Summary: Remember the big idea of Jonah: God is a God of extravagant grace, especially to those who least deserve it!
A Pouting Prophet and a Gracious God - Jonah 4
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
Jonah 4 Redo
If you will turn with me to Jonah four and will begin reading in verse one.
When Jonah saw that all the people were fasting and crying out to God, he fell to his knees and cried out, “Thank you O Sovereign God! I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. You are so good! I’m blown away by your mercy, for me in the fish and for the Ninevites in their ignorance. They are now my brothers! You are good and Your love endures forever!”
Jonah spent many days with the Ninevites, preaching and discipling them.
So ends the story of the prophet Jonah, a faithful prophet and friend to all who call on God’s name.
What’s wrong with this ending? Well, it’s not actually the real ending to the book of Jonah! Some people think that Jonah ends with the whale. If you’ve been in church a while you might think it ends with the revival in Nineveh.
But this morning, we will study the real ending to Jonah. I love how the Bible tells the truth. There is no sugarcoating at the end of the book of Jonah.
If I was Jonah I probably wouldn’t have included this chapter. But I’m thankful that he did because it will give us much to think about today.
We are continuing our series on the OT book of Jonah. God said go to Nineveh and proclaim judgement. Instead of going 550 NW to Nineveh, Jonah boards a ship bound for Tarshish, which is 2,500 miles east!
God said go and Jonah said no. He knew it was a suicide mission. Imagine a rabbi standing on a street corner in Berlin in 1942. But he also hated the Assyrians and had no interest in seeing them get a chance to repent. The love of God was reserved for the Jewish people alone and the Ninvites were a brutal people who had terrorized Israel.
Jonah finds himself in the middle of the sea in a terrible storm. Jonah might run but God would pursue him.
The sailors understood this was a supernatural storm and began praying to their gods. The captain went below deck and found Jonah asleep. He woke him up and begged him to pray.
After casting lots, the sailors discover the storm is Jonah’s fault. He tells them that he is a Hebrew and that he worships the God who created the land and the sea.
The sailors are terrified. You are running from the God that created the sea…in a boat…on the sea?!
He tells them to throw him overboard and the storm all stop. What’s the best way to get out of going to Nineveh? Dying would work.
They have more compassion that he does and try desperately to row back to land. They finally give up and pray to Jonah’s God and ask that they not be punished for throwing him overboard.
They hurl Jonah into the sea and the storm stops immediately. The sailors break out in worship on the deck while the sulking prophet treads water waiting to drown.
But God had other plans. He appointed a big fish to swallow Jonah and he spent three days and three nights in the most interesting air B and B ever!
From the belly of that big fish Jonah finally did pray, that’s what we studied last week from Jonah two. If you weren’t here last week, I would encourage you to watch the sermon on our FB page.
It was a conflicted prayer. He was thankful that God sent the fish to rescue him but he still wasn’t sorry for his disobedience. He still had no interest in seeing the brutal Ninevites receive mercy from God.
Jonah is called to go to Nineveh a second time and he obeys. He proclaims “40 more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” To his absolute amazement, all the people, from the common to the King, repent, put on sackcloth and cry out to God for mercy.
That will bring us to chapter 4.
Remember the big idea of Jonah:
God is a God of extravagant grace, especially to those who least deserve it!
Turn to Jonah 4.
Jonah’s Anger with God
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4)