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I am so excited about the next 39 days as we journey through the book of Jonah to look at how God can take what seems disappointing , devastating and possible hopeless and turn the situation around full circle in victory. Have you ever hit a pot hole and your car or bicycle went reckless back and forth in the road? Well life unplanned situations can do that too, but thank God for the word, prayer and strength to stand in faith.
Have you ever felt unworthy to be used by God because you did not complete a task? Perhaps you feel intellectually inadequate. You hear instructions to tell others about salvation but resist because it appears your love ones are not heeding the voice of salvation. Jonah was given several task during his life.
Jonah’s first mission was given to him by Elijah — he was to anoint Jehu as king in the year 705 BCE. After the failure of his second mission, to rebuke Jehu’s successor, Jeroboam the second, he was given his final mission. The mission that God gave him was one that he could not open his heart to accept. He was sent to the capital of Assyria, Nineveh, to urge its population to repent. How bizarre the assignment sounded to him! His own people were falling uncontrollably into a chasm that seemed to have no bottom, yet he was sent to save others — the archenemies of Israel!
Jonah actually dreaded success of this mission far more than he dreaded failure. How could he bear to witness the contrast of the Assyrians returning to God in the face of his prophecy, with the Jews stubbornly resisting any chance for spiritual self-preservation? Therefore, he attempted to escape from his destiny.
Think about what you know about your destiny – are you in of denial or rebellion? Priscilla Shirer’s notes that “I know what goes through a person’s mind who does not want to engage fully in the season of life God is call her into.” Are you reluctant because of fear? You think you lack skills for the task? You think about haunting memories of your past? Your future and the what if’s?
Take heart and mediatate on Psalm 22:10-11 says, “ I was thrust into your arms at my birth. You have been my God from the moment I was born. Do not stay so far from me, for trouble is near, and no one else can help me.” Learn to rest in His arms , even when you stumble and fall .
During the next 39 days grab your bible, a pen , and journal and watch what happens when you pray, plan and prosper spiritually, mentally, and physically during this study. The book we are studying is Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer.
I. Scriptural text:
“Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest.” Job 3:11-13.
II. Questions to ponder:
1. What if Jesus chose not to fulfill his destiny of the cross? How is sinking into sadness like being in the belly of a whale? Think about reasons you should be glad that you were born for such a time as this.
2. Why are you holding onto failures? Think about why you need to obey and move forward. Do you feel like Job in the scriptural text.
III. Quiet Time “silence for meditation” Rest in his presence, worships him, and then take a moment to be silent in his presence.
IV. Journal Reflection: Write about what you experienced during the time of pondering, and meditation on scriptural insight. Where do you go from here?
Comments: Post what you gleaned from the first chapter of the book or share a brief testimony.