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Jonah 4:5-8

Talks for Growing Christians

The Lord Uses Object Lessons to Teach Jonah

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Lesson Number 9

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. All of life’s comforts are under God’s control.
  2. All of life’s circumstances are under God’s control.

Practical Application

  1. Are you an emotional yo-yo?

Questions

  1. Why do the Assyrian Christians hold a three-day fast every year during the month of February?
  2. Was Jonah thankful and happy that the entire city of Nineveh repented when he preached?
  3. How did Jonah answer the Lord when asked if it was right for him to be angry?
  4. Why did Jonah build a shelter for himself outside the city?
  5. God’s message to Nineveh through His servant Jonah was, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Did God overthrow Nineveh after the forty days?
  6. List objects that God used to teach Jonah some important lessons.

Answers

  1. To commemorate the great spiritual awakening that took place in Nineveh according to the Book of Jonah.
  2. No. He was angry because the Assyrians were the enemies of Israel, and Jonah did not want mercy shown to these cruel and pagan people.
  3. He didn’t answer him. He just stomped out of the city.
  4. He was giving God another chance, so to speak, to send judgment on Nineveh.
  5. No, because the people had truly repented and had turned from their wicked ways. God withheld His judgment of the entire Assyrian Empire for approximately 150 more years.
  6. God used a plant, a worm and a vehement east wind.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Jonah was happy for the comfort that God gave to him, the shade of the plant. Perhaps Jonah took this comfort as a sign of God’s approval of his attitude and actions, but nothing could be further from the truth. Have you ever taken God’s blessing as a sign of His approval? God provides the comforts, the shade plants along the way, but remember they are all under His control. When the comforts come, thank the Lord, but also ask Him if there’s a lesson to learn.
  2. The comforting shade plant was only good for one day because God had prepared a little worm to attack the plant. Then He prepared a hot scorching wind that sapped Jonah’s strength. God was sovereign over all the circumstances. Contrast Jonah’s response to Job’s response when their comforts were taken away. See Job 1:21. Is there a little worm eating away at your comfort right now? Maybe there’s a strong wind of opposition sapping your strength and leaving you faint. Is the Lord speaking to you? What is your response? Listen, hear, and pray!

Challenge

  1. Jonah was an emotional yo-yo because his emotions were governed by outward circumstances and not by his faith. Are you an emotional yo-yo? Do you yo-yo with outward circumstances? When the devastating storms of life come in, do you, like Jonah, wish you were dead? Recognize that God is sovereign and in control of the worms and the winds, and that He is working all things for your good.

Key Verses

  • “The Lord God prepared a plant…God prepared a worm…God prepared a vehement east wind.” Jonah 4:6-8

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