First Base Jonah 1:1-3 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. (ESV)
Second Base God tells His prophet, Jonah, to go and preach to wicked Nineveh. Instead, he runs away from the Lord to go to Tarshish. He thinks he can escape the presence of the Lord by changing his geographical position. How foolish! (Source: The Bible Panorama)
Third Base Former Baltimore Orioles Manager, Earl Weaver had a rule that no one could steal a base unless he gave the steal sign. (Sermon Central Illustrations – Marty Masten)
Home Plate Jonah is a prophet of the northern kingdom of Israel in about the 8th century. We don’t know much about Jonah before the Lord calling him to go to preach to the citizens of the wicked city of Nineveh which lies on the eastern bank of the Tigris River, across the river from the modern-day major city of Mosul. We all know his story by heart how he fled from the Lord’s call by boarding a ship bound for Tarshish. We remember the vivid descriptions of Jonah being swallowed by the great fish God prepared to put him back on track. Now I am not a fan of sushi but scientists have stated there is always some air in the stomach, and, as long as the animal it has swallowed is still alive, digestive activity will not begin. Once he was hurled back onto the beach from which he fled, he was ready to deliver the message of the Lord. Manager Weaver was frustrated with Jackson for stealing 2nd base without getting the steal sign because Weaver had a plan. He explained to Jackson that the next batter was one of his best power hitters [Lee May] and when Jackson stole 2nd it left 1st base open and the other team intentionally walked Lee, thus taking the bat out of his hands. Jonah by deliberately running away from the call of the Lord was possibly forcing the Lord to go to plan B. However, the Lord called Jonah a 2nd time and this time Jonah answered the call. The result – the people of Nineveh including the king repented and the city was spared. Manager Weaver saw the whole ball game [the BIG picture] but because Jackson was focused only on the pitcher and catcher, an opportunity to score was missed. The Lord saw the BIG picture because He is the architect of all that takes place in His creation and things were going to go according to his plan with or without Jonah. Anytime we have a problem and the solution isn’t going as planned we need to do what Jonah did the 2nd time – learn to see the BIG picture from the Lord’s view. Ask, “What is God doing here? What’s the bigger perspective?” Then we’ll be able to face our problems in faith.
The Final Out Lord today we need to step back from our busy lives and examine the BIG picture you have drawn across the landscape of our lives. Give us the drone view from your perspective so we will have a better understanding of the circumstances we find ourselves in at the very moment. We must be able to say like the Apostle Paul, “what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel,” Amen (Phil 1:12)