Jonah Lesson 5 - Part 1

Anger Management

Jonah Chapter 4

 Icebreaker Question:  Have you ever run into someone with an explosive temper or a serious anger problem?  If so, are you willing to share it with the group?  Has anyone known of a professed Christian with this problem?

1.  In some of the groups we have shared with, members have related incidents of spousal abuse, a tense childhood brought about by a parent with an explosive temper, and some even experienced threats of physical violence within the family.  Unresolved and uncontrolled anger can destroy marriages, individuals, and even the church.

2.  After reading chapter 4 in Jonah, and digging deeply into the passage, I realized that Jonah (a preacher and prophet of God no less) had a serious anger management problem.

3.  Let's deal with Jonah's problem first, then move on to other Godly suggestions and a course of action for dealing with this problem.

a.  The Book of Jonah begins and ends with incidents wherein God is dealing with Jonah and his anger problem.

(i)   The first instance, if you will recall, was when God sent a large fish to swallow Jonah.  After three days in the belly of a fish, and some serious prayers, God forgave Jonah and the fish vomited him out on dry land.  Once again God instructed him to preach to the Ninevites Jonah hated so much.

(ii)  After the Ninevites repented, Jonah got mad a second time.

b.  So, here are a few thoughts to ponder:

(i)   What was the source of Jonah's anger problem?  The Israelites were God's chosen people.  They had been taught to have nothing to do with the Gentiles and their heathen gods.

(ii)  Why was it so ingrained into his psyche?  The Israelites were God's chosen people.  They had been taught to have nothing to do with the Gentiles and their heathen gods.

(iii) Was Jonah's anger similar to that felt by most of his country?  Perhaps.  Was he just manifesting how his people felt?  He apparently agreed to God's leading, but didn't want the Ninevites to repent.  Rather, he wanted them to be destroyed!

(iv)  His anger was so deep, and his views so selfish, that he was willing to die rather than face the problem.  And even with the clear realization that God was patient, loving, and merciful towards him, Jonah felt otherwise towards the Ninevites.  God's conversation with Jonah summarized in Jonah 4:9-11 shows that Jonah was selfish and self-serving.  Even though he had received pardon, he didn't want Nineveh to have God's forgiveness.

(v)  The Book of Jonah ends somewhat open-ended, with no clear resolution.  However, God's forgiveness of the wicked inhabitants of Nineveh, after true repentance, offers hope for us today.

(vi)  My final thoughts are that Jonah came to recognize that God was right all along.  Why?  Since Jonah is widely believed to be the book's author, and he was able to write so critically and introspectively about himself, he must have had a change of heart at some point in his life.

Q2.  The ability to look deeply into your own life and make adjustments to your persona and conduct is enviable.  Does the group know of anyone they have known or seen who has made such an adjustment?  Discuss the before and after person, without mentioning anyone's name.

Q3.  How do you feel about Jonah as a person?  As a prophet?  Have your feelings changed after studying this lesson?

4.  History records that approximately 100 years after the conversion of the Ninevites, they had regressed into their former ways of godless living, and renounced any former faith in Jehovah God.  (Nahum 2 and 3)  Because of their great wickedness at that time, and their affliction of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, God allowed the Babylonians to completely destroy Nineveh in 612 B. C.

 

 

 

 

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