THE BOOK OF JONAH #3 – A GOD OF SECOND CHANCES #3 – SERMON RESOURCES
ENGAGING THE PRACTICAL TIP
Today, we will be working off of Jonah’s interaction with God from the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. If you missed the sermon this Sunday, you might want to listen to it before going through this exercise.
Very briefly, God speaks to Jonah and gives him a mission to speak a word of destruction to the people of Ninevah. Jonah initially resists, eventually relents and performs the mission, but clearly still has problems with what God is about, particularly God’s eventual mercy on Ninevah. Today’s practical tip focuses on Jonah’s decision to obey God outwardly while still harboring strong resistance within.
You might take a few minutes and put yourself in Jonah’s shoes. What would it be like to be an instrument of God’s mercy to a nation who was ruling over your nation and who, in general, did so with extreme brutality? Does this remind you of any of your own past experiences where someone has mistreated you or those whom you love and yet you sense God’s desire that they repent and be forgiven? Or are there simpler situations where you sense the right thing to do in God’s eyes yet you really don’t want to do it, like obeying the speed limit, picking up after your family or housemates? Take a few moments to ponder these reactions to your consideration of Jonah’s situation. Be aware of your feelings and share them with God. Can you decide to obey your sense of what God is asking you to do despite these feelings? If so, decide to do so over the next few days. Ask God to be with you in the tension between how your feel and what you have decided to do. As you are following through on your decision (once or several times), try to be aware of your feelings and God’s presence. Is your heart being softened, or do you feel the same way as when you started this exercise? Either way, share your feelings with God and invite him to make your heart more like his, however you sense God’s heart being in this situation. You might end with a simple prayer of thanksgiving for God making himself accessible to you.
Feel free to share your experience with others who have also tried this prayer exercise by commenting below or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.