When God Speaks You Better Listen by James Merritt

WHEN GOD SPEAKS YOU BETTER LISTEN
Dr. James Merritt
Jonah 1-4
3-25-01

INTRODUCTION

1. There is an old saying that "truth is
stranger than fiction." Many times that is true. The
book of Jonah proves that very point. When a man
catches a fish, we accept that as truth. But if a
fish catches a man, we would think that is fiction.
Jonah is a story of truth that sounds like fiction.
One reason I know it is true is because Jesus Christ
believed it was true. He said (read in Matt. 12:40-
41)

2. Jonah is a very interesting character in the
Bible. If he were going to college today he would
certainly go to the University of Nevada at Las Vegas,
because he was the original "Runnin' Rebel." Jonah
got off to a bad start with God, and then did
everything he could to make it worse. First, he
resisted God; then he rebelled against God; and then
of all things he tried to run from God. I remember
one time Mohammed Ali was going to fight an upcoming
opponent and a newspaper reporter said, "Your opponent
has said that he's just going to get on his toes and
run from you the entire fight." Mohammed Ali just
smiled and said, "Well he can run, but he can't hide."

3. If there is anything that Jonah teaches us,
it is this: You not only can't hide from God, you
really cannot run from God. I love the story of a
little boy who kept riding his bicycle around the
block, and a police officer was sitting by the side of
the road and he watched this little boy ride around
the block about ten times. Finally, he got out of his
squad car and stopped him and said, "Son, you keep
riding around this same block over and over, what are
you doing?"
The little boy said, "I'm running away from
home."
The officer said, "Running away from home? How
can you be running away and keep going around the same
block?"
The little boy said, "Because my Mommy told me I
couldn't cross the street!"

4. In a real sense, we are all like that little
boy. You may think you can run from God, but you
really cannot. When God speaks and tells you to do
something, whether you think it's a big thing or a
little thing, you had better do it. Because if you
don't, your life will become just one catastrophe
looking for a place to happen. As we study the four
chapters of this book, we learn four very valuable
principles that show us the grief that comes from
rebelling against God, and the glory that comes from
obeying God.

I. Disobedience Brings Discipline

1. The story begins with a call of God on the
life of Jonah. "Now the word of the Lord came to
Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 'Arise, go to
Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for
their wickedness has come up before Me.'" (1:1-2) Now
the command seems simple enough. Jonah was to go to
Nineveh. It was indeed a great city. It was the
capitol of Assyria. The king's palace there cover ...


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