Jonah: A rebel, in the storm of grace, 5th July
Introduction – what a story
So you know the story of Jonah, prophet who ran from God and got swallowed by a fish, but is it fact or fiction?
If you think its just one of those nice bible stories then you may not hear what it has to say to you.
- The setting is a real place
- Nineveh fell to the Babylonians and Medes in 612 bc.
- Many other references in scripture.
- 2 Kings 14:25 make it clear Jonah is a historical figure.
If we disrecard the story to quickly then we may not hear what God is saying to us today.
Read Jonah chapters 1-4 (go on it's not long)
Grumpy with Grace
Why did Jonah run away from God? See Jonah 4:1-3.
- In what ways are you grumpy with God's grace to others?
- How does this sit with Matthew 6:14,15?
What type of people do you find it most difficult to love?
Read Acts 10:28. In Peters day it was "illegal" for Jews to associate with Gentiles. Who is it "illegal" for your social group to associate with?
- What are the reasons for the association being "illegal"?
- What does God say about these people, and what scripture would you use to back that up?
- For example, it's ok to use Romans 1:18ff (wrath of God) so long as you also as you also apply this to yourself (see Romans 7:24-25).
- Ten commandments and John 3:16?
In what ways do you run from the grace that is on God's heart for you and other people?
Swallowed by grace
God sometimes has a strange way of rescuing people. In Jonah's case it was being eaten by a whale! What is your experience of being rescued by God?
Listening with the echo of grace
God seems to speak clearly to Jonah, (word of the Lord, storm). It what ways does God speak to you?
- If people in your group struggle to hear God then you might want to look at John 16:5-16 esp vs12ff. They are full of the spirit of truth.
What is the word of the Lord to us today?
Spend some time listening to God in two parts,
- Firstly what is he saying about you involvement with people we find difficult to love?
- Secondly, what is he saying to the church about our relationships with people we find difficult to reach and welcome?
Mark Searle, 01/07/2009