I can guarantee you have never heard the story of Jonah and the whale told like this before. In this sermon you will get all the classical wisdom from this story combined with stuff kids like such as vomit, smelly stuff, talking whale, and lot more.
You will have to listen to the podcast to truly appreciate this one of a kind sermon however I have included most of the transcript below…
Listen To The Jonah And The Whale Sermon
Jonah Runs Away
- Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jon 1:1-2)
So God has given Jonah a job to do, hasn’t he?
This whole city and is a big city. The people were wicked and doing really bad things. God wanted Jonah to go and talk to them about it.
But in verse three, Jonah rose up to flee under Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
- But 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. (Jon 1:3)
What a nong? (Aussie for foolish or silly person)
Hey, he is supposed to do something for the Lord and he didn’t do it, and in fact, he went in totally the opposite direction. He ran away.
He ran away from doing the things of God… he didn’t want to do it.
Big Tough Sailors Get Scared
Let’s see what happens to him as a result…
- But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. (Jon 1:4-5)
Do you know what mariners are?
Sailors! Argh me hearties…
They were scared.
You can imagine how scary this situation would have been. The ship was being tossed around to the point it was breaking up. That would have been scary to be on a ship like that, so they are on a ship that is almost broken in the middle of the sea. In the middle of nowhere.
- And they were afraid and cried out every man unto his God. And cast forth their wares that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it of them.
So when ships are in trouble, they throw all the heavy things overboard. They try to stop it sinking.
And they didn’t know about the real God. They were praying to any old God they could think of… hoping they get one, right?
But it wasn’t working.
Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship, and he lied down and was fast asleep. Reminds of the story of Jesus sleeping in the boat. (Mark 4:37-41)
- So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. (Jon 1:6)
None of their gods were helping maybe this guy’s God will work out for us.
- And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? (Jon 1:7-8)
- And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (Jon 1:9-10)
- Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And 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.(Jon 1:11-12)
- Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.(Jon 1:13-14)
- So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. (Jon 1:15-16)
- Now 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. (Jon 1:17)
Imagine Being These Guys
All of a sudden they knew that this God was the God who controlled the sea. They were scared they knew which God was the right guy now.
But put yourself in Jonah’s shoes. This is what happens when you walk away from the Lord.
This is what happens when you don’t do the things God wants us to do. Life gets hard and it doesn’t matter how many people try to help you out. These guys tried to row and row to get to land. That couldn’t help him.
Yeah, when you walk away from the Lord, Life gets tough and you make bad decisions. You even go in the opposite direction that the Lord will have you to go without even realizing probably.
And it doesn’t matter how many people help you while ever you’re walking against the Lord, you still struggle.
We must follow the Lord. Life doesn’t get better than this. Don’t make life tough for ourselves.
Now I Want To Elaborate On The Whale’s Belly For A Minute
Jonah is inside this great fish in its belly. We’ve seen finding Nemo. Well, you know the smart ones of us have.
In Finding Nemo… Nemo’s dad and Dory get swallowed up by a whale, didn’t they?
And Nemo’s dad was really scared. Remember… well he was scared of everything and Dory wasn’t. Man, he was scared…
But you know that it would have been worse than what it was in that movie. It would have been a real dark place. He was in the belly of a whale… yes – in the belly!
Parents are gonna love this… in the belly is where all your food gets smashed up.
At lunchtime show Mom… just munch up some of your food then spit it out on the plate.
That’s what he would have been inside the whale’s belly.
So it’s been the homework for your kids.
And… He would have been in this stuff… and the belly is where things go, just before…
You Go To The Toilet!
I don’t about you but have you ever had to go toilet after dad’s been in there? Nearly as bad as that. It would have been really smelly.
It would have been like when mom goes to the toilet. Have you tried that? You go in holding your nose or have your shirt pulled up over your nose.
Would have smelled like that in the whale’s belly. It would have stunk and he was in there three days in this smell.
Oh, man… That’s how bad it would have been.
And I’m telling you… When you walk away from the Lord, life gets tough. And life stinks. It does and the thing is when you have been in that smell for a while… you get used to it.
You don’t recognize it anymore. After a couple of hours, he wouldn’t have smelt it anymore. He would have got used to it.
I used to work at a place called the Wool Scour that was next door to the Abbatoirs. People used to think those places stunk and they did, but when you work there you get used to it.
We always wore the same clothes every day because we reckon once you got there you just stunk anyway, so you put the same clothes. Because once you’re at the work it didn’t matter.
Then I would ride my bike home, go for a walk, and so on.
However, on one particular day, I decided just to duck into the supermarket. I was used to the smell.
And there’s are a couple of lovely old ladies dressed up to the nines on their weekly shopping trip and I lined up behind them when one lady turned around to the other lady and said that’s disgusting.
Oh… So sometimes you can get used to a bad smell if you’ve been around it long enough, and if you walk away from the Lord, you stink. You get used to it, but other people know you stink.
So think of Jonah’s situation here. This is how he would have stunk having been three days, three nights in this smelly yucky belly of a whale.
Let’s See What Happens To Him…
- Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple. (Jon 2:1-4)
When things get bad… when you think you’ve done the wrong thing? Always turn back to the Lord, he is there to hear. This is what Jonah is doing now.
He’s crying back to the Lord.
- The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.(Jon 2:5-7)
Yeah, sometimes we’ve gotta hit rock bottom before we turn to the Lord. No amount of rowing… No amount of help from others will help until we turn to the Lord.
And you can imagine his condition I’ve already said he would have been all that yucky, gooey stuff in the whale’s belly, but he also would have been in all the water He would have been wet. It would have been a terrible state that he was in.
- They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy. (Jon 2:8)
This a good verse for the adults. If you observe lying vanities you forsake your own mercy. Don’t follow the ways of the world!
- But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land. (Jon 2:9-10)
And what did the Lord do after hearing this prayer? The Lord spoke to the Fish, and it vomited him out onto dry land.
Now I Just Want To Talk About Vomit For A Little While
Has anyone seen vomit before? Yeah…. we have recently haven’t we kids?
It came pouring out of Samuel a few weeks back. Oh, and it stinks too, doesn’t it? Yuck…
I just want to get another scripture. Two Peter Chapter 2 verse 20. But keep your finger in Jonah. We’re going back there.
- For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. ( 2 Pet 2:20-22)
A sow is a pig. Do you know how a pig likes to wallow around in the mud? The old pig loved the mud and you wash him off and get him all clean and he goes straight back into the mud again.
Well, that’s what it’s like walking away from the Lord. It is like a dog eating its own vomit. Oh man… have you ever tried eating vomit? You haven’t? You don’t know what you’re missing.
No… it’s tearable and vomit stinks.
I know when Sam was doing his best that Nathan was up in the bedroom and he said he had to block his ears because the sound of it was making him sick.
I was a bit closer and had to block my nose because it was making me sick. Mom was looking after him because moms like doing that sort of stuff.
But even the smell of vomit makes you sick, doesn’t it? Just makes you sick? Has anyone seen vomit and all the carrots and stuff? Where do all the carrots come from?
You know for lunch today we are having soup and carrots. (Just joking)
I really want to get it into your minds here… Vomit… It stinks!
If you have ever smelt it… it stinks and Jonah was vomited out of the whale. If we walk away from the Lord it is like eating our own vomit, doesn’t it make you feel sick?
I’m feeling crook in the guts… is it making you feel crook in the guts?
Well, even thinking about walking away from the Lord should make you feel crook in the guts, Amen.
The thought of it, but if you actually do it, it’s like eating your own vomit.
Sometimes we want to be something different. Now if only I was taller if only I had gray hair and looked wiser if only I had hair…
If only I knew more about the Scriptures. It doesn’t matter who we are we want something else. If only I was better at that… It doesn’t matter. God can work miracles with you the way you are.
Jonah goes into Nineveh, we will read here. He’d been in this smelly whale for three days, he would have stunk and he got vomited out.
He’d have had all these gooey stuff all over him. He got vomited out on the beach covered in sand. He would have looked sandpaper.
And they had no deodorant or anything back in those days. So he would have been smelly. He would have been tired and hungry. He would have been cranky.
Yeah, he’d probably washed himself off in the ocean the best he could, and yet he still goes as we read here to tell these people in Nineveh what to do, and they respond.
So you don’t have to be bigger, taller, better. Whatever, you just have to be who you are and do what God says and God will help it work.
But I wanted you to feel sick in the tummy with that vomit. I wanted you to feel sick in the tummy. Because that’s what it’s like walking away from the Lord. Life ends up being a real stinker.
Chapter 3 of Jonah.
- And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. (Jon 3:1-3)
It took three days to walk from one side of this city to the other. So that’s how many people lived there. So yeah, it was a really big city and remember that they were doing the wrong thing. That’s why Jonah was sent there by God.
- And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. (Jon 3:4)
Then Something Remarkable Happened
- So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (Jon 3:5)
Isn’t that incredible?
- For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. (Jon 3:6)
It doesn’t matter how rich you are or how important you are. Everyone’s gotta obey God.
- And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (Jon 3:7-10)
That’s amazing. If you ever think you’ve done the wrong thing, turn back to God. All you gotta do is start doing the right thing again.
It is so impressive how seriously these people took the warning of God. So much so that not only did the people fast and put on sackcloth the animals did, too.
This is an incredible turn around by these people. They were doing the wrong thing. They were evil, they were bad and the result of living a life like that is destruction.
But by turning it around…we would call it repent… by turning it around and doing the right thing and believing God they were saved.
That’s all we got to do in her life. Continue to do the right thing.
Chapter four we read about Jonah and his very disappointing attitude.
- But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. (Jon 4:1-3)
What A Dummy Spit
Has anyone ever sulked before?
I think we got experts in this room. He was sulking. He didn’t want them to be saved. He wanted to see the city wiped out. What a terrible attitude.
And he’s going crook on God saying… I knew it, I knew it, I knew you are a kind God and let them off the hook. I knew you are gracious, slow to anger, merciful and I knew you’d save them.
He’s having a dummy spit.
- Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. (Jon 4:4-5)
He wasn’t giving up. He is sitting on a hill overlooking the city to see what would happen.
40 days will be up soon. Let’s see if God wipes them out or not. Or is he really going to save them?
- And the LORD God prepared a gourd (big plant), and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
It’s really hot and it’s windy. God has made this plant go up over him in a night and he’s underneath this plant in the shade. It’s always nice sitting under the shade on hot days… so Jonah is really happy. He’s in the shade, thinking this is good.
- But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. (Jon 4:7-8)
He is really having a sulk now. It is the worst day of my life!!!! Ever heard someone say that before?
- And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jon 4:9-10)
60,000 people were in the city that God spared
God taught Jonah a good lesson here. If you care for this plant then why don’t you care for the 60,000 people in that city and their animals?
Who God created!
He didn’t have to do anything with this plant. It just sprung up, it was there one day and gone the next, whereas God took the time and the effort to create these people.
60,000 of them and they weren’t too bright… they didn’t know their left hand from their right. They were just simple folk. Shouldn’t you have compassion for those people?
This is how we should be in our walk in the Lord. Scriptures tell us to love one another and to care for each other.
It doesn’t tell us to call each other names, it doesn’t tell us to belt someone in the nose when we are losing at basketball, and it doesn’t tell us to pick on our brothers and sisters.
No, we are told to love them and care for them because God created them. You are special because you know God. You know the God that those sailors didn’t know.
Every now and then something will go wrong and you might do the wrong thing. So what do you do?
Just like Jonah called out of the belly of the whale and the people of Nineveh you call on the Lord and start doing what is right again.
Jonah wanted these wicked people to be wiped out but for us… No matter how bad society becomes God can deliver people out of it.
We have to remember that spiritually they don’t know their left hand from their right. But they are people who God has made and has been patient with and he is not willing for any to perish.
So we are to preach the word and Nineveh can repent so can many others.
You may also be interested in… What Does It Mean God Is Plenteous In Mercy?