Jonah knew it was his fault.
So he did what was right.
“Pick me up and hurl me into the sea
and the sea will quiet down for you,
for I know it is because of me that
this great tempest has come upon you.”
The smartest thing we can do
is to surrender to God —
even if it means being thrown into the sea
for there will be love beneath the waves.
Sometimes tempests come that are not our fault.
But this week I want to concentrate on the tempests that are our fault. For learning to quickly acknowledge our sin, confess it, and accept the consequences is a huge secret in making progress in the Christian life. When we do this, we will find “love beneath the waves.” Our souls will be enlarged and the presence of God will return, flooding us with peace and joy. These are the people who change, these are the people who have the radiance of Christ, these are the people who find love beneath the waves.
It’s always hard to admit when we are wrong — especially if we have to do it, as Jonah did, to unbelievers!
It’s painful. But we will always find love beneath the waves.
I had to go to my sister Bonnie when I was a young Christian and apologize for coming on
so strong — for being argumentative and proud and difficult.
It was humbling — but I found love beneath the waves.
I have had to turn around (more than once!) and go back into a store to apologize to a clerk for
being snippy. (Kim shared the same thing last week!)
A real apology where I name my sin, admit the pain I brought, and don’t make any excuses always
brings me to tears, and it’s humbling. But I also always find love beneath the waves.
When we resist, as is our natural tendency because we have what Martin Luther calls “curvature of
the soul,” we harden our hearts, grieve and push away the Holy Spirit, reap bitterness and
depression, and stay stunted spiritually.
Again and again I ask myself — who do some believers grow and the others remain mudbound?
What makes me grow — and what keeps me mudbound?
If our deepest desire is for God, then we will do what it takes to stay right with Him. We will be
good repenters, as humbling as it is, as hard as the consequences may be, for nothing will be more
important to us than the sense of His presence. Resist and we “forfeit the grace that could be ours.”
(Jonah 2:8) Part of that grace comes in the form of more light. He gives more light to those who
have shown they are willing to walk in the light.
This week you will listen to one of my favorite Keller sermons, which you may have already
purchased for it was one I listed at the beginning of this study. It is called Love Beneath the Waves.
It’s worth the price. If you haven’t already gotten it, here is the link.
In this message, Keller says there is a strong parallel between Jonah and Achan, whose story is
found in Joshua 7. Achan’s sin, like Jonah’s sin, brought a storm. When confronted, like Jonah,
Achan confessed his sin. But instead of being rescued, like Jonah, this is how Achan’s account
And Joshua said,
“Why did you bring this trouble upon us?
The Lord brings trouble on you today.”
And all Israel stoned him with stones.
Yet I discovered that even for Achan, there was “love beneath the waves.” I think it’s a fascinating
study this week, and I’m so eager to join with you who have gentle hearts and seeking souls for this
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
The main filming for Idol Lies is scheduled for June 23rd. Please pray! God has so surprised me even this week — he’s provided a wonderful video photographer, Martin French told me I could use his great drawings for free, God has provided some wonderful sharp women from various ethnic backgrounds for the audience, and my publisher announced she was coming! My son J. R. and I prayed about him doing the edit and agreed this was how the Lord is leading. This is a step of faith for me, but I’m encouraged to take it for I have been so encouraged at how clearly God is moving. I’m learning I really don’t have to be in control.
I am also aware of what I think is increased spiritual warfare. That’s a good sign that the enemy is nervous, but how we need His shield of protection. How important are your prayers!
- For the key people to be healthy and to get here
- For the weather to be good — this area is known for storms that can cause power outages
- For the Lord to provide the women He wants to be here and will quicken them to be responsive and quicken them when they share
- For His quickening on me as I prepare, on the photographers, for Cynthia who will be interviewed, for Ed who may be interviewed and is going to cook, and everyone participating
- For quickening for my son J. R. as an editor and for our relationship
- For my make-up artist (Vanity in part, but I also still have bruises and want to feel confident!)
- For Tim who is working on three testimonies in Kansas City
- For a HEDGE from the enemy
- For God to be so glorified through all this and each of us to continually remember this is what it is all about
And this — just to bring a smile to your Sunday. One of God’s sweet surprises. Almost two Sadie escaped from Sally and Phil in CVS — and they found her like this:
1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
2. There was trouble between the sailors and Jonah. When there is trouble in a horizontal relationship, Keller says it is always our move. How has this applied to your life — or how does it now?
Monday-Wednesday: Bible Study
3. Read Jonah 1:10-12
A. Why did the men know that Jonah had sinned?
B. One definition of sin is “running from God.” Where are you tempted to run from God?
C. Read Jonah’s response to the question of the sailors. What is admirable about his response?
D. What constitutes a good apology? A bad one?
One of my favorite apology stories is from Letitia Baldridge who was the personal assistant to Jacqueline Kennedy. Her friend had planned a dinner to introduce Letitia to well-known people in Washington D.C. — but Letitia had put the wrong date in her planner and didn’t show. (She was in a movie with her husband, so she failed to pick up on the ten urgent phone calls.) When Letitia realized what she had done, she went in person and told her friend how terribly sorry she was for the pain she had brought upon her, the embarrassment, and the grief. Her friend was cool and Letitia kept sending flowers or gifts or notes acknowledging again and again her sorrow at the pain she had caused. She asked for the guest list so she could write every guest and explain it was totally her fault.
I believe in a real apology we make no excuses, acknowledge the pain, and do whatever we can to make what the Bible calls restitution.
4. How would you rate Jonah’s apology and why?
5. Read Jonah 1:13-17 and find the beginning of “love beneath the waves.”
6. Share a recent time when after genuine repentance you found “love beneath the waves.”
Jonah and Jesus
Jesus himself quotes Jonah 1:17 to point to himself. The irony is that Jonah fled God and a storm came, whereas Jesus submitted to God and the storm came. Jonah brought pain to the world. Jesus brought love. Yet both were rescued after three days and three nights in the depths.
Jonah and Achan
In the sermon this week Keller compares Jonah to Achan, the man who also brought a tempest because of his disobedience. Jonah was rescued whereas Achan was stoned — but even when God chooses to take the life of a disobedient believer, that is not the end of the story. There can still be love beneath the waves.
7. Read Joshua 7:1-9 Following the tremendous victories of chapters 1-6, there is defeat. Describe the defeat and the reason for it.
The “devoted things” describes all the valuable objects like gold and silver that were to be dedicated to the Lord’s treasury. This was evidently to be done as a kind of first fruits of the land, and as an evidence of the people’s trust in the Lord’s supply for the future (cf. Lev. 27:28-29).
8. Read Joshua 7:10-26
A. Summarize what God told Joshua in verses 10-15
B. Joshua could have told Achan that he had brought great trouble and grief upon God’s people.
What does he say instead? (verse 19) Comment.
C. How does Achan respond? (verse 20-21) How does this evidence genuine faith?
For Narnia fans, feel free to note the parallel between Achan and Eustace.
D. What happened to Achan? How could this be “love beneath the waves” for Christ’s bride?
E. Can a believer sin terribly, lose his life for it, and still be in heaven? Explain.
F. How do you think Achan’s death affected the body of believers?
God’s discipline is always meant for good — not just for our good, but for the good of God’s corporate Bride. Achan’s death no doubt brought a holy fear of God — and Achan himself, I believe, went from his death into heaven.
9. Read Hosea 2:14-15
A. What will God do when we face wilderness times if we do not back away?
B. How have you experienced this?
C. What promise is given in verse 15? What do you think this means?
Thursday-Friday: Keller Sermon
Keller emphasizes this verse: My son, give glory to the Lord God of Israel and give praise to him. (Joshua 7:19) Pray through this for yourself, for your life today.
10 Share your notes here.
11. CHALLENGE: When Joshua confront Achan, he centered not on the pain and death his sin had caused, but his failure to give God glory. LIVE WITH THIS QUESTION BEFORE YOU TODAY — how am I giving God glory? See what happens and tell us.
What is your take-a-way and why?
A BLOGGER PICTURE
Laura-dancer has been growing so — it’s a delight to have her here. She faces enormous challenges but with faith and courage. Here she is in a happy moment last weekend with her daughter graduating!