Summary: What are the danger signs that we have become angry or embittered towards God?
ANGRY AT GOD
I would direct your attention this morning to the OT Book of Jonah as we consider the life of a man who was ANGRY AT GOD.
It may seem odd to you for us to be dealing with the topic of being angry with God on the Sunday of Thanksgiving Weekend—after all, we just celebrated a Holiday specifically devoted to expressing our gratitude towards God…But the truth of the matter is that throughout our nation, and even, I suspect within our own congregation, the ability of some to give Thanks this week was hindered because they were ANGRY AT GOD.
That may be difficult to admit, but if we’re honest about it, we would all have to admit that at one time or another we were angry with God.
• Upset with…Displeased with…Disappointed in.
• A time in our life when we felt that God had let us down.
The story of Jonah is one of the most familiar of the Bible.
Jonah is called by God to preach to the people of Ninevah, the capital city of Assyria...Ninevites are wicked, immoral, evil people...Within the next 50-70 years, the Assyrians will attack and conquer Jonah's people in Israel...Jonah has no desire to preach to Ninevah—He’s afraid of them; He hates them...So Jonah, in rebellion, gets on a ship heading as far away from Ninevah as he can get.
While on the ship, a storm comes up...the sailors learn that the storm is a result of Jonah's fleeing of the Lord...Jonah is cast overboard, and is swallowed by a "great fish"...Jonah prays to God, and after 3 days, he is spit up on the shore...Jonah goes to Ninevah...Preaches (40 days and Ninevah will be overthrown)...The people immediately repent...This is one of the most dramatic stories of conversion in the Bible…And God relents of his plans to destroy Ninevah.
And that is where we pick Jonah up in JONAH 4:1-11
As we study the story of Jonah, a man who was angry at God, I want us to notice 5 attributes that contribute to the anger that Jonah was feeling towards God.
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee 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. (Jonah 4:1-2)
Notice—before he became angry he was greatly displeased…This was an anger that built over time…It started with the intense irritation that Jonah had towards God…The more he thought about it, the more displeased he got until he was extremely angry with God…In fact, the word anger in the Hebrew language means “to become hot”…Kind of like the English idiom “hot headed” to describe someone who is very angry…But it’s an anger that builds up over time.
So, Jonah's anger arises from his irritation with God...And he is irritated with God because God does not destroy the people of Ninevah.
Jonah: "I knew it, I just knew it. I knew if they heard the Word of God and repented that you wouldn't destroy them."
THE MESSAGE: 2He yelled at GOD, "GOD! I knew it--when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That's why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!
JONAH UNDERSTOOD THE FUNDAMENTAL NATURE OF GOD:
1. God is Gracious--he gives us what we do not deserve.
2. God is Merciful--He doesn't give us what we do deserve.
3. God is Slow to Anger--longsuffering...patient.
4. God is Kind--NIV: Abounding in love...loyal to keep His commitments.
5. God does not delight in harming others—relents from sending calamity
Keep in mind, Jonah knows these things about God not just because he learned in Prophets’ School that God has these qualities, but he knows them first-hand…These are the exact characteristics God manifested towards him when he was rebellious and disobedient in running from God.
Here is a God-called prophet of Israel, who has gone through Ninevah preaching about Jehovah--he has not been harmed, the people have responded and repented in a magnificent manner--and he is irritated that God is acting like God.
• God is faithful to His character.
Jonah is like the workers in the Parable of the Laborers, Matthew 20.
Early in the morning, boss hires workers for 1 penny for day's labor...Again at 9, 12, 3, boss hires more workers for a penny...an hour before the end of the work day, he hires additional laborers for a penny. At day's end, he pays the workers: