The Church of Jesus Christ (a particular people in a particular place) is the refuge from our worst enemies: our personal sin, a fallen world, and ungrateful idolaters. Not only are these enemies displeasing to God, they are ultimately dehumanizing. That means that attachment to a local people and place not only helps us to please God, but it also causes us to flourish as human beings.
- Personal Sin (vv. 1-3)
When we left Jonah in the last study, he had been saved by the great fish whom God “provided” (v. 17). This prayer of praise in chapter 2 proves that Jonah viewed this strange conveyance as a gracious rescue by God; not as a judgment. God loves us too much to allow us to continue in our rebellion for long, so he graciously sends “storms” in our lives to bring us to repentance.
- Fallen World (vv. 5-6)
Not only did memories of corporate worship provide equilibrium for Jonah in his distress over personal sin, but it also anchored him when he was literally at the mercy of natural forces trying to kill him.
- Ungrateful Idolators (vv. 8-9)
Perhaps the greatest enemy anyone faces is ingratitude to God and the idolatry that produces. For Jonah, he had lost his gratitude for salvation. Jonah reinforces what the Bible teaches elsewhere—ingratitude leads us to serve idols (Ro. 1:21-23; cf. Ps. 120; 31:6; 69:1-15). Idols require constant feeding and only give temporary satisfaction. An idol promises to make you happy if you will give it what it demands, but you will always give more than you get.
- Can you think of a time you were experiencing something difficult in your life and God used corporate worship or fellowship with other believers to readjust your perspective?
- Are you sometimes overwhelmed with the reality of sin in the world? How so? In what way(s) does corporate worship help give you courage and hope to face the coming week? We worship on Sunday because it is the day Jesus rose from the dead. How might this shape the way you see worship in relation to sin in the world?
- What part(s) of the worship service can help work gratitude into our hearts? How have you seen this happen in your own life?