June 17 - God's Love for the Nations (Jonah)
Prepare for Sunday morning worship using the guide below.
Nik Lingle will continue his class Talking Points this Sunday at 10:00am in the youth room. This class briefly addresses a variety of current issues in our society, applying a Christian worldview to each of these topics. This week we will discuss religious libery.
Jonah 1:1-3; 3:1-5; 4:1-11
1:1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 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.
3:1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” 3 So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days' journey in breadth. 4 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” 5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered.8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Let me introduce Jonah. Many of you know the story from earlier years as a story about a great fish swallowing Jonah as he tried to flee God. This story is quite unique among the prophets as it more about the hardened character of Jonah than his words. As you read Jonah, you will quickly see the repeated irony of Jonah's reluctance to obey God contrasted with the pagan nation, Nineveh's quick repentance before God. Undergirding all this is a God who loves the nations and wants his name known through his people to the world. In the end, we will see God's care and concern for the salvation of all the nations and even his ungrateful prophet, Jonah.
Review and Apply
Why is it important to believe that Jonah is not a legend, fable or parable?
How does Jonah encourage us to see trials in our lives? What questions ought we to ask?
How does it encourage you that God asks Jonah again to go to Nineveh?
Is there a relationship, job or opportunity that you 'messed up'? How are you encouraged by God's second chance to Jonah?
What are the various miraculous events in the story?
How does the salvation of the Ninevites prove Jonah 2.9? How does this help us in our attempts to share the gospel with others?
How do you see God's love for the nations/races in this book?
In what ways can you grow in your love for the nations/races?