SEPTEMBER 27TH – DAY OF ATONEMENT – on the 10th Day of the Year 5781
Reorient Yourself, Return, Recover, and Reposition Yourself for A New Beginning…
The Book of Jonah is one of my most favorite Books of the Bible. Probably because it’s so misunderstood.
In a few Christian circles, the Book of Jonah is often thought about as a biblical fairytale, a bible story of sorts. Jonah in the belly of the whale, building a fire and camping out until he decided to take up the mission he was asked to perform and GOD released him.
But there is much more to this teaching…
On Yom Kippur, the Book of Jonah is read in order to help us reorient ourselves back toward GOD. It is a splendid tool to help us reassess and reevaluate where we are spiritually. Are we on board with the things of GOD or just giving lip service?
Are we willing to follow the plan of GOD, or just do the pieces and parts of the job that suits our sensibilities? Just how much dying to self are we prepared to do?
The world may show little love toward us and our loved ones, the world is harsh and can be so very difficult and destructive… but are we still willing to love the world despite all of the wrongs that have been done to us?
Spiritually, what happens when we blame GOD for the ills of the world? Is there any damage? What happens spiritually, to us and/or the world, when we disobey GOD?
Jonah’s one act of obedience was able to save a nation. How much more, could our one act of disobedience, deny salvation to the nations?
What if you are your brother’s keeper?
Tomorrow, please read these 4 chapters in the Book of Jonah and mediate on the WORD. Examine the Book again in light of these questions above & below and discover a brand new depth of knowledge about yourself and the Book of Jonah.
- How was Jonah introduced to us in scripture?
- How did Jonah introduce himself to the men aboard ship with him?
- How do you think GOD would introduce you to the world?
- How would you introduce yourself?
- Have you ever introduced yourself by your spiritual identity to anyone?
- Have you ever considered it?
- What was the turning point for Jonah? What made him decide to come up out from the belly of the whale?
- What makes you decide to come back from a crisis?
- Have you ever made camp in a bad situation? A situation of your own design or created by your own decision?
- What fueled Jonah’s transition from the whale, and back into the world?
- How did Jonah make it back?
- Was Jonah ever in the belly of a whale?
- Is there any point in time in the message that you detect that Jonah’s soul is in Jeopardy?
- Remember Rule #1: Always keep your eyes on what is happening to the soul.
- Is it alright for GOD to forgive those that you have not forgiven?
- or to forgive those who you refuse to forgive?
- Should GOD only forgive those that you feel are worthy of forgiveness?
- If you were a prophet of GOD like Jonah, and GOD asked you to go to your worse enemy (the person or persons that have done you the greatest damage) in order to give them a Prophetic Word from Him, how long would do you think it would take you to comply?
- I would do it immediately, without question; It would take me a few days… ; It would take me a while… ; or I don’t see myself doing it at all…
- Who are you most reluctant to forgive?
- Think personally, communally, globally
- Have you forgiven those that have done you the most harm? Are you willing to?
- Do you believe that unforgiveness damages the soul?
- What damage can unforgiveness do to a soul?
- What has unforgiveness done to your soul?
- What damage did you see happening to Jonah?
- How would it affect you if your mortal enemy heard the Word of GOD and responded with greater faith than your own people? or even you?
- How would it affect you if your mortal enemy heard you preaching the Word of GOD and knew GOD was speaking, inspite of your resentment toward them?
- What reason could there possibly be for GOD to extend blessings and opportunity for life,
- to those that oppress you?
- to those that have hurt you? or to those that have power over you?
- Should you plead the cause of the unrighteous?
- In the end of the Book, Jonah found himself in a place where he refused to forgive. The Assyrians had committed such atrocities to his people, he could not muster an ounce of love for this neighbor.
- Do you only love the loveable?
- Are you capable of having compassion on the unloveable?
- How best can you demonstrate love for the unlovely?
- We say/teach that GOD is love and that our faith is built on love… GOD says if we love Him, we must walk in love with others…
- What must die/live in us for us to walk in love with those that hate us without a cause?
- Is it possible to have enough compassion for those that hate us or mistreat us, that we can still minister to them the Word of GOD, in such a way that they will only see Him? Hear Him? Respond to His Word?
- Does the prophet of GOD need salvation?
- Or just the enemies of GOD?
- Does the prophet of GOD need one time salvation?
- or ongoing salvation?
- Jonah realized that he was just unwilling to forgive the Assyrians?
- What damage did he do to his own soul?
- What do you think caused the Assyrians to hear the prophet of GOD, and believe the Word he spoke and turn toward GOD?
- What will it take for your enemies on earth to look past you and actually hear the Word of GOD?
- In the beginning of the book, Jonah sat down in the belly of a “prophetic” whale… in the end of the book, Jonah sat down under a gourd.
- Jonah is delivered from the whale, but not the gourd. Why? What’s the distinction between the two?
- In the end, did Jonah lose his salvation?
- Was Jonah so resentful and so angry with GOD for having brought the Word of deliverance and redemption to his enemy that he could not move forward anymore?
- Is GOD allowed to forgive your enemies?
- Is it possible that Jonah could only follow GOD so far, and no further?
- Was Jonah only willing to follow GOD as long as he agreed with His Choices?
- or as long as he (Jonah) was serving those that he wanted to serve?
- What damage will unforgiveness, anger, resentment, disappointment, etc do to your soul?
- Why do you think Jonah would not repent of his spiritual condition and move forward?
- What has the power to stop you from releasing your burdens to GOD and asking for forgiveness?
- Who is entitled to the Word of GOD and His forgiveness?
- …only those that you approve of?
- or can GOD offer forgiveness to whomever He sees fit, without your pre-approval?
- Do all the nations belong to GOD, or just the ones we like?
- What is the one thing that can restore your soul back to its perfect spiritual condition??
These are just some of the questions the arise from the Book of Jonah. GOD provided answers to them all, in 4 brief, yet all inclusive chapters.
I urge everyone who reads this post, to take the time tomorrow and re-read the book of Jonah for the answers that are on the page and inside of you. After all, you are a living epistle of GOD.
What shall the Spirit of GOD write about you next year?
What shall you write of GOD & Man next year?
Don’t Allow This Year to be Sealed in Unforgiveness… The Choice is Yours Alone!