What a journey this has been as we've spent the last 12 weeks delving into the Sermon on the Mount. Who could have imagined where this would take us? This past week was no exception.
I really love this lesson because Jesus makes it so simple. He once again explains what holy living looks like and then leaves His audience with a choice- take it or leave it. This is still our choice today. We can either continue on the broad smooth path that leads to destruction or we can accept Christ's invitation to join Him in Heaven.
It's not easy. Jesus promises that few find their way. So I ask you this question that I often ask myself. How confident are you, how confident am I, that that you and I are heading the right way? If you are in doubt I encourage you to speak with one of the pastors, with one of the elders or with me about how you can be certain that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do. I want all doubt to be erased. I can promise you that I've walked down quite a few wrong roads, and made choices that didn't honor God and yet Jesus( aren't those the sweetest words my friends- and yet Jesus) in full love, set me back on the right path. Sing it with me "I once was lost but now I'm found". Ladies, let Him find you too.
I love how our next study so perfectly illustrates God at work, loving His wayward child Jonah back onto the right path. He did it for Jonah like He continues to do it for each of us. I can't wait to explore this new book with each of you.
Love, as always, Renée
Now on to this week's lesson
Read Jonah 1:1-16
Memory verse 1:9 He answered " I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea and dry land"
1. A little history here. What does this passage tell you about who Jonah is? List as many facts or conclusions you came to after reading this chapter.
2. It's easy to point out Jonah's failures. What are his admirable traits and which of these do you share with him?
3. And now a little geography. We aren't told where Jonah is from, but we do know where God asked him to go and where he chose to go. Find the following 3 places on a map - Joppa, Nineveh and Tarshish. About how far is Nineveh from Tarshish?
4. How do we know that Jonah knew exactly from whom he was running ?
5. What's the farthest you ever ran from God and what was the outcome?
6. What was the sailor's response to the storm and how does that compare with your response to life's storms?
7. Jonah told the sailors exactly what they needed to do to calm the storm. Why were they hesitant?
8. How likely is it that's any of these men grew to follow the one true God? Would that experience have been enough to convince you?
For personal growth: when chaos was breaking loose on board the ship Jonah was sound asleep below deck. So not only did he deliberately disobey God, it seems that he was at complete peace doing so. When you choose to disobey, how does that sit with you ?
Are you able to sleep at night? How drastic are the measures that God used to bring you back into obedience? As we look at the potential risk to a full crew of sailors- how big would the fallout have been from your disobedience. Have you thanked God for protecting you and those who may have been affected by your poor choices?
For the good of the group: Jonah allowed himself to be thrown overboard not knowing the outcome. How well do you accept God's discipline?