Explore God's Word Daily

A daily blog on Christianity.com

But Jonah...

The opening verses of Jonah are abrupt and shocking. And the whole book is full of cliffhangers. We're going to be on the edge of our seats!

A shocking start

Read Jonah 1 v 1-3

  • - What's shocking in these verses?

There are two huge surprises in these first few lines. The God of the universe speaks to a human being. And the human dis- obeys the God of the universe.

  • - How does verse 3 emphasize the deliberate, calculated nature of Jonah's disobedience?

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TIME OUT

Tarshish is the exact opposite direction from Nineveh

  • - What is Jonah trying to do, by fleeing there?

Read Psalm 139 v 7-10

  • - Do you think Jonah's plan will succeed?

It’s easy to laugh at Jonah’s attempt to flee God. But are we sometimes guilty of the same thing? Do we try to escape God through our busy schedules, not pausing to reflect and pray because we’re afraid of what we’ll hear? Do we try to flee God by having lots of fun, thinking we can escape Him by forgetting ourselves in sport or entertainment?

  • - Are you currently fleeing in some way from how God wants you to live?

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A shocking reason

We might think Jonah runs from going to Nineveh because he’s scared, or because he thinks they won’t listen to him—even though it’s part of God’s plan. But in fact, the real reason is even worse than that...

Read 4 v 1-2

  • - Why doesn't Jonah want to obey God's command to preach to Nineveh? What is he worried might happen?

Let’s not mince words. Jonah is a narrow nationalist. He hates the thought that God’s mercy might flow to other nations outside of Israel—and especially to Nineveh, which had treated God’s people horrifically in the past. Jonah wants no part of God’s merciful plan. He does not want his enemies forgiven.

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PRAY

Is there anyone who has hurt or wronged you who deep down you don't really want to see coming to God for forgiveness? Ask God to give you a desire for their salvation, and an ability to forgive them yourself. And then ask God to have undeserved compassion on them, as He has had on you.

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These first verses show us God's prophet is sinful, just like the pagan Ninevites He's called to warn! We leave him travelling in the opposite direction to Nineveh.

  • - What's the cliffhanger?

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This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.

Click here and enter the code bstexplore60 when you check out to get the next quarter’s Explore for $5.84, a 10% discount.

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About Explore God's Word Daily

Explore God's Word Daily helps you open up the Bible to be refreshed and encouraged in your walk with God. "Explore" is the daily Bible-reading devotional from The Good Book Company (www.thegoodbook.com). Contributors include: Dr Timothy Keller, Senior Pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New York; Mike McKinley, Senior pastor of Guilford Baptist Church; Tim Chester, author and pastor of Crowded House, Sheffield, UK; Mark Meynell, Senior Associate Minister at All Soul’s Langham Place, London, UK. Editors: Tim Thornborough and Carl Laferton.

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