Let Him Choose

Jun 4, 2023    Leah Bussert

Stories shape your character 

What Where When Who 

30 second cliff notes - you probably know the story but I won’t assume

God tells Jonah to go tell some violent people to repent or God will destroy them

Jonah gets in a boat and runs away

He gets eaten by a big fish

He gets spit up, then decides to obey

The people repent and are not destroyed

Jonah 1:1-2 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai:  “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

Jonah is CALLED by God to Go Tell the Truth 

A command was given. Many other prophets could send messages to other countries but God asked him to go personally. 

KNOW God’s Will:

Keep seeking in His Word

Network for wisdom 

Obey what God has revealed to you

Want what He wants 

KNOW God’s will:

Keep seeking in His Word - He won’t tell you to do something contrary to His Word. It might not be something you’d naturally do (it's often not) but it will be in line with His character which is all about salvation and Glory to HIM not US. Probably impossible with God’s help. Keep wanting to be in His will and that’s where He wants you

Network for wisdom - prob 11:14 says there is safety in a multitude of counsel. Not asking Reddit but asking a few true Jesus followers that you trust and will tell you Truth. Not always just THE pastor, but friends that know your heart and God’s voice 

Obey what God has revealed to you - learning Japanese - not assuming the outcome, but step by step seeing relationships that form, connections and opportunities to give Him glory. If it was only for this ONE conversation (with an old friend, with tutor), the obedience would have been worth it. ONE step at a time Indiana Jones

Want what He wants  - Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Check your motives before Him - Am I willing to want what He has for me? Not a free pass to follow feelings or “I’ve always wanted to be mermaid” 

Jonah had obeyed the Lord before when giving a prophetic message of blessing to Israel in 2 Kings but then he encounters an assignment he couldn’t accept.

Jonah 1:3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.


Jonah immediately was like “Nope!”

The ready way is not always the right way - The Moody Bible Commentary

Is there something you say “I’ll do anything but ______” 

Story: how dare you say you won’t


What is your Nineveh? Where God wants you to represent and look like Him but it’s difficult 

There’s so many reasons we are tempted not to choose what God has asked us to do. This is where we are going to park for a bit this morning.

Choice is a gift God gives us, it works best when we choose to let Him choose.

God’s got His economy. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like there is much choice. This is part of being human and on this earth. You’ll wrestle with “good” but not “God”

There’s a difference between wrestling with God’s calling and running from it. 

God wants to help direct you today. There’s no reason to walk out of here confused.

Why does God allow us to go through the long struggle of choosing righteousness? 

Mary’s obedience. 

No one is the boss of your mind except you. 

Mark 12:30 

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 

That means it is a choice. Be so dependent on God that you’re intertwined and His desires for you become your desires for you

Reasons we say “Nope”

We are making a judgment 

It will affect our image 

I need to do more “Research.” 




Too costly. 

I just got this freedom. 

Your freedom is not for you to fritter away but it is to be wielded to enable God’s redemption in and around you.

But God has a purpose for you. Don't sacrifice your purpose on the altar of comfort, at the expense of your destiny and contentment

You’ll do things with the Lord you never thought and you’ll like it because He designed you to be about His work.

Jonah finds himself on a boat drifting away from God’s plan and purpose.

Drift—the decision we make by not deciding—is a sure way to end up lost.

Jonah 1:4-5 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 

Some of us would rather run away in a boat that is getting tossed and beaten rather than obey and then we WONDER why life isn’t blessed.

6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

The Bible mentions other places.  HOW CAN YOU SLEEP?

Romans 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

God still worked in his disobedience 

6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

They asked Jonah to pray but did he? 

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

Even the non-believing sailors know it's unthinkable to try to outrun God

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

So they threw him into the sea. Jonah was so hard-hearted that he would have rather died in the ocean than help Nineveh. 

If we live to serve our own desires, we will cycle in and out of disappointment, despair and dissatisfaction. True satisfaction and security can only be found in relationship and on adventure with Jesus.  

Go on God’s adventure. 

Jonah 1:17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

He prays, finally

Jonah 2:9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you.

What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”

The mercy Jonah experienced when he called on God for help is the same mercy he preached to Nineveh. 

There’s hope: Jonah gets spit up!

Jonah 3:1-3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh.