord does in the lives of your hearers.
5.Jonah was three days and three nights in a great fish, Jon 1:17. Jesus said the same would happen to him as He would lay in a tomb at His death. Jesus believed it, let's do the same. Just like other parts of the scriptures we should not allegorise what the Lord tells as in plain narrative historical text.
CBC's Vision :- To be a growing biblical church community, significantly influencing our city and beyond, through intentional outreach, fulfilling our mission.
For Cell groups
"A day like no other" – reading 2 Peter 3:1-13.
1.Do you ever think about your death? What about the day of your death. What would you want to say to your closest family and friends at that time?
2.These are Peter's last thoughts and words to his hearers before he departs this world, 2Pet1:13-15. His focus is upon how they should live in the light of the fact that Jesus is coming back, 2Pet 3:11. Peter says the earth is reserved for fire, but people 'deliberately overlook facts', vss 5 and 8. What facts do they willfully overlook?
3.We know that Jesus spoke about His return in Matt 24. He said He will come like a thief. Nobody will expect His return. What would you like to happen before Jesus comes back, regarding yourself and others?
4.Pray our community especially as we lead up to Carols and the Christmas Day services. May many enter into the rest of Christ during this season where we celebrate the greatest gift to humanity. Why not invite someone along to these services!
1.Those finishing work and study. Pray for our Carols and Christmas Day services.
2.Pray regarding continuing fire danger again this week. Qld, SA and NSW. High fire danger alerts still around.
3.Pray for continued follow up rain across Australia.
4.Pray for those who have recently come to CBC that they settle into the fellowship.
5.Ministries as they finish this term– PlayPatch, Kids@Church, Recharge youth.
6.More Sunday school, RI and Recharge Leaders next year.
7.Our outreach initiatives as well as the Axiom podcast.
8.Sunday's messages. "A life on the run"" Jonah 1 in the morning and "White lies vs Murder" – 6pm Sunday night.
9.Finish "Bean Redeemed" coffee shop and podcast area.
10.Church finances to meet our expenses.
11.Our City and Country – Pray for revival over our city and the leadership of our country.
1.New people again on Sunday. Many visitors on Sunday night.
2.Praise God for the rain that fell yesterday!
3.Praise God for Peter and Recharge ministry this year.
4.Men's brekky on Sat morning – Thanks Tim Freeman for leading the ministry
5.Podcast area getting closer to being done.
6.Scotty Dunn had a successful operation – now recovering at home.
7.More people wanting to join as members at CBC.
8.Stanthorpe drought relief target $1500 has been achieved.
9.Sunday worship – great blessing. Thanks Josh and team.
10.Unity, peace and Christ's love over our church.
1.Backwell group - Hosting morning tea on Sunday morning.
2.Playpatch –Friday mornings – 9:30 – 11am for mums and bubs. See Carly Backwell for details.
3.Kids at Church – Primary school aged children finishes this Sunday morning.
4.Prayer meetings – 5:30am – 6:30am at church Wednesday and Friday mornings.
5.Recognition of service – To all our amazing ministry leaders, 15th Dec Axiom service – 6pm.
6.Carols service 22nd December – 6pm. Invite family and friends.
7.Christmas Day service – 9:00am – Wednesday 25th December.
Q. 7. What do we pray for in the first petition?
A. That God's name may be honoured by us and all men.
Bible Reference – Ps.8:1; Ps.72:17-19; Ps.113:1-3; Ps145:21;Is.8:13.
"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known" Jer 33:3