The Gospel According to Jonah – Session 2
January 13, 2021
Jonah 2:1-6,7-10, Isaiah 44:6-11, 12-17, 18-20
without God is .
Did you ever not get something you really put effort and hope into getting? (For example: not make a team, not get a promotion you thought you were getting, or get turned down for a date) What did that feel like?
Why do you think those moments linger with us throughout life?
In this video J.D. is going to look into the first half of Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2. We are going to see what it took for Jonah to come to a place where he could finally obey God.
Watch the Session Two video.
Have you understood these three things: the futility of life God, the of idols, and that salvation to God?
How has God revealed to you the emptiness of life without Him?
What have you seen in someone else’s life that has helped you understand the beauty and purpose of a life with Christ?
In the video, J.D. discusses how the first major concept in Jonah’s prayer of repentance is the futility of life without God. Repentance always begins in a note of despair. As Jonah learned, though, it is better to be united with God even in the belly of a fish than on dry land without Him. The real pit is separation from God, not a particular circumstance.
The second major realization in Jonah’s prayer is the emptiness of idols. When you turn to an idol, you forfeit the grace that could be yours.
The third major realization in Jonah’s prayer is salvation belongs to the Lord. Seeing that Jesus was cast into the sea of God’s wrath for us gives us the motivation for the new kind of obedience.
Unpack the biblical text to discover what the Scripture says or means about a particular topic.
The prayer of the prophet Jonah in Jonah 2 praises the sovereign grace of God as the only means of salvation for him. He realizes to depend upon anything else is idolatry, and it will get him nowhere. The knowledge of the emptiness of idols is of course not unique to Jonah. Isaiah is another prophet who God raised up to speak His Word to His people and Isaiah spent much of his time urging Israel away from idolatry.
The Book of Isaiah is one of the longest in the Bible and is almost entirely filled with God’s admonitions to His people. While some passages are a little complex at first read, others are straightforward and almost satirical in tone. Isaiah 44:6-20 is one of the plainest explanations of idolatry we will find anywhere in the Bible. Considering this passage will help you fully understand the futility of Jonah’s flight, the emptiness of idols, and his confession that salvation belongs to the Lord.
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ Jonah 2:1-6,7-10 and ISAIAH 44:6-8.
Focus in on Isaiah 44:6-8. Summarize the message of these verses into one short thought.
This is perhaps the most central teaching of Scripture. Jonah’s prayer acknowledges God’s sovereignty over creation. Yet it took Jonah three days in a fish belly to get to this point.
Why is such a simple teaching repeated so often so hard for us to live by?
HAVE A VOLUNTEER READ ISAIAH 44:9-15,16-20.
Look specifically at the illustrations of the carpenter and the ironsmith. In these illustrations, what do you think the characters and their crafts represent?
Relying on verses 17-20 to guide you, what is the simple irony God is communicating in these illustrations?
What danger are both Isaiah and Jonah saying comes with idol worship?
For most of us, we aren’t bowing down to blocks of wood. But we do sacrifice time, money, and energy to the things we value.
What are common idols among your circles of friends and family?
How does Isaiah 44:21-23 and Jonah 2:6-9 call you back from times of idol worship?
Help your group identify how the truths from the Scripture passage apply directly to their lives.
We never grow beyond this message of salvation, only deeper into it. In what ways does this message give you a fresh hope today?
What is one achievable action step you can take this week in response to what we’ve discussed in this group?
Pray for God to rid your life and the lives of those in your group of idols that are drawing you away from Him. Ask the Lord to give those who are struggling with sin a repentant heart. Pray for victory. Praise God for the grace He has extended us in Christ.
44:6. A long argument against idols begins with an assertion of the uniqueness of God.
44:7. Only God can reveal the future, something that He does through His prophets (cp. 41:22; 42:9).
44:8. The invocation of witnesses places this passage in a courtroom setting. These witnesses will bear testimony to the fact that only Yahweh is a Rock—a place of protection and stability—not the false gods of the nations.
44:12-20. These verses describe the construction and worship of an idol. Ancient texts describing the making and care of idols confirm such a process. Pagan Near Eastern religious leaders probably did not believe that an idol was the actual god, but they did believe that the god made its power and presence known in the physical object. Thus the idol was seen as a potent representation of the deity. Laypeople, on the other hand, likely made a stronger association between idols and the deities, taking the graven wood or metal to be true deity. In any case, Isaiah’s argument was one that reduced all idolatry to its absurd foundation.
44:12-13. Some ancient idols were made from metal and others from wood. The description of their manufacture emphasizes that these were human creations.
44:14. Isaiah went back in this verse to the beginning of the process of constructing an idol—the planting and cultivation of a tree.
44:15-19. These verses express the ultimate absurdity of idolatry. The same wood used to construct an idol was also used to kindle a fire to keep warm and to cook food. Isaiah was aware that ancient Near Eastern people utilized rituals that intended to turn the wooden idol into an object of worship. In Mesopotamia these were called “opening of the mouth” rituals. Via this ritual, the presence of the god was thought to enter the piece of wood. Jeremiah 10:1-5 expresses a similar idea.
44:20. The lie in a person’s right hand is a reference to an idol that represented a false god and was really nothing at all.