Friday, September 20, 2013

Bible Study: God Desires To Show Mercy - Jonah - Chapter 2

Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Jonah, although they are a bit better formatted than former efforts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. I’m not sure of the condition of the world at the time of this publication. But at the time of its writing, spring 2010, things are looking increasingly bleak with the economy, health care and unemployment, there is a renewal and increase of racism, and godly principles of living being disregarded, there are floods in India, earthquake and tsunami in Samoa. Are these the first stages of birth pains? The last? God only knows. And He is very busy these days. Seek His wisdom. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming to deliver His people and judge the wicked…

Stacey


Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 2 of the book of Jonah. Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…

2 – Jonah’s prayer.

The Psalms would have been Jonah’s prayer book. Just as we memorize portions of scripture, he did the same. And while he was in the belly of the whale, those verses came back to his memory and he prayed them to God. This is going to be a great chapter to study and learn how to pray scripture back to God.

2:2 – See Lamentations 3:55; Psalm 18:6; 120:1; 86:13

Sheol – called “the place where the dead abide” by a Bible study I’ve done recently. This is a place where awe and amazement of God are forgotten. How frightening is that? Can you imagine forgetting how awesome God is?

Jonah appears to recognize the spiritual (and physical) wasteland he’s entered and wants out.

Have you ever been (or known) the person who suffered physically to become aware of a spiritual desert in their life? What was the outcome of the situation?

Jonah called out to God from the depths of the pit. That’s where he believed he was.

2:3 – it’s never too late to be rescued.

See Psalm 88:6; 2 Samuel 22:5; Psalm 42:7; 69:1-2, 14

The sailors threw Jonah overboard, but he credits God with the act. What does this tell you? Apparently, Jonah recognizes God’s sovereignty over the situation to use the sailors’ behavior to work the outcome to His will.

Jonah begs God to save him from the waves, the overwhelming current, the swirling deep water and mud.

Do you think the water was churning inside the fish? I keep getting visuals from Disney’s animated classic “Pinocchio”.

2:4-7 – Jonah could feel the spiritual life draining from him as he pulled further and further from the Lord.

I am reminded of trips to the ocean when I would wade into the water and body surf for a bit, then look back at the beach and wonder where I was because I’d drifted so far with the waves. Does life do this to you? Do you sometimes look at your relationship with God and wonder how you drifted so far away from Him? If so, what finally clues you into the fact that you are further from God than you want to be? A good practice would be to take stock of your relationship with Him often enough to not be surprised by drifting.

2:4 – See Psalm 31:22; Jeremiah 7:15; 1 Kings 8:48 - 2:4 – Jonah felt as if God pushed him away. What really happened? When was the last time you recognized a misconception like this in yourself?

2:5 – See Psalm 69:1-2 – Jonah is threatened by the water and the deep. It is overwhelming.

2:6 – See Job 28:9; 17:16; 33:18; Psalm 30:3; 16:10; 18:5 – Jonah is feeling low. He is talking about deep mountain roots, which offers an interesting contrast. Jonah declares that the Lord delivers from the pit. Do you think he does this to remind himself of what the Lord is capable? This is a great tactic to take in prayer. And this appears to be the turning point in Jonah’s prayer where hope returns.

2:7 – See Psalm 77:11-12; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Psalm 11:4; 18:6; 65:4 – Jonah remembered the miracles of the Lord and called out to Him in his distress. Jonah’s prayers rose to the Lord in His holy temple in heaven. The Lord’s temple is a palace, meaning He is the King.

Jonah called out to the Lord “when my life was ebbing away” – Is he speaking of physical or spiritual death? What makes you think that?

Jonah’s prayers seemed to need to find God because of how distant Jonah felt from the Lord.

2:8 – See Deuteronomy 32:21; 1 Samuel 12:21; Psalm 31:6 – Jonah talks about worthless idols. What brings this up? Is his mind beginning to align with God’s and he is seeing the issue that he is being called to combat in Nineveh?

Mercy – hesed – covenant love that the stronger party gives to the weaker party.

Ironically, Jonah sees idol worshipers as forfeiting God’s grace, but he was denying the Ninevites the opportunity to know the One True God. Could this have been the moment that ultimately influenced him to go to them in obedience to the Lord?

When was the last time you were convicted by the Holy Spirit by something you said during your prayer time? Isn’t it amazing how God does this?

2:9 – Jonah promises to praise the Lord publicly.

See Psalm 42:4; 50:14, 23; Numbers 30:2; Psalm 116:14; Ecclesiates 5:4-5; Exodus 15:2; Psalm 3:8 – Jonah declares his thanks and talks about fulfilling his vows to the Lord without delay. He declares God to be his salvation, his deliverance.

What vows did Jonah make?

2:10 – God’s grace.



• The book of Jonah shows how hatred can cloud our thoughts and keep us from obeying God. How have you seen God’s love at work in this chapter of scripture to break down those and other barriers, and how will you apply it to your life this week?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?

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