Summary: Exposition of Jonah 4
Have you ever noticed how the same people that make you so glad can sometimes make you so mad?
The same bride and groom who can’t stop smiling and laughing every minute of the honeymoon can later be heard 3 houses down yelling, “You make me so mad!”
The same baby you once doted over hits the terrible twos or the terrible teens and suddenly the doctor has to increase the dosage of your blood pressure medicine.
One of the ways you identify your best friends is that you can both get mad at each other and still stay friends.
Some of the people who make you glad can really make you mad. Does this apply to God?
There’s an old chorus we used to sing in the church I got saved in:
He has made me glad, He has made me glad, I will rejoice for He has made me glad. (2X).
It was one of my favorites, because just singing it sometimes made a little more glad. But there were times when it was hard to sing this song, because quite honestly, He didn’t make me glad: He made me mad.
When I would pray and He seemed to ignore me; when I thought I needed something, and He didn’t give it to me; when my life deteriorated into one big mess, and He didn’t straighten it all out---then I confess to you, I’d get disappointed, frustrated, and even angry at the Lord.
I later discovered I was in good company, because the Bible tells us quite a few heroes of the faith got mad with God.
Moses was glad to lead Israel out of Egypt, but then Moses got mad at God.
Ex 5:22-23 So Moses returned to the LORD and said, “Lord, why have You brought trouble on this people? Why is it You have sent me? 23For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have You delivered Your people at all.”
Job was a man who, according to the first verse of the book that bears his name, was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And yet during his time of testing said in
Job 7:19-20 19How long? Will You not look away from me, And let me alone till I swallow my saliva? 20Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself?
Even the apostle Peter—the Rock--- sometimes got frustrated with his Lord.
Mt 16:22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
Sometimes the God Who makes you glad can make you mad. We know we ought not to feel that way, but sometimes it’s how we feel. Why do we get mad at God? How does God react when we get mad at Him? How do you get over being mad with God? How do you get from being mad with God to being glad in Him again?
One of the classic cases in the Bible of a person being mad at God is found in Jonah 4. It’s a strange ending to a strange tale about a prodigal prophet that gets turned around, and yet still ends up getting mad at God. I want us to read this chapter tonight, and talk about why we get mad at God, and how we can get glad in Him again. Read vs. 1-4 with me.
Why do we get mad at God? For some of the same reasons Jonah got mad with God. We get mad
I. WHEN GOD DOESN’T DO THINGS MY WAY. (v. 1-4)
Most of us like to get our way, don’t we?
I’m extraordinarily patient provided I get my own way in the end.—Margaret Thatcher
But what happens when we don’t get our way? We do the same thing Jonah did—we get angry. Why is Jonah so mad? God doesn’t do things His way.
In the opening scene Jonah is probably still in Nineveh, (cf. v. 5) looking around in horror as these people repent and believe God. Kind of a strange reaction for a preacher, don’t you think? Jonah is fuming to himself this isn’t supposed to happen! These people are supposed to die! If they keep this up, I know just what God will do! After all, Jonah is a prophet; he knows God is: gracious and merciful…, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm. (v. 2).
As it dawns on him that God will not destroy these wicked people, he finally explodes: I knew it! I just knew it! God, I knew this would happen! That’s the reason I ran off in the first place- I knew you would do this to me! I am so mad---I’m so mad I could just die!