Friday, July 24
Further Study: “The book of Jonah is so significant for understanding the biblical basis of mission, because it treats God’s mandate to His people regarding the Gentile peoples and thus serves as the preparatory step to the missionary mandate of the New Testament. But it is also important for catching a glimpse of the deep resistance this mandate encounters form the very servant Yahweh has chosen to discharge His worldwide work.’’- J. Verkuyl, Contemporary Missiology (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1978), p. 96.
Discussion Questions :
1. “In the history of Nineveh there is a lesson which you should study carefully…You must know your duty to your fellow beings who are ignorant and defiled and who need your help.” – Ellen G. White, The Southern Work, p. 80. What is our duty to these fellow beings?
2. Assyria was one of the superpowers dominating the ancient near east from about 885 to 625 B.C. Israel and Judah suffered repeatedly under her harsh rule. Israel’ King Jehu was forced to pay tribute to the dominating Assyrian ruler, Shalmaneser III. Israel finally fell to Assyrian forces about 722 B.C. No wonder Jonah was reluctant to go to Nineveh, one of the four chief cities of Assyria, and the center of the worship is Ishtar, goddess of love and war. God had called him to visit the very spiritual heartland of enemy territory to call on the warlike Assyrians to repent. What lesson are here for us in regard to missions?
3. How can the remnant church avoid the assumption that the counsels and blessings of the Lord in areas such as Sabbath, health, and education are given to them for their own benefit, rather than for the benefit of the nations? Read Rev. 3:17, 18.
4. In what ways do the three angels’ message of Revelation 14:6-12 reflect the message that Jonah had for the Ninevites?
5. Some people automatically reject the Jonah story, particularly the part where he is in the belly of the fish. What presuppositions would cause them to reject it out of hand? What presuppositions do you need in order to believe it?