Summary: God chooses who gets His grace.
Are You Having A Spiritual Temper Tantrum?
Text: Jonah 4:1-11
1. Illustration: At the beginning of a new year, a high school principal decided to post his teachers’ new year’s resolutions on the bulletin board. As the teachers gathered around the bulletin board, a great commotion started. One of the teachers was complaining. "Why weren’t my resolutions posted?" She was throwing such a temper tantrum that the principal hurried to his office to see if he had overlooked her resolutions. Sure enough, he had mislaid them on his desk. As he read her resolutions he was astounded. This teacher’s first resolution was not to let little things upset her in the New Year.
2. Two-year olds aren't the only one that throws temper tantrums. Sometime adults are just as guilty. Often our attitudes reveal that we are having a spiritual temper tantrum.
3. One of the most popular spiritual temper tantrums that people in the church throw has to do with whom God offers His grace.
a. We think its great when God offers His grace to those we like and enjoy being around.
b. However, when He save those less desirable people, in our opinion, we just assume God leaves them in their sin.
4. The truth of the matter is...
a. God's grace is for everyone
b. It is God's grace to give as He chooses
c. He gives it out of love
5. Let's all stand as we read together Jonah 4:1-11
Proposition: God chooses who gets His grace.
Transition: First we need to understand...
I. God's Grace Is For Everyone (1-5).
A. Greatly Upset Jonah
1. Jonah's preaching had been well received and he had what most preachers only dream of...it worked!
a. Everyone from the greatest to the smallest repented of their sins and got right with God.
b. Everything went exactly as it was planned...except for Jonah.
c. He was greatly upset that they repented because he wanted to see God wipe them off the map.
d. They were the enemies of Israel and Jonah hated them.
2. As a result, "This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry."
a. This verse uses very strong language in the Hebrew. The word that is used is associated with evil and calamity, and can be translated "To Jonah is was disaster, a great disaster, and he became extremely angry."
b. It shows the true nature of Jonah's heart and his feelings toward the Ninevites.
c. The Hebrew expresses that Jonah burned with anger and became inflamed with hatred.
d. This word is used five times in Jonah, four of which are in this chapter. To understand Jonah's anger we have to understand the historical context of the Book of Jonah.
e. The Ninevites were enemies of the Israelites and had been very brutal in their treatment of Jonah's people.
f. It would be like God telling us that He was going to forgive Osama Bin Laden.
g. His anger is in contrast to God's anger of Nineveh's sin, but the major difference was that God wanted to see them repent and Jonah did not.
h. Who is Jonah to complain, especially since he himself was recently so glad to be saved from destruction?
i. He who praised the gracious mercy of God in ch. 2 turns around and deplores it in ch. 4! (Allen, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament).
3. So he did what a lot of church people do...he complained. The text tells us, "So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people."
a. Jonah brings his prayer to God, but it is the very opposite of the prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
b. Its key terms, Jonah's life and Yahweh's grace, are indeed echoed, but in quite different tones.
c. This is not the new Jonah who followed with firm tread the signpost pointing to Nineveh, but a reversion to the "old man" who ran away from God's will and service (Allen).
d. Jonah begins his prayer, or more appropriately complaint, in the same way that the sailors did on the ship.
e. This indicates that his attitude towards Yahweh's ways are no better than the pagan sailors.
f. He knows that God is merciful, compassionate, slow to anger, and filled with unfailing love.
g. However, he does not want God to treat the Ninevites this way. He wants to see them suffer!
h. He had anticipated that this is what Yahweh would do. He knew this is how things would turn out and it was not what he wanted (Bruckner, 123-124).