The plan is simple.
- Read through the book of Jonah, ONE CHAPTER A DAY.
- Restate 5 things you learned (that you previously didn't know).
- Ask 5 questions about the chapter that you'll ponder all week.
- As the Holy Spirit gives you wisdom and insight, ACT ON IT.
INSIGHT 1: This chapter starts with God sending Jonah on the same assignment he refused to go on in chapter one. The next chapter (4:1-3), however, indicates that Jonah’s attitude towards the Ninevites hasn’t changed much. He’d still prefer their destruction, yet God graciously continues to use him. Why? Romans 11:29 may hold the answer, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” [ESV]. In His great love, God has chosen that He will finish the good work He began in each of us. He does not give up on us as often or as easily as we give up on ourselves, no matter how much we try to derail his plans. The reality is, our rebellion and disobedience may very well delay what He wants to do in our lives or through our lives, and even put us through unnecessary pain, but God has determined that His will, will be done!
INSIGHT 2: The Ninevites are the most unlikely candidates for a spiritual revival. They ruled with a gruesome tyranny. Archeological records show that they maimed and tortured their captives and seem to revel in bloody butchery. The prophet Nahum (3:1-4) describes the city as “the beautiful and faithless city; mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere.” Morally, the Ninevites were corrupt. Spiritually, they were in pitch-blackness (Think of ISIS in the Middle East or Boko Haram in Nigeria - but worse and pagan!)
INSIGHT 3: What none of us ever considers, and what Jonah certainly didn’t think of, was the fact that the VERY reason most of us would avoid a place like Nineveh is the VERY reason it was so open to the preaching of God’s word. Nineveh was ripe for a spiritual revival because it was such a spiritually dark place. The faintest of light shines incredibly bright when the darkness is heavy.
INSIGHT 4: Jonah’s sermon is the shortest sermon in recorded history that resulted in a citywide revival. This shows that long before Jonah was swallowed by a fish, long before Jonah fled Jerusalem, and even long before God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, the Spirit of God had already been at work in the hearts and minds of the men and women of the spiritually dark city of Nineveh. The fact is, unless God first sends His Spirit into the darkness to prepare men and women to turn back to Him by faith, we are all lost in sin. John 6:44, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
INSIGHT 5: This story raises several questions: “Where are the spiritually dark corners of the world where the Spirit of God is presently stirring the hearts of men and women?” “What city around me is God’s Spirit prepping men and women to come to faith in Jesus Christ?” “Could it be my city?” “Is it possible that the next great move of God is on the horizon in a city close to me?” “And is it possible that the eyes of the LORD is searching to and fro the earth, looking for a man, or woman, or group of people, whose hearts are fully committed to him that He can send on a similar mission?” Perhaps our prayer then should be like Isaiah’s when God asked Him who would go deliver His message, and He said, “Lord, here I am. SEND ME!”
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QUESTION 1: Jonah 4:1-3 indicates that Jonah’s heart attitude towards the Ninevites hasn’t changed, so why is God still choosing to send him on the same assignment?
QUESTION 2: Were you in Jonah’s shoes, how would you feel when the word of God came to you a second time? Have you had an experience where you failed at something, but were offered a second chance to redeem yourself?
QUESTION 3: Why did the Ninevites responded so quickly and with such deep repentance, to Jonah’s surprisingly short sermon? Are there any indicators in the passage that the Ninevites were sincere in their repentance?
QUESTION 4: 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Is it enough to simply verbalize this truth and be completely forgiven? What else may need to follow in order for a person to demonstrate the sincerity of their repentance? (Check James 1:22-25 for further insight)
QUESTION 5: What area(s) of your life might God be calling you to repent sincerely? (Not only in words, but also in deeds).
Husband. Dad. Pastor. Nigerian American. Storyteller. Aspiring Prayer Warrior. Steak Lover. Follower of Jesus Christ reminding you that God the Father still loves you.