Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God sent a fish to swallow disobedient Jonah. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to make sure that we obey God, so God doesn’t have to do similarly to us.
Read Jonah 1:7-9
I. Storm’s Cause. In our Sunday School material the sailors cast lots to help determine the cause of their troubles. Jonah is selected. He talks about being a Hebrew who worships the God of heaven.
- Spiritual causes. Notice in vss. 7-8 that the sailors looked for a spiritual cause for their troubles.
On one hand, there are times when the cause of our troubles have to do with spiritual matters like disobeying the will of God. The proper response to discovering our sins is repentance – turning back to obeying God’s will.
On the other hand, there are times when our troubles have to do with spiritual matters like God is working all things out for the good of His people.
In other words, we did not do anything wrong, but God is going to work it out for our good. Let’s work on being sensitive to the move of God, even in our rough times.
Read Jonah 1:10-11
II. Sailors’ Concern. In our Sunday School material the sailors asked Jonah, what he had done. They then asked, what they should do. The sea was getting rougher.
- Seeking God before the storm. Notice in vss. 10-11 the sailors asked about what to do, after the sea got rougher in their lives. In like manner, there are those who seem to be concerned with doing God’s will, only after things have gotten too rough for them to handle.
Let’s be open to God’s will for our lives, before the storms come. Obedience can help us avoid some storms.
Read Jonah 1:12-17
III. Actions’ Consequences. Jonah told the sails to throw him over board. In our Sunday School material the sailors tried to row out of the storm. They eventually threw Jonah off the ship. The sea calmed down. Jonah was swallowed and in the belly of a fish for three days and nights.
- Owning our part of the problem. Notice in vs. 12 of our Sunday School material that Jonah was honest about being the cause of the trouble. There are so many marriages, friendships, churches, jobs, and communities that would be better off, if the guilty party could be honest enough to say, “it is my fault.”
The truth is often that it is our fault – everyone needs to own a piece of the responsibility. Let’s work on owning our part of the problem. From this step we can start working on how we make corrections.
- Fearing God. Notice in vss. 13-16 that the sailors did not want innocent blood on their hands, and they ended up fearing, sacrificing, and making vows to God.
First, we should strive to avoid shedding innocent blood. We should avoid speaking negatively about people and situations, especially when we are not going to try to help change things for the better.
Second, we should fear God enough that we strive to live by His will. His will includes our giving (i.e., sacrificing) and keeping our word (similar to vows).
God’s love and respect language is obedience. Let’s work on avoiding the shedding of innocent blood and fearing God enough to obey Him.
- God and the fish. Notice in vss. 15, 17 that God can do miraculous things. He can calm a terrible storm. He can send a fish to swallow a man and hold the man in his stomach for three days and nights.
The smaller your god is the more unbelievable it is that a fish could swallow a man and the man stays alive for three days and nights in the belly of the fish. But when your God is great awesome, then the fish story is much more believable.
Let’s live like we serve a great and awesome God. At the core of such living are the issues of making sure that we are saved and striving to love God and others, as we love ourselves.
Conclusion: Let’s work on making sure that we obey God, so God doesn’t have to send a fish our way. God has much for those who obey His will.