We cannot contravene God's calling and equipping of us. If we resist God's will, He often gives us over to our sin. In Jonah's case God used the storm to discipline His prophet.
Scripture: Jonah 1:4-16; Matt. 8:18-27
- The story of Jonah offers parallels to Christ’s life and work.
- To the Jewish mind, the sea as a whole symbolized chaos and evil. When Jesus walked toward the disciples on the water and stilled the waves, He was overcoming evil.
- Jesus masters every evil thing that faces His people.
- The sea is the natural habitat of the nations and the forces gathered against the Lord and against His Christ (cf. Psalm 2, 46:2).
- Seeking to flee his prophetic responsibilities, Jonah is engulfed in a storm. By contrast, Jesus fulfils His prophetic role, and He “hunts down” the storm.
- We cannot contravene God’s calling and equipping of us.
- There is no option but to serve God, even if it is by exalting God’s justice in His treatment of our rebellion.
- If we resist God’s will, He often gives us over to our sin, using our evil choices for His own purposes and glory.
- How is it possible that God can be just and yet merciful as He was to both Jonah and Nineveh?
- In the atonement at the cross Christ who was innocent received judgment, while we the guilty receive mercy.
- Death has been conquered by Christ, and so God’s promises of blessing are sure and certain.
- God used the storm to discipline His prophet, who was fleeing God like a pagan.
- Though chaos and chance are arbitrary, yet sinful people worship the idea of chance giving it personal character.
- God sees all of us as helpless under our addiction to sin.
- We do not find God’s will for our lives by pursuing whatever we really want. We must never trust our future to chance, abandoning God’s clear and providential leading.
- God speaks to us through the authority of scripture, our parents, our spouses, and the church. Each may be used of God to help guide our future plans.
- When we desire God’s revealed will for our lives, then God’s will becomes plain.
- Jonah sleeps as one whose conscience is seared.
- Jonah admits his sin and just punishment, yet the sailors feared and prayed to the Lord lest they be guilty of murder.
- The sailors were guilty and Jonah was tossed overboard that they might not also perish in the storm.
- In our culture, oppression is defined as anything that confirms God’s created order.
- Foreshadowing Christ, Jonah was lifted up and buried in the sea (cf. John 12:27-36).
- Christ presents us with justice and mercy at the cross.
- Why is the sea a symbol of restless malice against God’s people?
- In what ways does God show us His will for our lives?
- How can we avoid following our own hearts into disobedience, as Jonah did?
- What happens when we try to resist God’s calling and equipping of us for His work?
- Did Jonah’s initial rebellion thwart God’s purpose for him?
- How is it possible that Justice and Mercy may both be satisfied, for Jonah, for Nineveh, for Toronto, for ourselves?
- Discuss the statement that we are all helpless under our addiction to sin? How does this affect our attitude toward God and toward one another?