Monday, October 20, 2014

Slow: Jonah, Part 1

What happens when we do not follow God and/or obey only reluctantly?

1:1 -
* Jonah worked for God full-time. This time, what did God ask Jonah to do?
* Look at a map and see how far Nineveh was from Israel. {about 500 miles!}
* What was the "wickedness" that Nineveh was known for? Look at the Nahum references below and note what each verse says about Nineveh and how they were known.

Nahum 1:9 - they plot against God
Nahum 1:11 - evil leader, wicked counselor
Nahum 1:12 - numerous allies
Nahum 1:14 - graven images, idols, false gods, "vile"
Nahum 3:1 - bloody {war-like}, liars, thieves, brutal
Nahum 3:2 - cruel, aggressive
Nahum 3:3 - fierce, unafraid, brutal

You get the point, Assyria was not exactly a nice place!
* Be a history reporter for a few minutes, look up Assyria and note a few things you can learn about their culture.

1:2 -
What did God want Jonah to do?

1:3 -
* How did Jonah respond?
* Put yourself in Jonah's place, would you have responded any differently?
* Jonah's heart was the opposite of slow - he was not surrendered, listening, obedient or worshiping. He hurried in the opposite direction. Look at a map and locate Nineveh, Joppa and Tarshish. Can you tell anything just from looking at a map?
* It is no secret why Jonah got on that ship - note the end of verse 3, "After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to __________  __________  ___________  _________."

1:4 -
* Just as we saw with Moses, when we observe disobedience and rejection of God, we are seeing again God's action. He doesn't want Jonah out of His will. This wasn't as devastating as a plague, but what did God send? Or maybe it was more serious in that the boat threatened to come apart! What a scary feeling when you are out at sea!

1:5-6 -
Jonah held life-changing answers and eternity changing knowledge and where was he? Asleep?! When my heart is not right or God is dealing with me on something, I do not sleep well - I'm amazed that Jonah was in such a deep sleep! Apparently the captain was too! Look at verse 6 - the captain asked Jonah to, "get up and ___________  _________  _________  _________."

Think about that for a minute, in verse 5 we learn that each one called out to "his own god" so there was obviously more than one possibility involved here which means at least some did not know the One True God but false gods. It may not be a false god or idol, but is there something you put false hope in during time of crisis?

It also makes me wonder if the captain noticed something different about Jonah or if he was just asking Jonah to do what all the rest of them had done. This captain is searching and is about to encounter God with a big "G" in an amazing way. He is looking for a god who will "notice" and save them.

1:7 -
* This is an interesting thought next - I find it curious that they wanted to "cast lots to find out who was responsible for this calamity." This implies that this storm was big enough and sudden enough that they thought there was a bigger strength, a bigger power behind it.
* We also see they felt one person was responsible. Put yourself in Jonah's place here - what are you thinking, feeling, are you able to pray? How did he manage to keep his mouth shut while they cast lots?

Lots more on Jonah this week ... Farm pictures continue!