There is a blessing in the belly
Synopsis of sermon 3/21/10
Delivered by Bishop Walker III
Text: Jonah 1:15-17: 15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. 16Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. 17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Within all of us, there is a call. There is an assignment. There is something that God has ordained for our lives. Within all of us, there is a spirit of rebellion. It is over whether we want to accept God’s call. Whenever God calls us, we have a tendency to run from that assignment. People have often said this is a validation of an authentic. Everything within you will resist. Your flesh will always run from what the spirit of God wants you to do.
Understanding the Call from God
1. It is always to a particular person.There is Jonah 1:1 says 1Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,- Whenever calls, it is to a particular person. When God calls, he is very specific about who he is talking to. The bible says the Lord spoke to Jonah. Never miss this, because the last thing you want to do is move into someone else’s assignment.
2. It is a Call to action. Jonah 1:2 says 2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. – God speaks to Jonah and tells him to get up. Whenever God calls, it is a call to something. It is a call from apathy and complacency. You will never be called to sit or to be on the sidelines. God calls you to action.
3. It is to a particular place. God tells Jonah he wants him to go to Nineveh (also found in verse 2). God always calls us to solve a problem. God specifically indicates that your assignment is going to be in a particular place and in this case it was to Nineveh.
4. To a Particular purpose-This purpose is clear. Jonah was supposed to go to and cry judgment over Nineveh for 40days. God told Jonah to remind them that he was upset with them because of their iniquity. The story Jonah is an amazing story. God will do what he has to in order to get us into our assignment. The word of God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, but in verse 3, it says he went to Tarshish. Jonah 1:3 says 3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.- He runs from responsibility and accountability. The bible says as Jonah ran he found a ship in Joppa. Jonah got into the ship after paying the fare; he began to run from the very presence of the Lord.
5. It is Deliberate- Job is very deliberate about running from God according to verse 3. He makes a conscious choice to do the opposite of what God told him to do.
6. It is Directional- Jonah’s action is directional. Rather than going where God wants him to go, Jonah runs to Tarshish. Understand the relationship between Nineveh and Tarshish. Nineveh represents the challenge. Tarshish represents the comfort. Nineveh represents the assignement and Tarshish represents the place of complacency. Yet, Jonah pays a fare. What is interesting is he has to make, sidbursements.
Will have to make Disbursements-When you run from God, it will be costly. It will cost you money, it will cost you your family, and it will cost you your destiny. Many people reading this can testify that running from God can be costly.
7. Can cause you to go downward. The bible said Jonah fled form Tarshish and presence of the Lord. After paying the fair, Jonah went down into the ship. He is on a downward projector. Whenever you are running from God, it is always a spiral down. Everything will go down. Every relationship and every significant thing in your life will go down when you run from God. It is an amazing thing to watch, because it is disturbing.
8. Can be Disturbing- Here is a man who has an amazing assignment placed on his life. He wants to resist with everything in him. Jonah chooses to run from God and this is disturbing.
The thesis to this whole message is that God is after your yes. God will do whatever is necessary, until you say yes. God will do whatever he needs to do, until you yield to what he wants you to do. The bible says Jonah gets on a ship that ferries him away from the presence of the Lord. Many of you have gotten on some ships that said they will take you far away from what God wants you to do. What was your ship? Was it a relationship? Was it a fellowship? Was it a friendship? Whatever your ship was, it turned out to be a hardship. Any ship that you get on, that carries you from the presence of God, will always turn around and be a hardship.
The bible says they took Jonah on the ship and after accessing the situation, they had to throw Jonah overboard. The bible says Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish that he had prepared. For 3 days and nights, Jonah is in the belly of the whale. Jonah will discover that what we will discover, that even in places like this, where we don’t want to be, it is place of isolation (the belly of the whale). There is a blessing in the belly of the whale. God has you at a standstill. Why does God have us here? God says he has to hold you until you say yes to his will and yes to his way. It is not going to happen for you until you do what God has called you to do. There is a blessing in the belly.
I. Revelation of preparation
1. God is using this season to bless you. He is using this season to prepare you for something. Jonah 1:15 says15So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.-The men on the ship that Jonah gets on are ferrying across the water. They do well until Jonah gets on the ship. Jonah represents the disobedience and being outside the will of God. Now wherever Jonah goes, there is going to be chaos and storms. When you are out of the will of God, wherever you attach yourself to, you will bring storms to. They begin to access the situation after the storm come. They began throwing stuff over board to lighten the load so the ship would not go under. After throwing cargo overboard and recognizing that it is not working, they see Jonah is asleep on the ship that is about to go down in a storm. They wake him and ask him what he has done.
2. Jonah tells them that he is running from God and he wasn’t where God wants him to be. Jonah says if they want this thing to stop, they must throw him overboard. Jonah 1:12 says 12And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Jonah 1:13 says 13Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. – In other words, they tried to make it work without having to throw Jonah overboard. Consider this, maybe your problem is trying to tell you something. It might be telling you to throw it overboard, but because you think you can change your problem, you still trying to make something work that God never intended to work. Whenever you got people in your lives that are outside the will of God, they will bring storms and drama into your life. This is a time to release some folk off your ship. We have enough drama in our life already. We don’t need to be adding more drama to what we already got. We don’t need to take on excess baggage. Some people might think this is not Christian like. Should we throw people off of our ship? Some people have a Messianic Complex which means they think they can save everyone. If you need a nice way to throw people off the ship, you can simply say “God spoke to me and said to release you into your destiny.”
3. There is some of Jonah in all of us. God loves us in spite of our disobedience. God corrects us. When God disciplines us, he makes arrangements. Ships sail in deep water. They are in the middle of the The bible says they throw Jonah overboard. Know they are in the middle of the sea. Jonah 1:17 says 17Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. While you are mad at God, because he hadn’t shown up, notice that in the scripture they we are in the middle of nowhere, thrown off the boat into the sea, and he can’t swim, but the Lord prepared a fish for Jonah. God thinks enough of us that God will put a fish in the right place and the right time to catch our disobedient behind to hold us in a place until we get ourselves together. The belly is nothing more than a place to keep you. God kept us. He kept us from manipulating his decisions, he kept us from merciless debt, and he kept us from missing our destiny. Give him glory for keeping us.
4. It is almost like a sentence. Jonah is in the belly for 3 days. It is like God is saying, “I sentence you to 3days and 3 nights. I sentence you to yourself. “There will be season where God says, “I will sentence you”. Here in the belly of the whale, Jonah has to uses his opportunity to reconnect through prayer.
II. Reconnect through prayer
1. Jonah discovers that he is a painful position. There comes a time that have to own your moment.
2. By Taking responsibility for your laxness. Ex- It is our fault that our credit is bad. It is our fault we didn’t graduate. It is our fault that our life is in a mess. We can blame everyone else, but at some point, we have to take responsibility. Here in the belly of the whale, we reassess our life.
3. Time to reassess your life. This is when you realize that you have to look at yourself. Jonah 2:4 says 4Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.-He is at a place where he is disconnected from others and all he can only look to God. He always had people around him, but know he is at a place where he has to think about what he is going do with the rest of his life All of us come to a places where we evaluate the things we have done and the people in our lives.
4. Time to reconnect with the Lord- The belly is a powerful persuader. If it wasn’t for the things that happened to us, we would not have reconnected to God. Some of us need to go to jail. For them, this is the only way God will get us to say yes. Some of us need to get sick. This is the only way God can get us to say yes. God had to let us go bankrupt so we would know what it means to bring the tithe.
a. We realize that we have been chasing stuff. Jonah 2:8 says 8They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.-We have been chasing stuff missing his mercy. Jonah 2:9 says 9But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. – Translation: “Lord knows I am ready.” We are willing to do what he wants us to do. If we come out the belly, it will be because of us saying “yes”. We are going to go ahead and praise him while we are still in the belly and not wait until we come out! We are going to say, “Lord, you got my yes.”
b. When Jonah said yes, he was released into his purpose.
III. Released into your purpose
1. The belly was never intended to be a permanent resident. Don’t let people send you mail in the belly. We should be out by the time the letter gets there.
2. Verse 9 says “I’m ready!” Verse 9 is our yes. Jonah 2:10 says 10And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. – Jonah in chapter 1 starts with disobedience. Jonah gets a word from God. It is a specific word, to a particular place. It was a particular assignment. Jonah was told to go to Nineveh and he deliberately disobeyed God and went to Tarshish. He found a ship and went down into is after paying fare. He got on the ship with people who did not know he was out of the will of God. When the storm came, they recognized that he was the problem. He told them that he was the problem, he was thrown overboard, the storm ceased, and the ship went the other way. Jonah got on the ship in Tarshish, he got on from dry ground, and the ship begin to ferry.
3. God prepared a fish. Ships don’t sail in shallow water. When God called Jonah, God prepared a fish. He Jonah was going to run. He spoke to fish and told the fish to escort that ship. He told the fish to stay down, because he would need him later. The fish was instructed to follow the ship. The whale is following the ship. Note that some scholars say that the book of Jonah is not true, because I fish would not digest a human being. The missed the part that says God prepared the fish. God made the fish be able to do what it had never been able to do before. The fish is following the boat , so when they threw Jonah overboard, the fish is in the right place at the right time. If the fish is not at the right place at the right time, then Jonah is going to drown. God’s mercy and grace keeps us.
4. Jonah is in the belly of whale in chapter 2 and he is praying. He is talking to God, meanwhile the fish is moving. Remember in chapter 1, God spoke to Jonah. In chapter 2, we notice God is silent. Jonah is praying ( talking to God) , but you don’t see where God is talking to Jonah. Isn’t it amazing that you can tale to God while you are in the belly, but God is not talking back. Wonder why God is not talking in chapter 2? It is because God told Jonah what to do in chapter 1, so there was no reason for him to talk. He is not going to talk until he hears a “yes”. While we are talking to God, the fish is still moving. If you stop talking, your fish will stop, but as long as you are talking (to God), the fish is still moving. Why must the fish move, because Jonah 2:10 says 10And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.- Jonah was vomited on dry ground after he said yes in verse 9. This means God moved the fish to a place to spit Jonah up where he would not drown! God won’t leave you where he found you! What’s amazing is God still ain’t talking to Jonah, because he talked to him in chapter 1, but in chapter 2, God talked to the fish. God said he wasn’t speaking to Jonah yet. God told the fish what to do and the fish vomited Jonah up on the dry ground.
5. Jonah is reading this today. Jonah has been disobedient and has found themselves in the belly of the whale! Church folk can’t handle your vomit. They can’t handle the vomit that is on you! We have mess on us but our mess is a reminder of how far God bought us. God left a little vomit on us to remind us that we hadn’t done everything right, but we thank God for his grace and his mercy!
6. When God hears your yes… Jonah 3:1 says 1And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,- In other words, God wasn’t going to speak to us until we said “yes”- The Lord came a second time! He is a God of a second chance, when you mess up on your first chance, you don’t have to commit suicide or give up on your destiny. God loves you so much; he will give you a second chance. Ask Abraham; He got a word from God, messed up with Hagar, and got Ishmael, yet he got another chance. Ask Jacob; when he got Bethel. Ask the prodigal son who messed up and was allowed to come home. Ask Peter who denied Jesus, yet he got a second chance. This anointing cost us something. God is a God of another chance.