Lessons from Jonah

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Jonah 1-4

The story of Jonah is rich with lessons for us to draw on and learn from, and we've been looking at this story chapter by chapter. But today our reading is the entire Book of Jonah. So if you haven't done this already, go back and read the entire story all at once, and ask God to show you something different than he did through the week.

What did God reveal to you through the story of Jonah? What was the most important thing God impressed on your heart? Tami W.

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From chapter one: Others will be more easily led to Christ by what they see God doing in and through our lives. This will open doors of opportunity for us to share the Gospel as we are commanded in God's word. Matthew 28: 19-20.

From chapter two: When we repent and turn to God, he will deliver us from our deepest, darkest sin.

From chapter three: If we have truly repented and have received forgiveness we will do as God commands regardless of who or what we understand to be worthy of forgiveness. Who are we to judge?

From chapter four: Always remember where we were and how God was so willing to forgive us. We must also be just as willing to forgive others. Share the life giving truth with others not only that they may receive forgiveness but that we may be blessed also. Ask yourself, "What did I do that so deserved God's forgiveness, am I not a sinner who needed God? What right have I to be angry or play god in the lives of others and pass judgement, when I was just as guilt as anyone else?

I have been just as Jonah was, running from what God was asking me to do, because I felt that I had a reason for not doing what he was asking me to do.

My mother abused me for years. I was angry, bitter, hurt, and felt completely unloved by this woman. The Lord showed me that I have to forgive those that hurt me. I fought this for a long time. I would tell myself that I could not forgive her, that what she did was so bad that I could not forgive her—over and over I made excuse after excuse. I would tell myself that no one was be affected by me not forgiving her. I know that in fact that is not true all of those around me were being affect by this hate and anger that was in me. Finally, one day I was in such despair that I said fine I would do this I will forgive her. So, I sat down and wrote her a letter telling her I had forgiven her. I did feel better for a time. I told myself that I was the better person, because I had been the one that reached out to heal the wounds. Boy, did I get this wrong.

So, here I was going around all smug and proud about what I had done, when God spoke to me again. This time he told me that I had to ask my mother to forgive me for the way I had treated her over the years. Well, I can tell you if there were a ship to board that would take me to the opposite side of the world I would have given my last dime to board it. How could God ask me to seek forgiveness from this person that hurt me so badly; this person that caused so many scares and pains in my life? I had a right to be ugly to her, to treat her the way I did. NO, I WILL NOT ASK HER TO FORGIVE ME.

But, God is patient and he showed me that he forgave me for all of my wrongs and loved me in spite of how I treated him. He showed me that the flesh me couldn’t forgive and seek forgiveness, the flesh me cannot love completely. But the love of God that flows through me can and that is what I have to walk in.

I was blessed with a chance to ask my mother to forgive me for the way that I treated her, for the wrongs that I had done to her. I have such a peace and love for her now that I never thought could be possible before. I love her with God’s love. She has come to also love the Lord and is walking in love. She has asked forgiveness of those that she has hurt over the years and others have been blessed with finding their way to God’s loving embrace.

Who am I to say that someone is unworthy of being loved, when I myself was a worthless nothing? God did not send his son to die on the cross for those that were worthy to be loved, worthy of being given a second chance, worthy of mercy, worthy of grace. He sent Jesus do come for the unworthy.

I find Jonah story sad, because it never tells us that he ever understand God’s love toward all people. I do hope that Jonah did get the peace that comes from walking in God’s love.

This book is a clear vision of many christians, especially me. It shows Jonah, a christ follower, going from highs to lows in repentance and then sin. God is first in his life, then He is an afterthought. I wish the book were longer and we could see more into Jonah's personality, but it does reveal alot.

God will accomplish what He desires-with or without our obedience. We cannot run from God or hide our sin from God. 'You are a gracious God. Merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster." Praise God for His mercy, grace, love and forgiveness. Praise Him for teaching us through trials-for bringing us closer to Him. I loved the verse "Should I not pity Ninevah". I pray that He has pity on the United States.

Jonah's story showed me the love of God. In particular the story showed me:
- That it's fruitless to try to hide when God gives you an instruction. His will in our life has a specific purpose that must be met, and although we may not always know 'why" we are to keep going in a certain direction in our life, we must continue our walk in faith.
- Even though we may be disobedient to God at times, he will still use us to his glory. In Jonah 1:16 we see that the men of the ship were offering sacrifices to the Lord. If Jonah hadn't been disobedient then he wouldn't have been on the ship, and the men would have never come to recognize God as the all powerful one. Even in times of disobedience, it's possible for God to use us and bring others to salvation.
- When we disobey God we may, and often will find ourselves in a place that isn't pleasant to be in. But, if we repent God is faithful to forgive us. Often these times may bring us to a point where we are closest to God. However, our goal should always be to seek God and draw close to him. We shouldn't just draw close to God when things aren't going right.
- When we repent and do God's will, we need to continue to listen and see what God is doing. Jonah saw that the people had repented, but yet he became angry. Jonah should have continued to help the people move closer to God, but he didn't. As Christians we need to understand that what we see as the end may just be the beginning for God. As Christians we need to seek God's face and continue with his plans; we need to turn from our own agenda.

I was really struck by Jonah's rebellious attitude. In chapter 1, he refuses to listen to God's directive and bends over backwards to get as far away from what God is calling him to do as possible. Then, when God calls him out with the storm, he buries his head in the sand, taking a nap in the hull of the ship while the others are pleading to their gods for deliverance. The captain awakens him and tells him to pray to his god, but Jonah again refuses to do the right thing. When the truth comes out, Jonah tries to out maneuver God, telling the crew that they will just have to throw him overboard which they are very reluctant to do, but eventually, having no other choice (but praying and asking for mercy and forgiveness first), they do. Jonah thinks it's over. Ha Ha, God! I'm dead now! Find somebody else! Not so fast Jonah...In chapter 2, it takes Jonah 3 days in the belly of a fish waiting to die to finally come around...Chapter 3 is really striking...did you get Jonah's "sermon"? “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” What kind of preaching is that? Forty days, God's gonna nuke ya...that's it. He proclaimed the penalty for disobedience to God, but where's the call to repentance? Where's the revealing of the love of God for all people? Jonah was trying to out maneuver God AGAIN, just barely complying with what God told him to do, thinking that these undeserving people would never figure it out on their own. Not so fast Jonah...In chapter 4, Jonah has the gall to be angry with God for being true to His own nature! The self-righteousness is unbelievable! The story ends rather abruptly, and we're not really told what happens with Jonah's attitude, but we do see God's patience with even rebellion from one of His "chosen people" as He continues to teach Jonah lessons with the gourd and the worm. So what do I take away from all of this? God has the master plan...He's in control at all times. Our feeble efforts to try to manipulate the outcome of any given situation are wasted energy and fruitless. The best course of action is to trust and obey (actually, that old hymn has been on my mind all week)...for there's no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

P.S. Don't miss the beautiful message in the last verse of yesterday's poetry (1st comment from Anonymous)....

I believe there is a little bit of Jonah in all people. We all fret over what is right when we want to do something contrary to the will of God.

Jonah 1-4 has been an eyeopener this week for me. I had a rough week. I teach Deaf students in a High School. It seems like the Devil was working me over through these students. The more I read Jonah the more I realize that I must be willing to forgive no matter what happenes to me in the classroom. I want them to see Christ in me. I also know that no one is too far gone for God to forgive. Where does that leave me? I must be willing to look at all people through God's eyes and forgive as he forgive me everyday.
To God be the Glory and all blessings to those who read his words and follow them.

God show us the importance of being obedient to his will and way; he knows what's best for me. Then turns around and blesses us with HIS grace, mercy, and loving kindness! What a mighty God we serve! HE is so good!

I need shared prayers.I have prayd to god for his forgiveness
Me and my boyfriend had a misunderstanding about a month back.we were stayn together,but I've tried to ask for his forgivess,but its like he is
Enjoying all the torture he is putting me through becauseim the one who call him,if he doesn't want to answer he hangs up or just leave the phone
Ringing.now I don't know why I'm in this situation or unless if mayb God is trying to show me something which I'm failing to understand.I need God's guidance and support
For me to go rhru this,why can't my boyfriend just forgive me and we move on like we used to be likem

Please help me wit the prayers so that he come to his senses.

"5 And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them."
Not only that, when the news reached the king he issued a decree-"9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish."
The people must have really taken seriously the call to no water and feed plus sackcloth for men and beast. Wonder how long they fasted? I know I normally fail such calls. I'm impressed with the national unity and action which led to "10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it." Such national commitment would do wonders in christian communities.

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To not look at things in our way of thinking. To remember to put God first in all that we do. We need to allow God and to be open to God leading and guiding us every step of the way. We ought to not have such a tight grip on what we think should happen , but we ought to be open to when God leads us in HIS direction, in His timing. We need to put self aside, and trust God.

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About Me

Hi, my name is Tami Weissert, the P4 facilitator and the "voice" behind the blogs. I'm passionate about helping people grow spiritually and actively encourage Bible engagement through conference speaking and writing. I also served as co-host of the Back to the Bible radio program for over 8 years. A little about me. I'm married to Jeff, and we love scuba diving, playing with our 3 dachshunds and going to Husker football games. I also love growing orchids, singing and Diet Pepsi. I hope you'll join in the conversation as we read the Bible and grow together.

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This page contains a single entry by Tami W published on November 4, 2011 5:00 AM.

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