Family Jesse Tree Study – December 17
Welcome to our family Bible study focused on preparing our hearts for Christmas. The Jesse Tree is the family tree of Jesus (see Matthew 1 and Luke 3 for a complete genealogy of Jesus). All along its branches are men and women of God who have incredible stories to share and from which we can glean a deeper understanding of faith and build a stronger relationship with God. God orchestrated these people and stories for a reason — to point us to His Son Jesus who comes to save us once and for all.
For this study, we encourage you to read, reflect, and journal on these scriptures on your own and then find a good time with your family to do this devotion together. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a devotion, discussion question, and prayer taken from “Jesse Tree Family Devotions” by the Reformed Church in America, then below that is a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. For printable ornaments to make your own Jesse Tree, see: http://images.rca.org/docs/discipleship/jessepatterns.pdf. If you’re doing this study with smaller kids, consider using a children’s Bible to share the stories, or use the shorter version of the scripture provided in parentheses. For older kids, consider introducing them to the SOAP method of journaling through this study.
We hope you join us in this study, and please share how it’s going, your favorite Christmas traditions, and prayer requests in the Comments section on our website.
Jonah 1-3 (shorter version – Jonah 3:1-5) – Jonah
Jonah Flees From the Lord
1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.
4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 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.
7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 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.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Jonah Goes to Nineveh
3 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. 4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
6 When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. 7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah was one of God’s special preachers, called a prophet. God asked Jonah to do a special and important job. But Jonah didn’t want to do the job God asked him to do, and so he ran away. Of course, God always knew where Jonah went; no one can run away from God. God was with Jonah on the storm-tossed ship, and God was with Jonah in the belly of the fish. God was with Jonah when he finally went to Nineveh to do the job God had asked Jonah to do. We can’t run away from God. God wants us to obey Him, but even when we don’t, God is still with us. God loves us at all times and in all places.
Have you ever tried to hide from God?
Loving God, thank You for watching over us in all things.
SOAP JOURNAL NOTE
Running Away | Jess Howell
Long has the story been told to kids in Sunday school about the big fish that ate Jonah. But oddly, the “why” of the story isn’t something kids always remember. In fact, you might say that kids relate being eaten by a fish as a consequence for “being bad” against God. And while that’s sort of true, the real message is that God will always find you and try to rescue you when you’re running full speed away from Him.
I really love how anyone can relate to the story of Jonah. While we aren’t swallowed by literal fish, life can swallow us into a pit, and we stay there. Sometimes it’s not until after you’ve been running and have fallen in that pit that you beg for God to rescue you. I’ve run from God countless times, but I very clearly remember the first time I was running hard in the opposite direction shortly after I was saved. I had made good friends in the church, and they were reaching out to me, but I wanted nothing to do with them, or God. I wanted to do things on my own, and believe it or not, it got me NOWHERE! It wasn’t until I got a call from my now husband that I seemed to “wake up” and see that God was trying to rescue me.
Father, I feel You should have given up on me a long time ago, but if I truly know You, I know You never will. Thank You for rescuing me, time and again. Amen.
The Discover One Thing main website continues to follow the Life Journal Reading Plan which covers the whole Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.
Posted on December 17, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged Advent, Bible, Bible Study, Christmas, fish, Jesse Tree, Jesus, Jonah, love, Ninevah, prophet, rescue, run away, sin, SOAP. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.