I had a question answered by Paige’s last teaching that has troubled me for a long time:
When we sin, does He back away because He sees us in the arms of another lover, or does He run toward us? In Scripture, I see Him doing both, so what is His true heart?
The lightbulb came on for me when my friend Dean said: “The father in Luke 15 didn’t run after the younger son.”
I thought: That’s true. He let him wallow with the pigs in the mud.
That’s when the light turned on for me. 💡
I realized: But that was running after his son, for the father wanted him to experience the pain of his idols so he would return to him.
The Father is always running after us, even when He backs up, even when He allows us to quench His Spirit.
He knows what will bring us to our senses.
This made me think of this song by Philips, Craig, and Dean:
Livestream link: Here
The following questions are meant to help you — feel free to skip any that don’t help you or share anything that stood out that I didn’t address.
Wednesday: Getting Started
1. Do you agree or disagree that the Father is always running after us? Explain why you believe as you do.
2. Listen to Paige through reading of Jonah 4. Then share what initially stands out to you from Jonah 4 and why?
Thursday: Jonah’s Temper Tantrum: Animosity
Listen to through the Grouchy Ladybug Book. Optional:
God’s righteous anger is turned away from Ninevah. In contrast, Jonah’s unrighteous anger is turned toward God.
3. Jonah’s fundamental problem is with God’s character. Here is a question from West End: The passage that Jonah quotes back to God (Exodus 34:6-7) is the most oft-quoted passage in the Old Testament. Given by God in the context of His mercy following the disobedience of His people in worshiping the Golden Calf. What is always the context of its quoting – for example, see Psalm 86:12-16, 103:1-13, 145:1-10. How does Jonah’s use compare?
4. She says the literal translation is that “this was a great evil that burned in Jonah.” Jonah is sure God is wrong. How have you ever disapproved of God? Jonah is twisting God’s word to make himself right. Have you done this?
5. What question does God ask of Jonah in verse 4?
6. Did you get the Tim Keller quote? What was the point?
7. What was the point of The Very Grouchy Ladybug book?
Listen through her giving the French version of Jonah from Les Miserables. Optional:
8. A woman in Serbia saw everything upside down. Jonah sees everything spiritually upside down. How do you see this in Jonah?
A. (4:1 compared to 4:6) Share everything you see.
B.(2:1 compared to 4:2)
9. How does Jonah use grace against God? Have you been or are you angry about God giving grace to someone?
10. “The fountainhead of our problems is God is God and we are not.” Comment.
11. Examples of upside down thinking in Christians:
A. Concerning going to church at all or going to a weak church
B. Her example of the young woman she didn’t like coming to Christ.
C. Right now Andy Stanley is endorsing same sex marriage saying Jesus was inclusive. (This is from me)
12. How do you see Jonah doubling down instead of repenting in verse 9?
13. How is Javert in Les Miserables like Jonah?
Saturday: God’s Tender Tenacity: Instruction
Listen until she goes into inclusiveness.
14. Why doesn’t God answer Jonah’s prayer in 4:3?
15. How in this chapter do you see God determined to instruct Jonah? What questions does God ask? And how is God responding to Jonah’s petulance?
16. Jesus gives lessons that go from lesser to greater. Example? How is He doing this with the plant and Ninevah?
17. Why do we give children their own way? How is God different?
18. Tony Morrison: “If it is true that this is the best time in your life you have my condolences.” (To graduating class) Why did she say that?
19. Share a highlight from your local worship service today.
Listen through the story of Katie’s funeral.
20. What is God’s motive for hesed?
21. What is the measure — what does this love cost God?
22. Jonah is not a Christ figure. Illustrate ways Jonah and Jesus are different. (This may help you from West End: (Compare God’s heart in Jonah 4:10-11 to the heart of Jesus for people (Luke 12:24-28), for all people (Matthew 9:35-38), for His own hard-hearted people (Matthew 23:37).)
23. “God is not cornering Jonah, He is coming for Jonah.” Comment?
24. The math. Jonah thinks Ninevites’ gain is Israel’s loss. What is wrong about this kind of thinking? Do you ever feel that way?
25. When God blesses someone close to you with something you wanted but might not have gotten, how do you respond? Why?
26. Her story about Keller’s description of the picture that hangs over God’s fireplace — point?
27. How does she contrast our world’s idea of inclusion with God’s idea of inclusivity?
28. Recently Andy Stanley began to endorse same-sex marriage saying Jesus was inclusive. How is he twisting Scripture?
29. What is the co-mission of all believers? Honestly look at your life and share where you are strong and where you are weak here.
30. Her story of Katie taking things. Point?
Listen to the end.
We don’t know for sure where Jonah lands. The fact that there is a book implies he changed. But we can’t be sure.
31. Do we really want mercy for all? How can we show that we really do?
32. Next week we’ll meditate on our take-aways from all of Jonah and share answers and requests to prayer while she takes a week off. But for now, share your take-a-way from this week.