Running From God
You may not be a prophet like Jonah, but there are times when God wants you to do something you should not ignore. You can respond in obedience. Or you can run. Running from God is never a very good option. You may not get swallowed by a giant fish, but you will be exposed to the intense pressure of the loving discipline of God. To run from God is to head down a path that leads to pain and regret. Better to listen the first time than to spend your life on the run.
Jonah is a book that highlights the prophet’s attempt to run from God. Have there been times in your life when you attempted to get away from God? Describe what’s going on in your head when you’re disobediently moving away from God.
Jonah was given a command from God to go and preach to Nineveh (Jonah 1:1-3) but Jonah ran from God. Why might Jonah have been reluctant to go to Nineveh as God commanded?
Read Jonah 1:4-11. Describe the details of this scene. Describe the irony of the behavior of a prophet of God and pagan sailors.
Now, look at Jonah 1:12-16. Once again notice the behavior of the prophet of God compared to the pagan sailors. How were the sailors more attentive to God than Jonah was?
The famous character of the story is introduced in Jonah 1:17—the great fish. What happened to Jonah? How did Jesus use this account in Matthew 12:38-41?
How does God deal with His wayward children? Read Hebrews 12:7-11. What is the purpose of God’s discipline? How have you experienced the discipline of God?
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