"The Jonah in Me": Follow Up Questions for Personal Application

I'd like to present follow up questions on my Jonah post that enable us to really turn inward and and make the message our own.

If you're like me, you'll often read an article that strikes home. You'll nod in agreement, perhaps breathe a sigh and say, "Yeah, that's me", but then go on with your busy day.

Please, print this out. You may want to keep a hard copy of your answers in your Bible (how about in the book of Jonah itself?) or distribute it as part of a Bible study with friends.


1. Jonah didn't have any trouble telling his own people about the Lord, but the Ninevites were a different story. Identify the people groups and settings that are your "ministry comfort zones", and then think of those that would stretch--even horrify--you if called to witness for Christ among them.

Consider distinctions such as: wealth, education, sexual orientation, other religions, races, nationalities, etc.

List the people you are the most comfortable around when talking about Jesus:

Now, the people groups that intimidate (or even repulse) you:

2. Is there a particular class, race, or religion of people that was maligned in your family, and you grew up prejudiced?

3. Perhaps you or a family member had a negative experience with someone that shaped your perception of that person's entire race, religion, or class. Please share it.

4. Who, then, would be your # 1 "Ninevites"?

Have you ever spoken bitter, rash judgments against them? Have you repented of these?

Which hillsides of ungodly judgments do you need to abandon?

5. We read in the Bible that the fleet of ships from Tarshish would bring King Solomon gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:21-22). It obviously was a place of great beauty and abundance!

So where is YOUR Tarshish? You know, the place where you hide when you don't like what the Lord is asking of you.

We also use our "tickets" as an excuse, don't we? "Well, I'm sorry", we tell others, "I'm committed or else I'd do this or that..."

And they are costly tickets. After all, we exchanged obedience to God for them!

Discuss some of the "Tarshish" excuses you use to avoid obeying God. Isn't it amazing how we think we can still hide our fears and bigotries from Him?

6. What kind of  "storms" arose that sabotaged your plans to ignore God and put some distance between the two of you? Are you in one now?

7. How did the people around you suffer in the rage of the storm? Is anyone suffering now because of your disobedience to the Lord?

8. Have you ever found yourself going "overboard" in a surrender to the Lord, not knowing what was going to happen? All you knew is that you wanted the storm to stop...not only for your sake, but for the sake of the people it affected! Share your thoughts.

If you're in a storm now, will you allow the Holy Spirit to toss you overboard into the loving, but corrective will of God? What was the alternative for Jonah and those on board the ship with him?

9. Have you ever been swallowed whole by a consequence of your actions SO HUGE that you thought you'd never make it out alive?

Was it (is it) a financial mess, a divorce, a court situation, custody battle, an addiction? Please describe.

Are you in a whale of a predicament now?

10. Jonah was obviously in shock for three days; but then, He remembered God. How long did it take you to turn to God in YOUR fish? Did you resist, feeling He was so fed up that He wasn't going to answer your plea for help?

11. Jonah acknowledged that even in that hell hole, God was there and had not abandoned him. He confessed that he had been observing lying vanities, repented of them, and relied upon the faithfulness of a merciful God instead.

Translated from the Hebrew language, lying vanities mean "useless" and "to lead astray". Therefore, "emptiness that leads one astray."

What kind of un-Biblical thinking kept you (or is keeping you) bound in the belly of a bad circumstance?

12. What did God do the MOMENT Jonah repented?

13. What does this quick action on God's part tell you about His desire to set us free from bad situations...even self-inflicted ones?

14. Once Jonah was deposited on land, he still had to get up and head toward Nineveh.

When we come out of a bad experience, we have the residue of where we've been all around us. Sometimes it's so thick and stinky, we tend to focus on it rather than the miracle!

Consequently, many people get stuck in the refuse of self-pity and wallow there instead of getting up and going on to serve God.

Are you stuck in some smelly, rotten memories of where you've been? Are you focusing on the mess instead of the miracle you've been given?

15. Surely Jonah was bleached white from the digestive juices of the fish. Even if you walk out of the vomit, you're still going to carry some scars of where you've been; but Jonah did not let that hold him back from obeying God. Will you?

What "scars" (embarrassing consequences) are you using as an excuse to delay fulfilling your assignment from God?

16. Although Jonah's preaching was successful, his attitude toward the Ninevites displeased God.

Have you ever been upset when God showed mercy to someone instead of judgment? In other words, "Why don't they have to suffer like I did? They're getting off scot-free..and after all they've done??"

The Bible does not record if Jonah ever repented of his attitude, nor does it mention any future ministry assignments. Why do you think the story ends so abruptly, and is there a lesson here for us?

17. Do you have any final thoughts about Jonah?

18. Be quiet before the Lord, and ask Him to share His thoughts. Write down what you believe He's showing you.

19. Now, based on what He has revealed, write down your response to God in the form of a prayer, offering him a renewed, trusting heart that is willing to go where He leads and carry His heart of mercy!

20. Finally, expect exciting assignments from the Lord that will bring many to repentance and new life in Christ!

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