It’s a quirky little book … different from most all the others. But I love it, I really do. Love the book of Jonah!
It’s much more than the Sunday School story we remember about the runaway prophet who got swallowed by a whale (ahem — “fish”). In four short little chapters it tells us so much about who we are and who God is and how He wants us to see the world around us.
The story of Jonah also speaks prophetically of Jesus — it was a hint, a sign of things to come. Jesus said so Himself. And there’s a beautiful prayer in the middle of the book of Jonah, full of profound insight and wisdom into the battles we fight against sin in our own lives today.
These are all reasons I love this book, but there’s another one I’m thinking of today. It has to do with keeping it real. Being honest about ourselves, with ourselves, and with God. No pretense.
I don’t think you get more “real” than Jonah. The man, I mean.
When the most significant events of his life unfolded, he was not in a good place. His attitude problems had attitude problems. His issues had issues. Seriously. I have one of those study Bibles that includes character profiles of Bible heroes. For Jonah, under “strengths” they put: “survived an encounter with a large fish.” Not really a character trait, but it’s the nicest thing they could think to say.
See what I mean? Nowhere near as intimidating as the Proverbs 31 Woman.
And still, stinker that he was, Jonah experienced wave after wave of mercy. Oceans of mercy. And grace. Amazing grace. The same grace that’s available to me and you.
“Along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that ‘as you sow, so will you reap’ stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff. I’m holding out for Grace. I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity.” ~ Bono
Knowing who you are, and who Jesus is, and putting all your hope — not in yourself — but in Him: that’s keeping it real.
Can’t wait to dive into our study of Jonah over the next five weeks together!
Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls Assignment:
Read: Jonah 1-4.
Starting next week we’ll focus on one chapter at a time, but this week let’s get the big picture. Take fifteen minutes to read the book straight through. Jot down any questions you have as you read, notes on anything new to you. For more Bible study tips, see Five Simple Ways to Focus on the Words You Read.
Memorize: Psalm 139:23-24
Extras: You can download little flashcards I made for all of our memory verses for free here: VBS 2014 Memory Verse Printables. (Print them on cardstock or tape them onto file cards for more durability!) There’s also a Virtual VBS Cover Photo you’re welcome to use on Facebook and lots of good stuff on Pinterest too!
Today’s Question: If you’re planning to join us for the next five weeks, would you say hello and introduce yourself in the comments section below? You don’t have to, of course — no pressure. But I’d love to meet you!