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The Cringe Factor
Series: The Divine Pursuit - A Study of Jonah
Week 2: Response - Day 1
“MAN’S EXTREMITY IS GOD’S OPPORTUNITY.” —JOHN HAMILTON
Reality TV loves broadcasting people’s failures. Whether breakup or bad decision, the men and women who’ve given their lives over to TV entertainment have to deal with the ugly truth captured in full-color. I often cringe watching someone make choice after painful choice.
Chapter One of Jonah makes me cringe in a similar way. “ooo, don’t do that!” I think to myself, wanting to cheer Jonah on and somehow magically change the words on the page.
But God does not major in reality TV shows. He is not interested in pretty little packages with a conflict, resolution and happiness in a thirty-minute block. And I doubt your life looks this way. (If it does, call me. We need to talk!) When it comes to Jonah, God doesn’t leave any painful details out.
If your life was captured in a reality show, what month, year or season would be hard to watch?
What words would you use to describe that time in your life?
How would you describe yourself during that time?
The details of Jonah’s fleeing from God—and the disastrous effects—are captured in full drama in Chapter One. With all you know now of Nineveh and Tarshish, record here the SEVEN verbs/action phrases that describe Jonah’s response to God’s call in verse 1:3:
Now let’s trace God’s counterpoint to each of Jonah’s actions. I’ve done the first one for you:
1:2 God calls Jonah, Jonah runs away
1:4-5: God sends a great wind, Jonah
1:11: God makes the storm rougher, Jonah
Do you get the sense that Jonah is being pursued here? God will not let him go. Surely there were many other prophets who would have preached to Nineveh. God could have let Jonah take his Tarshish vacation and been done with him! We know from our initial reading of Jonah that even his fishy encounter doesn’t fully change him. Jonah continues to be stubborn throughout the story, so why wouldn’t God find someone more willing?
For reasons that defy our logic, God found Jonah worth it. God wanted him specifically for this work.
God is just as relentless in His pursuit of you. He will not abandon you to your own devices without a fight.
Not only is God using the mighty storm to let Jonah know he’s not off the hook....He even uses the poor guys stuck in the boat with Jonah!
In ancient times, all people believed in the spiritual world. Throughout scripture and history we see evidence of that belief—mostly of people believing in multiple gods of different powers ( ...
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