RAP SHEET 9/24/23
Sermon: 99 Problems
Scripture: Jonah 2
ICE BREAKER: What was your favorite subject in school and why?
This week, we continued our Rescue series in Jonah chapter 2. The second chapter narrates Jonah's prayer after he is rescued from drowning by the giant fish. The prayer is very visual and dramatic, detailing the process and Jonah drowning in the ocean.
Through the ordeal, Jonah is convinced his life is over and looks back toward God for help. Help comes, but not in the way he may have imagined.
Jonah's story is of a man who sinks further and further down, away from God's plan for his life. The text says that Jonah went DOWN to Joppa, then went DOWN to the ship, once in the ship he went DOWN to the lowest part of the vessel, and finally he was thrown DOWN into the sea in order to save the crew.
Jonah teaches us an important lesson - when we run from God, our lives naturally head down and down and down, further from God and his purposes.
Eventually, Jonah is swallowed by the fish and drug to the bottom of the sea. Jonah calls it "Sheol" which is the underworld. He describes it in primitive terms as the "roots of the mountains." In other words, Jonah prays this prayer from the literal deepest part of the world! This is what we call:
Life lived apart from God inevitably ends up at some form of Rock Bottom.
However, our perception of Rock Bottom is often only negative. In Jonah's story, we see that he learns life's most important truth - that "Salvation is from the Lord." He did not come to this conclusion in his theological training or by sitting in the temple... Jonah learned that truth at Rock Bottom!
Scripture affirms over and over that God is patient with us. He is pursuing us and wants us to come back to relationship with Him! It often takes a rock bottom experience for people to quit going "DOWN, DOWN, DOWN" away from God, and to finally look up and realize who God is and what he offers!
Is there a time that you experienced Rock Bottom in your life? What was that like and what did you learn from that time?
Have you ever felt too far from God for Him to still pursue you?
How have you seen Jonah's story relate to your own life?
Spend some time thanking God that he meets us at Rock Bottom! If you are still running from God, ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to how much your Heavenly Father loves you.