[On-Site] Smooth Sailing

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Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.

Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.

So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”

So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.

And he said to them, “Pick me up and [d]throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”

Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 1:1-17

CG Discussion Questions:

1. Have you ever had similar attitude problem as Jonah, in refusing to submit or try to run away from God’s calling or will in your life, and what circumstances did you end up facing? Do you struggle to extend your love to those who committed wickedness or sins or those in your mind not deserve to be saved as how Jonah had his opinion against God’s grace in giving the opportunity for Nineveh to repent? (Jonah 1:5b, 9,12; Romans 5:6)

2. Compare the difference in response of Isaiah’s willingness and Jonah’ disobedience when God calls to send one out. Knowing that God will always send someone to proclaim the kingdom of God and will continue to mobilize the church to local outreach and world missions, are you willing to be that effective witness in the marketplace or in the sphere of influence where God has placed you or will you be like Jonah?
(Jonah 1:1-2a; Luke 4:43-44; Romans 10:15; Isaiah 6:8-9)

3. What caused the friction between God’s plan for Jonah and Jonah’s response to the call? Explain what submission means for you and what it takes for you to yield to the will of God instead of yielding to your own will, mind or emotion to have smooth sailing in your life.
(Jonah 1:15-17)