Jonah: Grace in Pursuit

Jonah: Grace in Pursuit

Jonah: Grace in Pursuit
Jonah 1:1-17


This Sunday, we will begin a new sermon series in the book of Jonah. This short series will look at God’s pursuit of a prophet and a people. Unlike the other prophetic books in the Bible, Jonah looks more at the life of the prophet himself than the prophecies he shares. While a very familiar book of the Bible, our study in Jonah will look in detail at how God pursues one who is fleeing from Him. Jonah is a story of God’s great grace to a man and to a nation.

Jonah 1:1-17 (NASB)

The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy. He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.” However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them. Then they called on the Lord and said, “We earnestly pray, O Lord, do not let us perish on account of this man’s life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O Lord, have done as You have pleased.”

So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the Lord greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.

And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Basic Outline for Sunday’s Message

Jonah: Grace in Pursuit
Jonah 1:1-17

  1. The Lord Came to The Prophet
    1. A City in Need
    2. A Prophet in Need
  2. The Prophet Fled from the Lord
    1. The Wrong Direction
    2. The Wrong Transportation
    3. The Right Solution
  3. The Lord Pursued The Prophet
    1. The Lord Hurled A Great Wind
    2. The Lord Appointed A Great Fish

Study Questions

  1. Why did Jonah flee from the presence of the Lord?
  2. Why did God choose Jonah to give the message to the Ninevites when He knew Jonah was going to flee?
  3. Was God gracious in His appointment of the “great fish” to swallow Jonah?
  4. Is there any significance for Jonah remaining in the fish for three days and nights?

For a printable version, click here.

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