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You Can't Keep a Good
"Above anything else," Jackie Robinson said, "I hate to lose."
On April 15, 1947, Robinson made it to the "show." He became the first
black man to wear a Major League uniform, destroying the color barrier
in professional sports.
In his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he hit .297, sent 12
over the fence, and lead the league with 29 steals. He was also the National
League Rookie of the year. Two years later they named him the National
League's Most Valuable Player and he won the batting title with a .342
average. 1949 was his first of six appearances in the All-Star game.
During his ten years with the Dodgers, he helped them reach the World
Series six times. Robinson had a career batting average of .311 and was
inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.
Did you also know that Jackie Robinson was court-martialed from the
Army and that he dropped out of college?(From Fresh
Illustrations) Failure doesn't have to be fatal, a lesson Jonah learned
while he was surrounded by a fish's digestive juices.
Last week as we left Jonah, he was a dismal failure. He tried to out
run God and conspired with his shipmates to try to out-row Him too. Neither
worked. Finally, those on board the ship tossed Him overboard into the
storm-tossed sea. It appears that it is over for Jonah, but its not. Let's
continue the story by rejoining our text, Jonah 1:17-2:10.
Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach
of the fish three days and three nights. [2:1] Then Jonah prayed to the
Lord his God from the stomach of the fish,  and he said, "I called out
of my distress to the Lord, And He answered me. I cried for help from the
depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.  "For Thou hadst cast me into
the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All
Thy breakers and billows passed over me.  "So I said, 'I have been expelled
from Thy sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.'
 "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed
me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.  "I descended to the roots of
the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But Thou
hast brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.  "While I was fainting
away, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer came to Thee, Into Thy holy
temple.  "Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness, 
But I will sacrifice to Thee With the voice of thanksgiving. That which
I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord."  Then the Lord
commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.
Even in his darkest moment,
God was still there.
Jonah 1:17 And
the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the
stomach of the fish three days and three nights.
•"And the Lord appointed. .
Jonah probably didn't view
the fish as God's grace, but it was. The fish was not punishment, it was
a biological submarine prepared by God to sustain Jonah's life.
In the beginning, I'm sure
Jonah was resentful, like the poet who had the dream where he noticed only
one footprint in the sand during difficult times and later discovered "'The
times when only ONE set of footprints were made, My child, were the times
I CARRIED you!'" Jonah came to understand that God is a gracious God.
Jonah 2:1 Then
Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, He
blames God for his troubles in verses 3-4. He complained about his trials
in verses 5-6a. It couldn't be much worse for Jonah. He was at the "roots
of the mountains" a poetic way of referring to the bottom of the ocean.
But notice the dramatic turn-around in Jonah's attitude in verses 6b-7.
Thou hast brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 "While I was
fainting away, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer came to Thee, Into
Thy holy temple. Verse
8 is proof that you can't keep a preacher quiet.
Jonah 2:8 "Those
who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,"
A miniature sermon at the end of his prayer, then in verse 9, we seek a
rededication of sorts. Jonah 2:9"But
I will sacrifice to Thee With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have
vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord. "
•"Then Jonah prayed. . ."
God miraculously cared for
Jonah. Even when he tried to outrun God and conspired with others to try
to out-row God, he remained in the palm of God's hand. And while he was
in the belly of the fish, Jonah rested in the palm of God's hand.
When I was a little boy,
I would hold my father's hand as we walked together. I was always amazed
at how his large hand swallowed mine. How big and strong is our heavenly
Scientists estimate that
there are around a hundred billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Yet Isaiah
45:12 says they were made with His hand and Psalm 147:4 says that God knows
exactly how many of them there are and that he calls them by name.
The oceans have a total volume
of 322,280,000 cubic miles of water, yet Isaiah 40:12 says, that God measures
the waters of the earth in His hand.
The earth is almost 8,000
miles around, with a total surface space of 196,950,000 square miles, yet
in Psalm 95:4 we learn that God holds it in the palm of His hand.
Just a few seconds of meditating
on these amazing facts gives me a new appreciation for God's ability to
accomplish what his grace motivates Him to do.
Jonah 2:10 Then
the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.
•"Then the Lord commanded. .
The God that "hurled the
wind" and "appointed the fish," commanded the fish to vomit him on the
shore-and it did. Jonah stood on the dry land, cleaned himself up and began
walking to Nineveh, where God told him to go in the first place.
Next week, we will rejoin
Jonah on his journey, but before we dismiss this morning, I want to remind
you that as it was with Jonah, it has been with others, and so it can be
with you. Whatever difficulty you're facing, just remember, You Can't Keep
a Good Man Down
LINCOLN was defeated for
the state legislature in Illinois in 1832. He was defeated for Congress
in 1843. He was defeated for Congress again in 1848. In 1855 he ran for
the Senate and was defeated. He was on the vice presidential ticket in
1856 and lost again. He ran for the Senate in 1858 and was once more defeated.
He became president in 1860 and lives on in history as one of the greatest
presidents of the United States.
(Jonah: Meeting the God of the Second Chance, p. 65.)
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
John Bunyan wrote Pilgrim's
Progress from Prison. You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
Job lost all that he had,
was near death yet said: "Though
He slay me, I will hope in Him."
Job 13:15 God restored to him more than he had before. You Can't Keep a
Good Man Down
King Jehoshaphat was out
matched in a battle, he had no hope, instead of fleeing he trusted God. "and
he said, "Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat:
thus says the Lord to you, 'Do not fear or be dismayed because of this
great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God's."
(II Chronicles 20:15) You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
Jesus knew he was born to
die. He said: "for
just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster,
so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of
the earth." (Matthew
12:40) He submitted himself to the will of God. Yes, he died, but he arose. "And
he said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene,
who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the
place where they laid Him."
(Mark 16:6) You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
You may feel like you are
drowning in your problems. You may be down, but you are not out. As He
did with Jonah, God is caring for you. By God's grace: You Can't Keep a
Good Man Down.