7.28.19 - Jonah and the Sea Monster (Travis Derico)
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 4:1-11
Few Old Testament stories are as famous as “Jonah and the Whale”...but few stories are also so frequently misunderstood! Instead of being primarily a story about whether or not we can run from God (or if a man can survive inside the belly of a fish), the story of Jonah actually challenges us to face the ways we all willfully misread God’s character. When Jonah refuses to warn the neighboring Ninevites about God’s wrath, he reveals a racist, bitter, and fearful heart unfit for a prophet, and even after 3 days inside a sea monster, Jonah still misses God’s bigger point: God’s heart wasn’t for the destruction of Jonah’s enemies...it was for their repentance. As the often-overlooked final chapter of Jonah reveals, even this story of divine judgment is, at its core, really a call to replace our own self-righteousness with a humble and selfless love that better reflects the character of a kind, compassionate,and ultimately gracious God.
What is your history with the story of Jonah? Have you heard it before? What were the lessons you learned from this story?
How are you like Jonah? How are you like the Ninevites?
Identify someone (or a group of someones) you have trouble seeing as a child/children of God. Commit to pray for them this week. Be brave, and tell someone about this commitment so you have accountability.
Jonah is angry at God because of God’s...compassion. Are there any characteristics of God that you have a hard time accepting/appreciating?
Read Jonah 4 as a group. Talk through the vine/worm scenario. What is God trying to help Jonah (and us!) understand?