YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELF
The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.
The story of Jonah takes place during the prosperous and peaceful reign of Jeroboam II who ruled the northern kingdom if Israel around 200 years before Christ. The Lord called Jonah to go to the cruel, warlike, and violent Assyrian city of Nineveh to pronounce judgment on it. But instead of going in obedience to the Lord, Jonah fled in the opposite direction. Whether the reason was fear of the Assyrians or hate of them we do not know. What we do know, though, is this: Jonah disobeyed God and a shipload of sailors was almost lost, and a city was almost destroyed. Conversely, when Jonah repented, the ship was saved, and the city turned to God. So be obedient to God. Pay attention to the details in your spiritual life. The eternity of yourself and others hangs in the balance!
In the first chapter of Jonah, the Lord commands the prophet to go to the city of Nineveh in the cruel and violent nation of Assyria and preach to it of judgment and impending doom. (Jonah 1:1-2) Why do you think Jonah ran in the other direction rather than doing God’s will? (Jonah 1:3)
Sin always has consequences as we see in Jonah 1:4. What purpose do you think God had for bringing the storm into Jonah’s life? As you look back on your life, describe some storms that the Lord has allowed as a result of sin.
There is no private sin. God always knows. And even your most secret sins affect other people. Name some ways the sin of Jonah affected other people.
In chapter one, after Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, he confessed his sin (Jonah 1:8-10). Will you confess your sins to God? If you do. you will be forgiven and saved (1 John 1:9).
In chapter two, Jonah repented and called upon the Lord to save him (Jonah 2:1-2). Following Jonah’s example what should we do when we sin against God? What will He do when we turn back to Him?
After we sin and come back to Him, the Lord frequently gives us the same call on our life as before (Jonah 1:1-2, Jonah 3:1-2). So, pray, repent, and return to God’s calling upon your life!
Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2 and verses 8 and 9 may be a good prayer for you to pray today. Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” (Jonah 2:8-9)