Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jonah

We continued our YouPick series this week, taking suggestions from the students on what they want to hear.  I gave them the option to vote last week to talk about the life of Jonah or the life of David.  The vote was almost even and since I have a series I can do on David at some point I thought we would look at Jonah.  I kicked off the night with a Lo-Depth Bible study video on Jonah that I got from Bluefish that is hilarious.  The point of the video is that if you don't go in-depth in the Bible then you are not getting the whole picture.  I know that when we think about Jonah, we usually only think about him being swallowed by the fish which is the basis of the first 2 chapters of Jonah.  But chapters 3 and 4 have a strong message as well.  So I broke up the night into 2 parts:

What We Usually Know About Jonah (Chapters 1 & 2)
-God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh to tell the people that God is going to judge them for the way they have been living
-Instead Jonah goes to Joppa where he gets on a ship going to Tarshish in hopes of running away from God
-God sends a storm
-The people on board pray to their gods while Jonah is asleep down below
-They ask him to pray to his god and he realizes it is his fault that the storm is taking place
-He has the crew throw him over and the storm calms
-God arranges a fish to swallow Jonah where he will stay for 3 days and nights
-While inside the fish he prays, crying out to God and even praising Him, and then God orders the fish to spit Jonah out

The main point of this is to not run from God.  If God is calling you to do something for Him, or to stop sinning then God will do whatever it takes to get your attention.  This can be very scary so we should not even give Him the option, we should be obedient.

What We Usually Forget About Jonah (Chapters 3 & 4)
-God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh a second time to deliver His message
-Jonah does what God has him to do
-The King of Nineveh issues a decree throughout the city for the people to mourn, pray to God, and stop living evil lives
-God sees their change and so He decides not to carry out His judgement on the city
-Jonah gets angry with God- partially because he didn't like the people of Nineveh and also because he became prideful and did not want what he had predicted to not come true.  He was worried he would look like an idiot
-Jonah goes to the east side of the city to watch and see what happens to the city (quite funny when he already knew that God had decided to not destroy them)
-While sitting God arranges a leafy plant to grow over Jonah's head and shade him which he enjoys
-Then God arranges a worm to eat through the stem of the plant, killing it, and arranges a scorching wind to blow on Jonah
-Jonah gets angry again and says that he would rather die than live like that
-God then tells Jonah that he should not be angry, and that instead he should have compassion on the people of Nineveh because they are living in darkness

This really stood out to me when reading it this time.  This is why we need to re-read scripture even though we may know what it says.  The last part of chapter 4 really made me think.  It made me think about if I'm burdened enough for people living in darkness.  People living in sin and even people who may be one heartbeat away from Hell.  It's easy to be frustrated with people you see living in sin, but we must be burdened for them.  I challenge you to examine yourself today: 1st see if God is leading you to do something, or not do something and are you running from God?  2nd ask God to give you a greater burden for those living in spiritual darkness

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