Today we’re beginning a new sermon series on the book of Jonah. Jonah was a prophet of the Lord. He was a preacher who ministered the Word of God among the people of the northern kingdom of Israel under the reign of Jeroboam II, sometime around the 8th century BC. God commanded Jonah to go to “Nineveh, that great city” and deliver a message to that city from God. But Jonah refused to go. The rest of the story unfolds in the wake of Jonah's stubborn refusal to submit himself to the Word of God and the call of God in his life. It is a story of Jonah's resistance to learn lessons of God’s astonishing, relentless, sovereign grace. And it is a huge challenge to all of us to care for the salvation of the world, to care for those who are not like ourselves, and to care for the lost wherever we may find them.
The story of Jonah is not just history for the sake of history. The book of Jonah is a story intended to teach the reader, you and I, some very important lessons. Did Jonah learn those lessons? Are they lessons that we, too, need to learn? Let's look together as we begin the study of Jonah.