Mercy Not Destruction

Group Discussion // April 27, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a community group discussion. I have reworked it a bit to provide a summary of the discussion points during our time spent together in Jonah chapter 3.

Jonah 3

3:1-5 Take two… with an amendment

  • God gives Jonah the same message as in the beginning except that instead of focusing on the sin of Nineveh, he focuses on Jonah’s faithfulness. God seems a little more direct with Jonah this time as he specifically commands Jonah to give the message he is told.
  • Jonah’s response is obedience. There doesn’t seem to be any hesitation with Jonah this time. He obeys the Word of the Lord.
  • This is every preacher’s dream response. Not only did the people listen to the message he delivered, but they were convicted of their sin.
  • Picture Jonah’s appearance and then hear the message God gave him. How does his appearance affect the people’s response?
    • Jonah had to look like a ghost almost. Someone that has been recently in the grave. Which is not far from the truth.
  • The people didn’t believe Jonah… They believed God.
    • This is key for us to understand. We want to personalize the calling God has given us and take ownership of it.
    • We see success and failure based on how the people respond to us. We get our feelings hurt or our pride is wounded when people reject our message and by extension they reject us.
    • But the key element is that the people believed God and not the messenger. This is important for us as well. We want to make everything, even ministry, about us doing the Lord’s work. We are so self-righteous and full of pride that we take even the gospel message of hope and cloud it with our sin.

3:6-9 Repentance… with fasting

  • What’s a word or phrase that describes of the response of the king and his nobles?
    • Humility
    • Fear
    • Repentance
    • Pleading
  • Have you been broken like this over revealed sin your life? Does the sin in our life bring us to tears and drive us to the cross?
  • Where is the response of the king and his noble is lacking? Hope. Yet, we know there is hope in Christ. There is forgiveness. There is healing. There is steadfast love. We don’t have to perform and do the right steps and procedures and then hope that God will hear us. We have Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit. The Father hears us all the time. Think back to Jonah 2 and be reminded with Jonah that even in Sheol, the Lord hears his people and answers them.

3:10 Mercy… God relents

  • What is a word or phrase for what we see in God’s response?
    • Mercy
    • Patience
    • Kindness
    • Goodness
  • This is our hope that we have secure in Christ. What the king and his nobles could only guess at, we experience each and every day.
  • What are some big rocks in your life that mark the grace and mercy of Christ in your life?
  • How often do you remember these acts?

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