Jonah: When God's Mission Hurts

The reason God seeks sinners, saves sinners, and sends sinners is because God loves sinners. There is no other object of worship who loves sinners like God does. This love is our calling. Unfortunately, too often we are more concerned with our comfort than we are God’s commission. - Pastor Dave

Open: Have you ever felt so compelled to do something that nothing could have stopped you? What was it and why did you feel so strongly about it?

Read: Jonah 4; 2 Corinthians 5:16-20

1. How is God’s capacity of grace greater than our capacity to sin? In what ways is this observed throughout the book of Jonah?

2. At the end of the story, we find Jonah sitting outside the city of Nineveh. What was he expecting to happen? What does this “wait and see” posture tell us about his view of God’s salvation of Nineveh? Does Jonah ever answer God’s question?

3. God sends three illustrations to confront Jonah’s displeasure. Describe each of them: What does it tell us about Jonah that the only time we see him exceedingly happy is when God provides a plant for shade? How does our comfort get in the way of God’s call to share His compassion with a lost world?

4. The word “appointed” is repeated over and over again in the story of Jonah. God appointed a storm, fish, plant, worm, and wind. How are each of these an act of God’s gracious hand toward Jonah? How can discomfort keep us focused on our purpose and mission?

5. If we have experienced God’s compassion, how should we be compelled to accomplish His mission? In what ways do you see a superior attitude toward sinners; an inferior grasp of God’s love; and an ulterior purpose for living in Christianity today?

6. What do you make of the ending of the book of Jonah? Why do you think it ends so abruptly? How is this an invitation to fulfill God’s commission in our world today?

Pray: Pray that you would be so overwhelmed with God’s compassion for you that you would be compelled to fulfill God’s commission through you. Pray for opportunities to talk about God’s compassion with others.

Memorize/Meditate: Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord. Psalms 36:6