The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.’ (Jonah 2:5-10)
Summary: If we are a Christians, we have vowed to worship Jesus. Let’s make good on our vow to be whole-hearted worshippers.
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In the depths of suffering Jonah learned to worship and pray. He learned to have hope against hope. Writing of his experience at some time after these events, he was able to testify to God hearing his prayer and his life being ‘brought up from the pit’.
In response to God’s saving mercy, Jonah makes a commitment to God. He writes:
‘What I have vowed I will make good’.
What has he vowed to do? The text shows us that he has vowed to have a new devotion to praise and worship:
“But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
Jonah promises to continue to remember, be grateful, and celebrate loudly - ’with shouts of grateful praise - how God has rescued him. He vows to continue to say ‘Salvation comes from the Lord’.
God’s goodness and salvation in our lives should lead all of us to be enthusiastic and faithful worshippers. David sets us an example when he writes:
‘Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.’ (Psalm 103:1-5)
RESPONSE - MAKE GOOD ON YOUR VOW TO WORSHIP
If we are a Christian, we have vowed to worship Jesus. Let’s make good on our vow to be whole-hearted worshippers. Everyone of us who have received Jesus has been brought out of the depths and raised to the heights! Are we expressing our love and appreciation to the one we’ve promised to love with all of our hearts? Are we committed to enthusiastically declaring ’Salvation comes from the Lord’?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Please try to use the COME TO JESUS DAILY DEVOTIONALS (blog). This will help us to get deep into this book together. There is also a video option if that helps (Ensure that everyone knows how to access this)
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. RECAP OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE - PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR GROUP
IN THE BELLY OF THE FISH
Please read Jonah 1:17-2:10
BIG IDEA: SUFFERING LEADS TO DEEPER DARKNESS OR GROWTH AND GRATITUDE.
Jonah, after running away from God’s call to go the Nineveh, ends up being thrown into the sea and into the belly of a huge fish for 3 days and nights. Here, in his suffering, Jonah has a choice: He can descend into greater darkness or he can turn to God in trust, prayer and worship.
I’m sure that we’ve all had the experience for feeling lost and afraid. What’s our response? How would we answer: In my distress I…
Jonah's response was to exhort himself to turn to God in prayer and worship, acknowledging God's greatness and mercy; choosing not to let his mistakes and dark circumstances rob him of faith.
Jonah’s 3 days in the fish, are spoken of by Jesus as ‘the sign of Jonah’(Matthew 12:39-41). Just as Jonah was 3 days in the heart of the sea, so Jesus was 3 days in the grave for our salvation. As Jonah was given a second chance and was brought out into light and life to serve God, so, Jesus' death and resurrection give us life and hope.
Finally, God commanded to fish to vomit Jonah onto the beach. With God -the God of resurrection - there is always the opportunity to return - to repent - and come back to a place of prayer, worship, obedience and hope.
On Sunday, we discussed the importance of SIV - a strategy of building relationships to bring others to Jesus. The three key elements of SIV include serving the real needs of others, investing time to deepen relationships, and inviting individuals into church community and events such as Alpha. By actively engaging in these actions, and through prayer, we trust that we will have opportunities to share the gospel and lead others to a deeper understanding and relationship with God through Christ. If you missed it, you might find it helpful to watch this interview with Yves together:
Why and how can suffering lead to deeper darkness or growth and gratitude?
How would you answer: ‘In my distress, I…’?
What aspects of Jonah’s prayer inspire you and why?
How have you Served, Invested and Invited in your communities this week? (Let’s share about this again next week)
How have you got on with making a list and praying for your non-believing friends each day? (Let’s share about this again next week)
Let’s now pray for specific people that God has put on your heart and in your life.
Let’s pray for each other that the Spirit would fill us with His resurrection power so as to be compassionate and courageous this week.