Jonah: A Penitent, in the school of God July 12th
Mind the whale
Easy to say but “it’s not about the whale”, yet for some all they will see in this book is the enormous whale (big fish). We can go to great lengths to come up with big fish stories to try and prove that the story is possible or impossible. The more we do this the bigger the whale gets.
The problem is that the whale is not the subject, God is. Jonah 1:17 reads, “But the LORD…” this is a story of the saving grace of God, he is the miracle worker, it would have been a miracle even if God had given Jonah the strength to swim to shore. If we struggle with this, how much more will we struggle with God’s best, the foolishness of the cross.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor 1:18
This is God’s grand intervention with people, his grace breaking in, it’s difficult to stomach, but then so was the acid stench from the inside of a big fish.
Where do you go and what do you when you need time to think?
How is this picture of Jonah in the belly of the whale a picture of what God's saving grace in Jesus?
Not waving but drowning
- Read vs 1-6. What was this like for Jonah?
- Describe a time when you have been like this, could be physically in danger, illness, financial trouble or spiritual.
- Is it significant that God that God moved first? Vs 6b
- Describe a time when you have turned back to God.
Preparing to act
· Having decided to turn back to God, what did you do, how did you live differently?
Stomaching the grace of God
· Think of a situation from which God has saved you, be specific rather than just general sin. Write a prayer expressing your thanks to God; you might like to use Jonah's prayer as a template.
Where appropriate, share your prayers with the group.
· Spend some time in prayer as a group, thanking God for his saving grace in Jesus on the cross.
· Then moving on to pray about how you will live in the context of the cross.
Having stomached God's grace, life is to be lived moving off the beach.
Mark Searle, 08/07/2009