Want to learn more about Jonah? Use these Bible Studies for personal devotion, group Bible studies, or teaching a church class. Below are links to the lessons in this 13-part series.
Do you remember “Jonah and the Whale?” This week we
begin a new quarter of studies on the book of Jonah. Years ago, when
I was teaching the book of Jonah, an elderly man in my class reported
that when he was a boy a whale had been transported on a flatbed
railroad car to his hometown. He had never before seen a whale. Part
of the “whale show” informed the public that the throat of the whale
was very narrow – thus making it impossible for a man to be swallowed
whole by a whale. The old man wanted to know how the Jonah story
could be true. This week we look at some of the “historical markers”
that support Jonah’s story. Let’s jump in and see what we can learn!
What kind of God do we serve? Is He a God who is an
“absentee landlord?” Is He a God who knows His people and no others?
Is He a God who knows about the intimate details of your life? Can
you hide from God? Let’s jump into our lesson and see what we can
learn about our God!
“If a tree falls in the forest where no one is around,
does it make any sound?” This is a rough recollection of one of those
brain-teasing Philosophy 101 questions that you were given in
college. Our lesson this week asks, “If a person violated the Ten
Commandments before they existed, was it sin?” “What if they existed
and the person simply did not know about them?” Applying this to
Jonah, how could the citizens of Ninevah be called “wicked” if they
did not have a standard for behavior? Let’s jump into the Bible and
Jonah’s name in Hebrew means “dove.” When you think
about doves in the Bible, they are generally associated with good
news, right? After the great flood, a dove revealed the water had
receded. Genesis 8:11. When Jesus was baptized, God’s Spirit was
pictured as a dove affirming that Jesus was God’s Son. Matthew 3:16-17. On the other hand, GoBible reader Dr. Izak Wessels, sent me a
note pointing out that in Hosea 7:11 a dove is called “easily
deceived and senseless.” What kind of “dove” is Jonah? A man of
good news or a silly bird? Let’s jump into our lesson and learn more
about this unique prophet!
Jonah had God’s “marching instructions” for him.
Instead of marching in the correct direction, he ran off the other
way. Instead of bringing news of the Great God of Heaven to the
citizens of Nineveh, Jonah first brought the news to a group of
heathen sailors. Let’s dive into our lesson and find out how the
Lord’s work gets advanced even when we are unruly!
Have you ever thought you were in the wrong place at
the wrong time? The sailors on Jonah’s ship thought they had been
caught between an angry God and a disobedient prophet. However much
they wished they had skipped this voyage, it turned out to be the
blessing of their lives. Let’s dive into our watery story and learn
Will God let us run away from obedience to Him? If you
say, “yes,” then how easy is it to run away? The book of Jonah
suggests it is not an easy thing to run away from God. If we equate
obedience to God with eternal salvation, God’s persistence shows His
attitude toward our salvation. Do you think God works as hard to
bring us back to Him as He worked to bring back Jonah to his
assignment? Let’s jump back into our study of how God reeled Jonah
back to Him!
At long last Jonah is back on track. God has asked him
once again to go and share God’s word with the people of Nineveh.
This time Jonah obeys. Think back to the lesson when we discussed all
the reasons why Jonah would not want to go to Nineveh. Remember them?
Will those worries and fears come true? Let’s dive into our study
this week and find out what happens as Jonah enters Nineveh!
What an amazing day for Jonah! He doesn’t get skinned
alive and his hide stretched out on a rock to tan. He doesn’t get a
limb or two removed. He does not get mortared up alive in some wall.
He wasn’t impaled on a post. None of the terrible things the
Assyrians had a reputation for doing to their enemies happened to
him. Instead, all the citizens of Nineveh, including the King,
accepted Jonah as a true prophet, accepted his God as the true God,
and all repented and turned away from sin. Imagine the stories that
Jonah will have to tell back at his home church! Consider the fund-raising potential of such a story! “Thousands of Truly Evil People
Repent in a Single Day” is the headline. Let’s jump into our study
of the Bible and read about the reaction to this fabulously
successful day of evangelism!
Remember how we ended last week’s lesson? Jonah puts up
his beach umbrella, breaks out his lawn-chair recliner, fixes himself
a cold drink, and stretches out for what remains of the 40 days to
see the fireworks start over Nineveh. Jonah turns from aquanaut, to
prophet to spectator. Let’s jump back into our story and see what God
teaches us next!
Last week we left Jonah, as we have at previous points
in the story, as an angry, unhappy man. Jonah tells God that the
loss of his shade vine and the hot weather has left him “angry enough
to die” (Jonah 4:9). God provides a dose of logic to Jonah to calm
him down and convert his heart. Let’s dive into our story and see how
God deals with angry saints.
Have you heard the expression, “It was all over except
for the shouting?” That is where we are in our study of Jonah. Our
Jonah story is over. If I were to grade Jonah as a prophet, it would
be a pretty low score. How about you? What do you think about Jonah?
When grading Jonah consider both his attitude and the result of his
work. How do you think God views Jonah? That last question leads us
into our study today. What kind of “shouting” follows the story of
Jonah? Let’s dive into the Bible and find out Jesus had to say about
We have finally come to our last study of the book of
Jonah. What kind of a picture of God have we seen in the book of
Jonah? What have we learned about His involvement in our life, His
concern, His Love, His power and His judgment? The book of Jonah ends
with a question. Can we find the conclusion to Jonah somewhere else
in the Bible? Let’s dive into our study of Jonah one last time to
remind ourselves of what we have learned about our God!