Lesson 13: May 28, 2017

God’s Pervasive Love: Jonah 4

Teaching Strategy: Explore how Jonah’s anger grew out of the limitations of his perspective. Compare and contrast this story with others in Scripture (such as Luke 15) where someone takes offense at the extent of God’s grace. Discuss why people who have experienced God’s grace sometimes resist the idea that God’s blessing is extended to others whom they do not see as deserving (e.g., the Ninevites or the prodigal son).  How can believers come to see those they might have written off as “enemies” the way God sees them?


In Jonah 4 Jonah expresses his anger at God for showing compassion to the Ninevites, saying that he fled to Tarshish in the first place (chapter 1) because he knew that God is “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing” (v.2b). God rejected Jonah’s complaint and used a kind of “living parable” to remind him that God’s redeeming love is not limited, but pervasive.

How might some believers today – like Jonah – lack compassion or try to limit the reach of God’s love? Who are the people from whom they might want to withhold compassion? Who are the people they believe are undeserving or should be kept outside the circle of God’s love? Would evidence of God’s pervasive love make them angry?

Spring 2016-17 Theme: Love

Unifying Principle: People are displeased and angry when things do not go their way. How can we gain a larger perspective? Jonah discovers the wide breadth of God’s pervasive love.

Posted on: May 22, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing