August Reading: The Book of Jonah
August Memory Verse: Psalm 84:1-2
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"The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." Jonah 1:1-2
Author of Jonah: Jonah himself. [take a bow, Jonah]
Date it was written: Presumed to be sometime between 785-750 BC, during the reign of Jeroboam 11, the King of Israel. [yeah, I don't remember who Jeroboam is either]
Special things to look for in Jonah: God's never ending Grace. God's never ending pursuit of His people. [sigh]
Are y'all ready to dive into the book of Jonah? Me too!
Put on your swimsuit and get ready to set sail. [okay, just kidding here. swimsuit definitely optional]
A little history about our new friend Jonah: Jonah was a prophet. He is also briefly mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. Let me repeat, briefly.
Jonah was the son of Amittai. Please don't make me say that name. I haven't a clue how to pronounce it.
The first thing that I see in the very first verse is: "word of the Lord came to Jonah".
The question that I am dying to know is how did the word of the Lord come to Jonah? Was it through a dream, a vision, or a very audible voice? We don't know this answer. I like to think it was God's voice. A direct command from God's own voice. This is just the way my little head imagines the whole scenario. :)
Have you ever had God speak to you? Probably not audibly, but have you heard Him ask you to do something? Have you felt in your heart that God was telling you something?
More than likely you have. More than likely you have felt that tug on your heart to do something. To say something. To help someone. To forgive someone. To love someone.
Sometimes it gets uncomfortable, right? Our flesh gets really uncomfortable when God asks us to do something that takes us out of our cozy little atmosphere.
When we feel this tugging, here is what we need to ask ourselves:
~Does this line up with scripture?
~Will this bless someone despite the discomfort it causes me?
~Does it go against the grain of my flesh?
If the answers are yes, then more than likely the Lord is speaking.
However, if you are like me, you may wait for more confirmation. Sometimes, I wait too long. Sometimes I have waited so long that the opportunity was over and I kicked myself for not being obedient.
Maybe we are even like our friend Jonah. God tells us to "go", and we run the other way.
Oh, this steps on my pink toes!
The place where Jonah tried to escape to by boat was Tarshish. This town was in the exact opposite direction of Ninevah, and was just about as far from Ninevah as Jonah could get.
Whew, sound familiar, anyone?
I have ran away from the Lord so many times, the miles accrued would take me around the world and back.
Maybe I didn't necessarily run away physically, although sometimes I have, but I ran away in my heart.
God told me to love. I chose to not show love.
God told me to forgive. I chose not to forgive.
God chose me to turn the other cheek. I hardened my jaw and fought back.
God told me to hold my tongue. I chose to let my tongue go loose.
God told me to reach out. I chose to sit still.
There have also been times that I said, "yes" to God. Times that I put my screaming flesh aside and followed the Lord's command. [even if I muttered under my breath]
Those times ended up being some of the most memorable and awe-induced moments of my life. The moments that are seared into my spirit and my heart indelibly.
As we crack open the book of Jonah today, read slow. Let it sink in. Inhale each word that God is showing us.
Here are some things to ponder as you read:
1) Think back to a time when God asked you to do something and you froze. You knew it was Him speaking, but you never moved forward. How did you feel afterwards? Were you relieved that you didn't move, or regretful that you froze? Be honest with yourself. There is no right or wrong answer, just truthful answers.
2) Now, here's the good part: Think back to a time when you knew God was nudging you in an area and you obeyed. You said Yes to His nudging! What were the results of your obedience? What things happened when you trusted His leading, despite your own hesitations? [I KNOW y'all have some awesome stories!!!]
3) Maybe you have never heard or felt the Lord speak to you. Maybe you are unsure if He has ever spoken to you. This is okay! In fact, I want you to talk to the Lord today. Spill your pretty heart to Him and ask Him to speak to you. Ask Him to nudge your heart this week. When He does, thank Him!
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
[Please feel free to share some of your answers with us below. No judging here. Just love.]
Girls, we only covered two verses today, and look what He is already teaching us! He is speaking, sweet friends!
Get ready to set sail on the greatest journey of discovering God's absolute, undeniable, and unshakable Grace and Pursuit of YOU!
You will be amazed at the lengths He goes to when He wants to catch your pretty little heart. He's smitten by you. So smitten, that He will stop at nothing to capture your precious heart.
just say yes,