God called Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against its wickedness. But Jonah ran from the Lord and headed for Tarshish on a ship. God sent a great wind and storm against Jonah’s ship. They threw their cargo overboard to lighten it. Jonah was sleeping, and the crew cast lots, which told them he was responsible for the storm.
Jonah confessed that he was running from God, so he told them to throw him overboard because the storm is his fault. At first, the men did not do this, but the sea grew wilder. The men prayed for God to not fault them for throwing Jonah over. A fish swallowed Jonah, and he was in its belly three days and three nights.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided Lesson 12, Day 2: Jonah 1
3a) 2 Kings 14:25 says, “He was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher.”
b) Jonah ran away from the Lord.
c) He was afraid to do what God told him to do. He may have been afraid of the people of Nineveh. He was outside of his comfort zone. It was a hard job and Jonah simply did not want to do it. Many Bible scholars believe that Jonah did not believe that the evil Assyrians deserved repentance and mercy from God.
d) They run in every way possible. They ignore his voice and his calling. They don’t do what he tells them to do. They don’t pray or go to church. They hide from Him like Jonah did.
4) When you disobey God, there are consequences. He pursues you and does what he has to to get you to listen to him.
5) I usually don’t struggle with this. None of us are worthy of God’s love and grace, no matter how “good” we are or how “evil.”
6) All the time. He asks me to be nice to people I don’t want to be nice to. He puts me in places I hate. He challenges me to bloom where planted. Sometimes I succeed; sometimes I fail. Still, I try.
Conclusions BSF Study Questions People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided Lesson 12, Day 2: Jonah 1
I love the story of Jonah. Such a colorful story of God doing whatever it takes to get your attention.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promise: Kingdom Divided Lesson 12, Day 2: Jonah 1
It’s important to understand that Nineveh was the capital of Assyria at the time. It was a pagan city. God chose Jonah to go and speak to the people of Nineveh and rebuke them for their sins.
Nineveh was to the east of Israel. Tarshish was to the west in what is now Spain. Jonah wanted to get as far away from God’s calling as possible.
God sent a storm. God’s timing is now when He calls. You don’t put off His call for when it’s convenient for you.
Jonah slept as many Christians sleep through God’s calling. We must be awake for Christ.
Jonah asks to be thrown into the sea, and gives us a picture of Christ who threw himself into humans’s storms.
The storm ended once Jonah was thrown into the sea, proving God existed. Many Bible scholars believe the men on the ship came to faith in God after this.
What Was the Fish?
We don’t know what kind of fish this was. It could have been a whale or a special fish God created for just this moment in time. Either way, God was not finished with Jonah yet. He lived three days and nights in the belly of the fish. This was what Jonah personally needed to come to God and obey Him. God does the same with us, just in different ways.