May 23, 2021

When I challenge his will, God responds

Bible Text: Jonah 1:1-16 |

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Those with a strong will, a rebellious streak, or who like to challenge authority will find a like-minded character in the prophet Jonah. Sadly, people who claim special status from God and look down on unbelievers will also identify with him, as will know-it-alls who claim to know exactly how God works in the world and how he feels about people. Jonah was on the wrong side of so many things. 

Among the twelve Minor Prophets (Hosea to Malachi in the Old Testament), Jonah stands alone as a biography of a prophet rather than a record of his prophecies. Though it is a biopic, what is truly remarkable about this short book is what it says about God, not Jonah. Despite Jonah’s stubborn refusals to get in line with God’s will, he is nevertheless the recipient of God’s relentless mercy toward him. The surprising twist in this short narrative puts the spotlight squarely on God’s kindness in the face of the prophet’s repeated failures.  

There’s awesome news in that for us. We, like Jonah, fail constantly. As we approach the book, we’ll ask if, in any way, our lives reflect the poor decisions and rotten attitude that Jonah displayed, and then we’ll be confronted with the choice to lean hard on the God of second, third, fourth, and fifth chances as he pours out his relentless mercy and love on us. 

Sermon Notes

The God of Second Chances (Jonah)
When I challenge his will, God responds
Todd Dugard // Jonah 1

If I insist on challenging God’s known will for me, he will respond in order to get my attention.

When I challenge God’s will…

…I hear and understand his Word (v. 1-2)

Some people are troubled by the things in the Bible they can’t understand. What troubles me are the things I can understand.

…I refuse to obey it (v. 3a)

…I have no conscience about that choice (v. 5b-6)

…I dig my heels in even as he pushes on me (v. 7-12)

And God responds by allowing …

…me to challenge him (v. 3b)

…circumstances that impede my plans (v. 4-5a)

…people around me to be affected by my choices (v. 13-16)

…a way out despite my continued stubbornness (v. 17)

Matthew 12:40–41