Bible Discussion — Jonah 3-4

February 3, 2009, 10:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Connie, David, Josh J, Steve  | 1 Comment

This week, Bweinh.com finishes Jonah, discussing the last two chapters!

Read it all here!

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7 | 8 | 9-10 | 11-12 | 13-14
15-16 | 17-18 | 19-20 | 21-22 | 23-24 | 25-26 | 27-28
Jonah: 1-2

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
“And the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time…” Can you imagine a God — so patient with sinners and saints — that He would accept having to speak twice to a child to get something done? It blows my mind.

Steve:
So Jonah walks into Nineveh, and his wildest dreams come true: complete repentance, from the top on down. Only then we find out that this dream was really his nightmare — and the man whose own life had just been spared was resentful of God’s abundant mercy to others.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Josh:
The first verse: the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. After all that, did he really need a reminder?

Steve:
The king of Nineveh meant business — no one was even allowed to drink water until they heard whether God would relent. And what were they really going to do if a bull broke loose and went for the stream?

Connie:
From the text, it looks like Nineveh was so large it took Jonah three days to walk through it — thus his message had to be repeated several times over those three days. I\’d always thought of Jonah as a short little story, reinforced by the short-tempered ending.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
Josh: Better Off Dead
David: Withered Gourd
Connie: Pity on the Plant
Steve: Relent

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
David:
When God called me to preach at the jail in Watertown, I had a bad experience and ran away — it was the worst three days of my life. I finally decided that I could face anything that was hiding in that jail before I could surrender the peace I had found when I met Jesus.

Steve:
The other day in my city, a police officer was shot in the back of the head by a 14-year-old. A caller on talk radio today suggested that perhaps our only hope was for him to walk the streets, preaching that we should all flee the wrath to come. Still pretty unlikely that our mayor would proclaim a city-wide fast, though. The restaurant owners would kill him.

Josh:
The parable of the unmerciful servant (Matthew 18:21-35).

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
David:
Watching from the dugout. Later He would tell the Jews that “the people of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah,” yet they were refusing to repent even though He, who was “greater than Jonah,” was among them.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
David:
God\’s grace and patience with humanity are the most evident features of this book.

Josh:
We serve a God who is so gracious, so merciful, so loving, that sometimes we just can\’t stand it.

Connie:
God is patient and kind. He allowed the hothead to go cool off, even providing the shade. And when that didn\’t work, he removed it and let Jonah in on the reasoning behind His Plan.

I don\’t think Jonah deserved all that — and I know I don\’t. But I sure appreciate a loving God who goes to those extremes after one man\’s temper tantrum, even if it isn’t the usual way He works.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Steve:
Yet again, Jonah didn’t really think things through. Even his original sermon had given Nineveh 40 days until destruction, but in his anger at their repentance, he found a spot to sit down and watch what would happen. How long was he intending to sit and wait?

Connie:
It\’s so weird to see Jonah treat God this way. He preached to a huge crowd and got a great response — the desired outcome, one would think — but instead he got angry because they were released from judgment. Just like he had been from the belly of the whale a few days before.

David:
I like the way that God shows compassion for the people “who don\’t know their left hand from their right,” then throws in “much cattle.” Even the animals were of concern to him, perhaps because they participated in the fast.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Josh; Connie: 3:10 — “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.”

David: 4:9a — “Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?'”

Steve:
3:5 — “So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.”

 
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Connie:
Jonah asked to die because he was so angry. Really?!

Really, Jonah? I guess I just need a couple moments of your time.

Steve:
What was Jonah like as a toddler? As a teenager? “What do you mean I can’t have a second helping of lamb?! Why would you do this to me?? Just kill me now!!”

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
David:
Like it says in the famous sermon by Jonathan Edwards, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, I don\’t think people realize how only God\’s grace stands between us and destruction.

Josh:
Never put limits on God\’s forgiveness.

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Josh:
This story is interesting to me because it is often misrepresented. Told as a children\’s story, Jonah is presented as the hero, afraid at first that his message will be rejected, but after his amazing encounter with the fish, the preacher who successfully completes his mission and saves the city. Everyone lives happily ever after.

But in the last chapter, so often excluded, we learned Jonah\’s true fear, and the true lesson to this story. Even after his encounter with the fish, even after his even more unbelievable success in Nineveh, Jonah was still the antihero. But the fact that this was all recorded so honestly and unflatteringly, presumably by Jonah himself, leads me to believe he eventually came to understand God\’s mercy.

Steve:
God was being kind to Jonah by claiming he was having pity on the plant that died. This was pure, unadulterated self-pity, with a side of blind rage. And when is that ever appropriate, especially in a conversation with the One who knows just how little we deserve?

I’ll say this for Jonah, though: he was honest before God.

 
CONCLUSION:
David:
Repentance came, but all the preacher could think about was how it made him look foolish — then how he could find a comfortable position, out of the heat, to watch from.

God help us to be better witnesses than that.


Comments

1 Comment to “Bible Discussion — Jonah 3-4”

  1. Connie Maxon on February 4th, 2009 10:39 am

    My biggest problem with Jonah’s reaction was I never bought into his reasoning. How does God relenting make Jonah look foolish? On the contrary Jo gets to be the human stand-in/compassionate hero. It’s simple: either you believe God’s real or you don’t.

    In reality he was a bully looking to dispense some neighborhood justice and when the that show was called off, he had to blame his reaction on something else. But anyone walking that close with the Living God I would assume got straightened out in the long run.

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