This Week’s Main Idea:
We love God’s grace and mercy when they’re directed at us, but our hearts are exposed when He extends that same grace and mercy to our enemies.
What was the last really BIG decision you had to make, and what were the stakes involved in it? Have you ever hesitated to do what was right because an enemy or opponent might benefit from it?
In Jonah’s story, we will see that he was given a second chance to obey God’s call. When he took it, Jonah preached and the Ninevites believed God (v. 5). Jonah’s words found eager ears and open hearts… and that was the last thing that Jonah wanted.
Read Jonah 3:1-4.
1. Compare these verses with Jonah 1:1-3. What similarities and differences do you see?
2. What is your impression of the message that Jonah delivered to the people of Nineveh?
Read Jonah 3:6-9.
3. What was the result of Jonah’s obedience to God?
4. What does “repentance” mean and involve?
5. How do you know when someone is genuinely sorry for something wrong he/she has done?
6. What are some ways that we publicly portray repentance and humility before God in our culture?
Read Jonah 3:10-4:5.
7. What does it mean that “God relented” or “had compassion” on Nineveh? What does this mean for us?
8. Why do you think Jonah reacted the way he did to Nineveh’s repentance and God’s compassion?
Taking it Home:
9. Think of one person in your life in need of God’s mercy, but who you generally don’t get along with. How can you further your relationship with him or her this week?
10. What is one area of your life where you might presume upon God’s mercy (or overlook your need of it)? What would it look like to bring that into submission to the authority of Christ?
Suggested prayer request:
Thank you, God, for calling us even when we were lost. Remind us that we all have been infected with the disease of sin and all are in great need of your mercy and love. Give us your heart for other people — even our enemies — and help us to engage them with the message of grace.
Other Scriptures to Engage with this week:
Genesis 4:1-16; Deuteronomy 29:10-19; Malachi 2:10-3:5; Zechariah 7:4-14; Acts 10:25-48; Genesis 44:24-45:20.