This is lesson 3 of 4 in Jonah’s Guide to Mishandling the Good News, a bible study on Jonah. Step 3: Tell Others How God Had Mercy on You
- Main Point of the Passage: When the Ninevites believed God and gave up their evil ways, God had compassion on them
- Main Point of the Lesson: God is compassionate toward people who turn from their evil ways
- Main Application of the Lesson: Group members will pray that our country will repent and God will have compassion on us
To prepare for this lesson, write your own answers to each of the questions below. You will share some of your answers with the group, but make it your goal to talk less than 20% of the Bible study time. Ask the questions, listen to your group, and let them carry the Bible study. You’ll be amazed.
If you plan to use the optional homework, you’ll need two or three volunteers each week. A few days before your Bible study, choose two volunteers and give each of them one of the following assignments. Tell them you’d like them to take 3-5 minutes to share their work with the group.
Once everyone in your group is sitting in a circle, say, “Here’s the first question. Everyone answers the first question, and it’s just for fun.” Then read the first question, pause, and listen to your group’s answers.
Smile Question: Where would you land if you could parachute into any location on earth?
Share Question: As God watches our country, what do you think distresses him?
Introduce the Passage: God is compassionate toward people who turn from their evil ways. That’s what Jonah and the Ninevites saw in Jonah 3. When the Ninevites believed God and gave up their evil ways, God had compassion on them.
Study Question: As we read Jonah 3:1-10, look for evidence that the Ninevites change of heart was sincere.
Possible answers include:
- They fasted (v. 4, 7)
- They put on sackcloth and sat in dust as a sign of mourning (v. 5-8)
- They called earnestly on God (v. 8)
- They gave up their evil ways (v. 8)
- They did not take God’s compassion for granted (v. 9)
Connect-the-Dots Question: Jonah’s message was, “In 40 days Nineveh will be demolished!” Why do you think he avoided adding some message of hope like, ‘…unless you repent’ ?
Possible answers include:
- Maybe he assumed God had already made the final decision to destroy Nineveh
- Maybe that’s all God told him to say (see Jonah 1:2 and 3:2)
- Maybe Jonah left out hope of repentance because he wanted God to destroy Nineveh (see Jonah 4:1-3).
Count-the-Cost Question: What do you think causes a person to get to the point where they would rather see God’s judgment than his compassion?
Let’s-Do-It Question: How might our words and our prayers change when we hope for God’s compassion on our country rather than His judgment?
Father, we have sinned against you. You know the sins of our nation and the sins of each one here. We ask you to have compassion on us. Please spare us from the judgment we deserve. Forgive us for our sins. Amen.