Jonah Study: Chapter One
Read Jonah Chapter One
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, but he didn’t want to because he was scared. The Assyrians, aka the Ninevites, were tough. Their culture, artwork, behavior, etc. emphasized a life of war filled with beheadings, skinnings, and executions, among many other torturous practices. So, Jonah hopped on a boat with some sailors and ran the opposite way. In the boat, he fell into a deep sleep, symbolic of the fact that he was asleep in his faith, as he was blatantly disobeying God.
As the storm raged, the sailors woke Jonah up and told him to pray to his God. They decided to cast lots. Casting lots was something similar to rolling dice, drawing a straw, etc. It was just a random drawing that offered guidance. Jonah basically “drew the short straw.” He admitted that his God was angry with him, confessed that he sinned, and said, “Throw me over.”
The men were reluctant. If Jonah’s God could cause a storm that could break the boat because of his disobedience, what would God do to them for taking an innocent man’s life? We see repentance and fear from the men on the ship. They threw him over. Jonah was then swallowed by a fish and found himself in the belly for three days and nights, which was symbolic of Jesus’ three days and nights in the tomb.
How many times is this us? Everything around us is wavering in the heart of a storm, and we’re just trying to sleep through it. How many times do we try to ignore God’s call on our lives until we just can’t ignore it anymore? I’m sure it’s more than I’d like to admit for me.
Just like Jonah, we face a lot of scary stuff in life. Stuff that makes us want to turn and run the other direction: death, heartache, cancer/sickness, financial problems, career struggles, relational/marital problems, mental health, anxiety, depression, etc. These things are scary and take a toll on us physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It is scary for us, but it’s not for God. We’ve already won with Jesus.
Instead of running or sleeping through whatever storm you are in, I want to challenge you. Recognize first that the calling God has placed on your life, is the calling God has placed on YOUR life. No one else can do what you’ve been called to do. No one can love your people better than you. No one can be the friend, parent, spouse, business partner, etc. that God has called you to be. So there is no running. We are all prone to go through funks or times of “sleepiness” in our faith. When we choose to let that happen, we miss the boat. Things that need prayed over and people that need Jesus become missed opportunities, and that is on us. Instead of running away or sleeping through your storm, call out to God and ask him for His guidance. He will show you His will, His courage, and His grace, and then go, in the name of Jesus.
Reflect and journal your answers and responses.
Have you heard a calling on your life or had a nudge from the Holy Spirit you've ignored?
What are some things you feel naturally drawn to but try to ignore?
Write a prayer asking God to draw you into those specific things.
Choose at least one challenge to complete this week.
Pray daily this week about where God wants you.
Share about Jesus with someone outside of your circle.
Summarize Chapter 1 to someone else, and tell them what you've learned.
Lord, Thank you that we can come to you in any and all situations. Thank you that we can lay our storms at your feet and trust that you have a plan for our lives.
As we read Jonah together, we ask that you guide our hearts to be postured towards You and the calling that You have placed on our lives. Father, show us where we've fallen short or the mission that we're missing. Guide our steps to get us back on track. As we approach this next week, I ask that Your Spirit move in our hearts so clearly and loudly that we know it's undeniably You.
Thank you, Lord, for never turning your back on us, even when we choose to turn our back on You. Thank you for Jonah. Thank you for his story and for the opportunity to learn from it.
In Your Forgiving and Merciful Name, Amen.
“For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.”
Matthew 12:40 HCSB
“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 HCSB
“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:28 HCSB
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Matthew 28:19 HCSB
"Haven't I comanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1: 9 HCSB