The story of Jonah The Prophet and The Big Fish was a Sunday School favorite in our childhood years. However this story speaks very pointedly to all of us even into adulthood with themes, truths, and insights that we were not presented as children. Jonah was a prophet with a book in the bible that bears his name, but is he the man of God we thought he was? And the bigger question is, in the end is he a person we would want to be like?
1. What was the big lesson as presented to you as a child concerning Jonah's story?
2. Have you ever known what you were supposed to do but didn't want to do it? What are some reasons that led you to run from God in those situations?
3. Why is it important that we understand that God isn't bothered when we run to him in those moments when we have nowhere else to run?
4. Is there any group or person that you struggle to love, anyone you may not have the desire in your heart to see them come to faith because of who they are like God would desire for them?
5. Why are those who tend to be good so offended by or struggle with the message of God's grace?
6. Read Jonah's prayer to God in chapter 2. Do you think it is a prayer of true repentance or simply lip service? What specificity does Jonah commit to do? What do his future actions tell you about the true state of his heart? Have you ever made a commitment or prayer simply to avoid consequences instead of out of a real sense of repentance?
7. If you were rewriting the story of Jonah for today's time, who would stand in for Nineveh? Who would stand in for Jonah? What might God's compassion and love look like in our modern-day version?
8. Can you imagine an act of God's forgiveness that would upset you (i.e. a person or group that's so bad that you would have mixed feelings about them being forgiven)? What does that tell you about God's love vs. our love?
Is there a Nineveh in your life? Begin to pray for God's heart concerning that person or those people.
Jonah 4:2 I knew you are gracious and compassionate God.