Principle Approach Studies in the Book of Jonah

Jonah Shore

Principle Approach Studies in the Book of Jonah

OK, so I am new at blogging! I was trying to put my teaching notes on the web for my students, and finally someone let me know a faster way to do it! I can put the outlines in pdf format and make them instantly available! Who knew? Probably everyone but me.

Anyway, the story of the prophet from the Galilee, Jonah of Gath Hepher (near Nazareth) is the story of a believer who plunged into rebellion and its accompanying behavioral depression. There is hope! Here are the four parts of the study in one easy to read, print or teach format!

The Principle Approach: “THE STORY OF JONAH”

Four Acts of a Drama on one who wants to “cut their own path” and not follow God’s call for their life.

ACT ONE: Song of the Pouting Prophet (Walking Away From God’s Best for You)

God has a desire for your life. He made you with specific gifts, talents and abilities – the way you are. Unfortunately, many of us spend a large amount of time running from right (because we feel doing wrong will somehow empower us with freedom) and following our call (because we have better plans for ourselves than God appears to have).

Quick outline:

  1. Will Disclosed (vv.1.2) — GOD MAKES HIS WILL KNOWN WHEN WE FOLLOW HIM.
  2. Way Declined (3) — GOD’S WILL IS CHOICE NOT COERSION.
  3.  Wind Devloped (4) — DISRUPTION IS TO GET OUR ATTENTION NOT TO “PUNISH”
  4.  Wares Destroyed (5) — GOD’S DEALINGS WITH US MEANT AS A TESTIMONY TO ALL
  5.  Wayword: CHOOSING NOT TO FOLLOW GOD ENDANGERS OTHERS
  • Disturbed (6) — GOD CAN USE A TESTIMONY EVEN WHEN BELIEVER HAS BEEN WRONG
  • Disclosed (7-10) — PEOPLE CIRCUMVENT GOD’S PLAN OUT OF COMPASSION
  • Disposed (11-15a) — CRISES BRING PERSPECTIVE. BEST RESPONSE: OBEDIENCE

6. Watchers Delivered (15-16) ONE SIN DOES NOT A FAILURE MAKE! GOD’S PLAN WILL CONTINUE

7. Wrong-doer Detained (17)

 Application: Are YOU a pouting prophet? …an innocent bystander? …or are you in the mainstream of God’s desire for you??

ACT TWO: The Pickled Prophet: Finding God the “Hard Way”

When I kick against God, He makes life harder. It isn’t because He doesn’t love me, it is because He DOES. Look at some principles from this prophet.

1. The classroom of the prophet’s prayer (1-6).

Principle #1: It doesn’t matter: a) where you are (1); b) how you feel (2); c) why you are calling (2); d) what you’ve done (3) …YOU CAN FIND GOD!

Principle #2: Finding God involves: a) a commitment (4); b) helplessness (5); c) acknowledgement of God’s control (6)

2. The confessions in the prophet’s prayer (7-9).

Principle: Four areas of disobedience: a) “forgot God”; b) neglected prayer c) believed lies -“you can run from God…”; d) lost thankfulness

3. The completion to the prophet’s prayer (9b-10).

Principle: God only delivers a man for the purpose of SERVING HIM. God did not send him back to ship he was running on, but onward to the place of his mission!

Application: What must God do right now in your life to become your highest priority? What has God called you to do; Are you busy about His work?

ACT THREE: The Preaching Prophet: “The best kind of broken heart”

I. The Prophet Preaching Repentance (3:1-4b)

A. The Commission of the Prophet (1,2)

B. The Cooperation of the Prophet (3,4a)

C. The Call of the Prophet (4b)

II. The People Understanding Repentance (3:5-9)

A. The Pattern of Repentance: (5,6)

1. agreeing with God (believe) about sin.

2. changing habits (proclaim fast).

3. changing appearance (sackcloth).

4. eliminating distinctions (greatest).

NOTE THAT THIS PATTERN IS REPEATED

B. The Proclamation to Repent: (7-9)

1. Don’t continue in present lifestyle.

2. Change focus: look UP!

3. Understand HIS control.

III. The Perfect One Accepting Repentance (3:10)

Repentance implies: a change in “works”

Repentance demands: a turning from “evil”

Repentance includes: a change in penalty

Application: Have you “repented” of sin? Are you ready to agree with God about your sin, change habits and lifestyle to conform to HIM?

ACT FOUR: The Praying Prophet: “Fighting the Battle of Depression

Principle: JONAH TEACHES US THAT DEPRESSION IS A BATTLE EVEN FOR THE Follower of God! God includes in His Word insight in dealing with DEPRESSION:

  1. Jonah had an understanding of the character of God (4:2b) and a developed theology, yet he became depressed.
  2. Even when Jonah did the “right things” (preach in Nineveh, pray, etc.) he still became depressed.

Depression begins when we feel mistreated by someone. (1)
Depression is really an issue against the control of God- we don’t like the way HE is working the plan. (2)
Depression usually leads to the wrong conclusion. (3)
Depression is usually associated with (accompanied by) guilt. (4)

A depressed person fails to see the provisions God has given. (5)

A depressed person spends much of their time occupied with personal comfort and satisfaction. (6-8)

3.  God has a message for the depressed believer:

a. understand that GOD is at work in all things to teach us (9).

b. allow GOD to redirect your feelings for HIS purpose (10).

c. open your eyes to many who are LOST around you! (11)

There’s a job to be done!!!