Jonah: The Man Who Ran
This week, we wrapped up our series, Jonah, a story about a man who ran from God, and about a God who is “a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Jonah 4:2b) We learned in Week 1 that we can always find a boat sailing in the wrong direction; and in Week 2 that running from God brings distress while running to God brings deliverance. This week, we learned that God’s heart is bigger than our sin. Let’s dive in.
1. What do you know about the story of Jonah? Is it different hearing it now than when you were younger, if you’ve heard it before? If so, how?
2. Read Jonah 3:10 & 4:1-3. What do these verses teach you about difference between God’s heart and Jonah’s? Who do you feel like you identify with more most days? God or Jonah?
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 4:1-3 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
3. The speaker said that God’s heart is bigger than our sin. Why would Jonah think this is a bad thing?
4. Read Jonah 4:5-11. What does God give Jonah on the mountain, and what is God trying to teach Jonah through what he gave him?
Jonah 4:5-11 Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed. Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!” Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”
5. The book of Jonah ends without ever hearing Jonah’s response back to God. We don’t know if Jonah ever came around, or if he continued his angry attitude towards others. Why do you think the book of Jonah ends with God’s question to Jonah?
6. The message ended with the question the story of Jonah makes us ask: “Who doesn’t matter?” Is there anyone in your life that, when it comes to actions and attitude, needs to matter more to you this week? Who is God encouraging you to love more through the story of Jonah? What will you do this week to obey God in this?
At TFF, we believe everyone matters and we want to live that out in the 2019-2020 school year with even greater commitment. One of the ways you can be a part of this is to be committed to your Lifegroup. Pray for one another, support each other, and begin to find ways to be in each other’s lives outside of your Lifegroup time. There is also a whole world of people outside of The Fountains who you can “invest & invite.” If you can, share with the group one person you plan to “invest & invite” this week. If you are unable, ask the group to pray for you, that God would make clear someone in your life that you can “invest & invite” in the near future. [Leader: explain “Invest & Invite” – Invest in their life, Invite them to follow Jesus or, if you’re uncomfortable with that, to attend The Fountains with you, where they will hear the Gospel clearly presented every week]
CHANGING YOUR MIND
Jonah 4:2b “…you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love….”