Sovereign Preparations – Pastor Stacey Shiflett

Sovereign Preparations

Jonah 1:17; 4:6, 4:7, 4:8

Intro: Four times in this short book we find that God prepared something.

PREPARE: to count, reckon, number, assign, tell, appoint,

Here we find four things that God prepared in order to perform His will in Jonah’s life.

(God prepared a whale, a watermelon, a worm and a wind)

These Sovereign Preparations can be:

  • Big (whale) or small (worm)
  • Slow (three days) or fast (one morning)
  • Obvious (whale, gourd) or not obvious (wind, worm)

All four of these Sovereign Preparations were:

               A. Intentional – God prepared them; they were no accident

               B. Instructional – God was using them to teach Jonah

               C. Inciteful – he didn’t miss them; they were effective in producing the desired effect

I. Preparations that Change Direction – 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish…

God had to put Jonah through Whale University to get him to change directions.

God had clearly told him to go to Nineveh; he went in the opposite direction.

A place of loneliness, darkness, weakness, helplessness produced repentance.

God knows how to change rebellion into repentance.

God knows how to change disobedience into obedience.

God knows how to get our will to align with His will.

II. Preparations that Create Delight – 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd,…

Verse 6 says that God prepared a gourd and made it to “come up over” Jonah.

This preparation was:

               A. Unexpected – he made his own shade, but God made the shade even better. (see shadow)

               B. Undeserved – vs. 1-3 Notice his horrible attitude; yet God prepared the gourd.

               C. Unrequested – Jonah didn’t pray for it or ask for it; God just gave it to him

III. Preparations that Cause Disappointment – 4:7 But God prepared a worm…

Job had the right attitude – the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.

Jonah had the wrong attitude – he got angry at the difficulties.

Sometimes God allows us to experience loss in order to remind us where it came from to start with.

His victory was turned to vulnerability.

Notice the wording: the worm “smote” the gourd.

Sometimes we let the little things completely destroy the big things.

It withered: to make dry, wither, be dry, become dry, be dried up, be withered

Also: confounded; ashamed

How many timed does God prepare things in our life to humble us?

IV. Preparations that Correct Desires – 4:8 … that God prepared a vehement east wind;…

Jonah struggled with misplaced priorities, just like many of us sometimes.

He had pity on the gourd (vs. 10) but none on that city full of dying people.

The Bible says the sun “beat upon the head of Jonah.”

How many times had God had to prepare things in our lives to beat some sense into our heads?

God was trying to change the wrong way he thought.

He couldn’t quit thinking about dying long enough to think about others living.


I Corinthians 2

  • 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
  • 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
  • 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
  • 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
  • 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
  • 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
  • 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
  • 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.