We're starting a 4-week series that will take us through the book of Jonah. It's a remarkable book. You can read all four chapters in very little time; but I should warn you, these chapters are packed. There's a hard calling, disobedience, the sovereignty of God, worship, grumbling, and the the most amazing revival the world has ever seen.
Jonah is an interesting guy, not because he's so amazing, but that he looks a little too much like us. He has a call but he doesn't want to obey. He's lazy. He's a grumbler. He thinks he knows better than God. He's self-absorbed. And he really struggles to love the people God loves.
This book reminds us that it's better for us to say yes when God calls. It's better for us to serve with joy when God allows us to take part in his mission. And we see that no matter how disobedient we become, God is still there. We can't run away from him.
We'll also see that his will is done and often in unique and unpredictable ways.
Take the mariners for example. They were doing their thing, headed to Tarshish when a lazy stranger buys passage aboard their ship. When a serious storm hit, maybe the most serious of their lives, they cried out to their various false gods. Afraid of death, they found the one guy who can tell them about the Lord of Salvation sleeping, caring only for himself. After they woke him, Jonah explained that he was trying to outrun God. Jonah asked that they throw him overboard and end his life. The mariners were afraid but after praying that God would forgive them of this sin, they did it. The storm stopped, the mariners saw the hand of God, and praised the Lord. They made vows to God and believed. Even in Jonah's disobedience, God's message was proclaimed and lost people were saved. God used Jonah's attempt to run to save people. God is remarkably sovereign.
Many of us have a call to proclaim the gospel to the lost people of Salt Lake, specifically the west side of Salt Lake. Many of us are like Jonah. We're lazy. We try to run. We are self-absorbed. We are more likely to make excuses than to obey. And we struggle to love the lost people God loves.
Church, it's my prayer that God will speak to us through this series in the book of Jonah. I know he's already working on my heart. I see the ways I've been making excuses (our way we run from God and his call), but I'm also seeing the sovereignty of God.
I hope you'll join us for this series, starting July 12th.
Soli Deo gloria!