Jonah Study: Chapter Four
Read Jonah Chapter Four
Jonah was devastated that Nineveh turned from their evil ways and the Lord saved them. Because of this, he fled from the city, in hopes of watching its downfall. As he was sitting on a hill to the east, waiting and watching, the elements began to chip away at him. To help protect him, God sent a plant to offer shade. Jonah loved the plant. Soon after, God sent a worm to eat through the plant, which angered Jonah. God asked Jonah twice, do you have a right to be angry? In true human nature, Jonah believed he was just. I love the way the chapter ends with God asking what is more important: the plant or the people?
How many times in our lives are we more concerned with earthly possessions instead of people’s hearts? How many times do we place things above relationships? I’ve been upset about physical things in the past, and because of that, I let my emotions control my behavior. Although it wasn’t over someone’s salvation, or an entire city’s salvation, I was acting just like Jonah. I think we can all find ourselves acting a little Jonah-ish now and then.
Jonah was angry; some may even argue enraged that God forgave Nineveh. With all the social media we have in today’s age, I think it’s easy for us to become angry at what we see represented on someone else’s page. It’s easy for us to judge someone by what they post or write about. However, that is not our place. Judging, competing, and feeling emotions over what someone else does or says is not our job. Jesus calls us to turn the other cheek to offense (Matthew 5:39) and to forgive 70 times 7 (Matthew 18:22).
If any of this relates to you, if you’re holding on to anger, judging someone based on what you see from their life, or you find yourself with similar emotions to Jonah, note this: Scripture tells us that what comes from our mouths is an overflow from the heart (Matthew 15:18) So, like Jonah, if anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language come from your mouth, we are called to put those things away (Colossians 3:8). Instead, we need to focus on the gifts that we are given and work on praising God for those. We can also take time to give thanks for the different gifts that others in our lives are receiving. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Jonah lacked all of these, BUT we can see a few things:
God still loved him, and He didn’t give up on him.
God still had a purpose and a plan for his life.
Others' salvation still relied on Jonah walking in the will of God.
My point here: Regardless of how you feel, God still loves you. He still has a purpose and a plan for YOUR life. Others are waiting for you to step into the role that God has made specifically for YOU. It’s time to get up and go.
Reflect and journal your answers and responses.
Who can you forgive today? Write a prayer asking for help.
Write about a time in your life where something took priority over people.
Looking through the entire book of Jonah, in what areas can you see yourself in him? In what areas can you see God working in you?
Choose at least one challenge to complete this week.
Ask someone for forgiveness.
Preach the Gospel everyday to yourself this week. It could be something as simple as “I’m a sinner. Because Christ died for me and I believe this, I am forgiven. I am loved. I am worthy.”
Memorize the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self control.
Lord, Thank you for sharing the story and life of Jonah with us. Thank you for your love that is so constant and steady, regardless of how we feel. As we end this study and approach the week ahead, I ask for your lamp to light our path as we walk with one other. Where there’s been a transgression, show us. Where we need to ask for forgiveness, lead us. Where we need to offer forgiveness, give us strength. You are the provider of all things, and we accept forgiveness that was shed for us on the cross, through Your Son Jesus Christ. Let us offer that kind of forgiveness to others in the world as we go forward. Show us purpose, lead our steps, guide our words, and let us all be glowing examples of Your Goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
“But I tell you, don’t resist an evildoer. On the contrary, if anyone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”
Matthew 5:39 HCSB
““I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus said to him, “but 70 times seven.”
Matthew 18:22 HCSB
“But what comes out of the mouth comes from the heart, and this defiles a man.”
Matthew 15:18 HCSB
“But now you must also put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth.”
Colossians 3:8 HCSB
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22 HCSB
A Love Note
Thank you for reading through Jonah with me. If you feel led, I’d love to hear any thoughts you had on this study. You can leave them in the comments or message me privately. Also, if you have any questions about Jonah or Jesus, please contact me, so we can talk! Thanks again!