You Can’t Run Away from God
“Jonah” is one of the most popular stories on the planet. Because of its familiarity, the deeper lessons are often lost. Jonah presents himself “poorly” to help us deal with our own wounds so God can heal us.
- Unhealed wounds spiral us down into despair.
- Call for help in the pit.
- Promise God that you’ll follow His purpose for you.
- Face the fear that something is unforgivable.
BIOGRAPHY of God
The story of Jonah might focus on mankind’s tendency to withdraw from God and experience anger, fear, and depression. But God’s character shines bright for us to see in this short story.
- The heart of God is always to rescue.
- Say “no” to your own comfort and “yes” to God’s compassion.
1. Discuss the irony of how God rescued Jonah by commanding a whale to swallow him. Sometimes the most difficult trials are allowed by God because He is protecting us from ourselves.
2. The Bible records 7 suicides. Find out the reason each took their life. Discuss how each person dealt with guilt, anger, fear, or depression: Abimilech (Jdg. 9:52-54); Ahithophel (2 Sam. 17:23); Samson (Jdg. 16: 25-30); Zimri (1 Kings 16:15-20); Saul and his armor bearer (1 Sam. 31: 4-5); Judas (Mt. 27:3-5).
3. Discuss the similarities between Jonah and Jesus. Read these passages and their significance in proving that both are valid: asleep during storm (Jonah 1:5; Mk. 4:38); sea became calm (Jonah 1:15; Mk. 4:39); preached for 40 days (Jonah 3:4; Acts 1:3); belly of fish or earth for 3 days (Jonah 1:17; Mt. 12:40).
4. Whatever happened to the Ninevites? God forgave them for their repentance, but the book of Nahum seems to teach us that the Ninevites fell back into their own pattern of sin more than a 100 years later. Read Nahum 3:1-7 and talk about the balance between God's compassion and judgment.
Applying the Word to Life
5. Is your heart to rescue or to throw away? We seem to live in a society that throws away “relationships” that become difficult. This week, will you rescue a broken friendship, a disillusioned marriage, someone who needs hope to face another day? Pray for God to fill your heart with compassion.
6. Is God asking you to leave your comfort zone in order to do something for Him? Say yes to God today. Right now!