Introduction: 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!
- The God Who Notices
- Read Jonah 1:1-2. Were the Assyrians God’s special people?
(No. They were generally the enemy of God’s people. See, 1
Chronicles 5:26, 2 Kings 18:13, Hosea 11:5-7.)
- Why would God pay attention to the Assyrians?
- If God pays attention to those who have not chosen
Him, what kind of attention does He give to those who
have chosen Him?
- Notice that the wickedness of the Ninevites came to
God’s attention. What is God’s reaction to Assyrian
- Why doesn’t God say, “The Assyrians are just
being Assyrians. What can you expect?”
- Read 1 Corinthians 5:12-13. What should our
reaction be to wickedness outside the church?
- We will study in great detail later that part of the Jonah
account where he is caught in a ship in a storm. Right
now, let’s just look at what the captain of the ship says
while in the storm. Read Jonah 1:4-6. What kind of a view
of “gods” did this captain have? (Sometimes they noticed
and sometimes they did not.)
- Was the phrase “sometimes they notice” true of
Jonah’s God? (No! Not only was the true God keeping
tabs on the citizens of Nineveh, but He was keeping
very close watch on Jonah.)
- There is a modern heresy that everyone has equally
valid religious beliefs. What kind of view of other
religions do you think this captain possessed?
- What effect, if any, did imminent danger have on
- Notice the theology of the sailors recounted in verse
5. What are the elements of their faith? (1. They
were afraid. 2. They cried out to their god. 3. They
lightened the ship.)
- How does their theology compare to yours?
- Do you fear?
- Do you cry out to God?
- Do you work while awaiting an answer?
- Read Luke 19:1-4. What kind of man was Zacchaeus?
- What kind of an attitude did he have towards Jesus?
- How would you compare the Ninevites to him?
- Read Luke 19:5-6. Is there anything that strikes you as
being unusual about this? (There are several unique
features to this, but the one that the lesson points out
is that Jesus called Zacchaeus by his name.)
- What does the fact that Jesus called Zacchaeus by
name teach us about God’s interest in those who seek
- What does it teach us about God’s interest in
- The God Who Knows
- Read Psalms 139:1-4. What does God know about us?
- Notice verse 4. In God’s eyes, what is the difference
between thinking something and saying it?
- The United States Supreme Court has declared a
constitutional protection that cannot be found by
reading the constitution. This declared right is the
right to privacy. Would you like to sue God for more
privacy? Or, are you glad that God knows so much
- What advantage is there in God knowing
everything about you? (When you are honestly
looking for help you want people to know and to
care. You want them to pay attention to you.)
- In our church we have a time during worship
where people can share their praises and prayer
requests. Some use this opportunity to give
little “sermon” and exhortations to the rest of
the congregation. Why do you think they do that?
(They want us to pay attention to them.)
- Are there people in your church who want
more attention from you?
- Read Psalms 139:7-10. What could Jonah have learned from
- The God Who Can Be Trusted
- Read Jonah 1:3. Based on our discussion last week, and our
discussion this week, why do you think Jonah ran instead
- Read Matthew 10:28-31. Some of you said that Jonah ran
because he was afraid. We saw that the sailors on the
ship were afraid because of the storm. What does God say
about our fear?
- Who is it that can kill both the body and the soul?
- What does this text suggest about the popular
doctrine that the wicked never die – their souls
live in immortal torture? (It suggests it is
- Had Jonah made the right decision about his fear? (He
feared the citizens of Nineveh more than he feared
- These verses in Matthew 10 seem quite odd at first
reading. They start out (v.28) by telling us we
should fear God. Then end up (v.31) by saying “don’t
be afraid.” How can you make sense out of this?
- Are we supposed to fear or not?
- What does the fact that God knows not only our
name (as in Zacchaeus’ story), but the number of
hairs on our head, teach us about fearing God?
(I think the key is verse 29. God knows you and
He will not allow anything to happen to you
without making an “executive decision” on it. If
that is okay with you, then have nothing to
fear. If that is not okay with you, then you are
- How do we get to the point of trusting God
- Friend, God knows about you and He cares about you. You
cannot run and you cannot hide from Him. If you have been
running from God, why not give it up, repent and trust
- Next Week: Jonah and the Judgment.