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Oct 11, 2022 06:00am
Journeying with Jonah: Part 1
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(The following is a family devotional guide with suggested questions and scriptures.)

Focus Scripture: The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, the great city, and cry out against it, because their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship that was going to Tarshish, paid the fare, and boarded it to go with them to Tarshish away from the presence of the Lord. – Jonah 1:1-3 (NASB)

So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin. – James 4:17 (NASB)

Jonah: A Man on the Run

In Jonah 1:1-3, God interrupted Jonah’s life by speaking to him in a big way. In the Old Testament, it wasn’t unusual for God to speak to His prophets. It was part of their job – listen to God and teach the people what God said. A prophet would also pray and speak to God on behalf of the people. He’s kind of the middle guy, so to speak. But, when God spoke to Jonah and told him to go close to 600 miles away to preach repentance to a wicked city, Jonah left alright…in the opposite direction! He bought a ticket for a place called Tarshish and didn’t look back.

The funny thing is this: he can’t outrun God. None of us can. God is omnipresent – He is everywhere. God is such a gentleman, He will let us run, but sooner or later, we will come face-to-face with the consequences of our actions. And for Jonah, those consequences got his attention in a big way. Jonah is the only prophet who ran from God and will learn that avoiding obedience will him in a storm…and a big fish (but, we’ll talk about that later!).

Little does Jonah know that this is not so much his story, but God’s story.

Discussion Questions

What are some ways that God can speak to us?

Would you rather go somewhere close to home where you know you will have a good time or travel a great distance where it could change your life?

Do you see others live in fear or have hatred for any group of people? Do you witness any stereotyping or prejudice in your day-to-day life?

How well do you obey your parents, on a scale of 1-5 (5 being totally obedient!)? How well do you obey your teachers? God uses these people as an indicator of how well you will obey Him when He prompts you to do something. Obeying authority figures in the small things shows God He can trust you to obey Him with the things He nudges you to do. Obeying these people in the big things also shows God He can trust you with the big assignments in life.

Have you ever wanted to run, or hide, from someone or something? Tell me about it. True or False: You can outrun God and his presence.

Has there ever been a time you knew the right thing to do and you avoided doing it? How did that go? Give me some examples of what it looks like to do the right thing. Many times, we are tempted to take the easier path in life instead of doing the right thing because, well, it’s easier! In fact, James 4:17 tells us when we know the right deed to do but we don’t do it, that is sin. Sin is a big deal to God. As God’s kids, we are called to have integrity and do the right thing…even when no one else is around. Doing the right thing isn’t easy – it can be quite hard. But, God raises the bar for His kids and wants their actions to reflect His actions. For their heart to reflect His heart. For their character to align with His character. we are called to be a light to a dark world with our words and actions – this is none way we “shine our light”!

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