A Simple teaching GuideBy Henry JaegersTHE BOOK OF JONAH
Title of the Book: THE OVERWHELMING MERCY OF GOD.
Outline and Format
I. The message of God to Jonah. Chapter 1: 1,2
In this message, God declares that "for their wickedness is come up before me". Nineveh has been engaged in wickedness for a long time, even at times, extending to the nation of Israel. The statement reveals that their wickedness has come to its fullest extent. The wind vats of wickedness are overflowing and it is time for them to experience the mercy of God. That means that now, having engaged themselves in their wickedness, there is no place else for them to go, so God instructs Jonah to go and speak to them.
II. The response of Jonah Chapter 1: 3-17
although Jonah did not realize it, God was choosing the right man to send to Nineveh. As we view his response and actions that follow, we find him to be a very tenderhearted man but his disobedience was not restricted to him alone. Having received mercy from the sailors, in Joppa, he found a way to escape the responsibility that God had assigned to him. These poor men, who appeared to be of the finest sort of men, had to suffer the consequences due to Jonah's reluctance to obey God.
Jonah realized that although he had turned away from obeying God, God was not finished with Jonah. He knew, that as long as he was in the ship, these men could not escape the turmoil that had occurred. Jonah knew that the only way for it to stop was to get rid of him. Again, we see a tender point in Jonah's heart when he was willing to die to save the lives of these men. Very much like the heart of Jesus for all sinners.
III. The prayer of Jonah and God's answer. Chapter
As is often the case, something serious must happen before we engage in effective praying. It was at that point of perishing, that Jonah cried out in desperation, and the Lord in mercy, heard the prayer of Jonah and rescued him and once again set him on his way.
IV. The results of Jonah's obedience. Chapter 3God did not give Jonah a long discourse. It was merely a sentence warning them of a judgment to come within a certain period. The hand of God was in the midst of the city for the king and the people responded positively to Jonah's message. This speaks also of Jonah's apparent sincerity before people, as was in the case of the sailors when they listen to him. His message was perfect for the situation and it brought about the response that God determined to happen. Great mourning for sin occurred in the lad and God had mercy and turned away his wrath from them.
V. Jonah's trial of faith. Chapter 4
Jonah expressed his reasons for not going to Nineveh at first when God called him. Inwardly, Jonah would have been glad to see Nineveh destroyed, and one of the reasons he gave for not going earlier, was that he had some form of prejudice toward them and did not want them to experience the mercy of God.
This chapter describes the beginning of Jonah's trial of faith. He could not figure it all out and his mood changes a few times in the process. But the good news is, it is not the end of Jonah's life. We see him beginning to experience the trial of faith, and if we see that at the beginning, why should we not conclude that the story of Jonah had a happy ending. It was happy because the people of Nineveh were spared but most of all we can conclude was happier for Jonah as time went on and he began to experience more of God's overwhelming mercy even through his trial of faith.
1. In consideration concerning the wickedness of Nineveh, what other reasons besides those mentioned in chapter 4, might Jonah have for being reluctant? Think of possible excuses we also may give for you refusing God's instruction.
2. From chapter 1, describe how Jonah's disobedience affected the sailors? What good thing happened to them during this time?
3. From the experience of Jonah in chapter 2, have you ever experienced times of desperation in which you prayed? Share your answer and give your experience.
3. How did God answer Jonah's prayer, and what was Jonah’s response?
4. From chapter 3, of what, did God repent?
5, from chapter 3, discuss the work of God in the hearts of these people, and why Jonah's preaching receives such great results?
6. From chapter 4, what do you think Jonah expected to happen after he preached to Nineveh? What reason did he give for not obeying God previously?
7. Discuss the response of Jonah both regarding what happened in Nineveh and what happened to him also about the appearance and disappearance of the gourd?
8 Have you ever experienced something similar especially when you did not understand why it was happening?
9 Does this chapter necessarily tell us what happened later in Jonah's life, and have you ever experienced disappointment in the way God answered your prayers?
10. What can we learn from the contents of this book about God's person, God's choice of servants, God's actions to different kinds of people, and the different ways that God answers our prayers concerning our expectations.