Summary: This sermon looks at Jonah’s attitude as a way of growing in our faith and living Wise in Christ.
Be Wise: A Matter of Attitude
A. I am one of those people who likes a Happy Ending.
* Movies: October Sky – Homer Hickem Jr. Rocket boys
* Books, etc - Cinderella
And that is exactly what we have in Jonah Chapters 1-3:
• Ch. 1: Jonah is Wise, knows God, Serves God, Worships God – but then He is Unwise – God calls him to go to Nineveh because God has seen their wickedness. Jonah Runs Away to Tarshish – God doesn’t give up on Jonah and sends a storm after him. Jonah throws himself at the Mercy of God by being thrown overboard where he is swallowed by a Huge Fish.
• Ch. 2 – Jonah is wise – He returns to God through Prayer – a prayer of repentance.
• Ch. 3 – Jonah is wise – He makes the most of His Second Chance by Obeying God and going to Nineveh. He proclaims God’s Message and Nineveh responds by Fasting and Praying to God.
Now what a Great Ending, RIGHT? Everyone lives happily ever after! Jonah returns to God and is used by God in a mighty way. The Ninevites came to believe, trust and follow God too.
B. But the problem is this: the book of Jonah doesn’t end with Chapter 3 – there is a Chapter 4.
So what does God want us to learn from Chapter 4?
A. Read through and Explain Ch. 4
* Vs. 1 – Jonah was Greatly Displeased and angry at God.
* Vs. 2—3 Jonah’s Prayer:
- vs. 2 – Lord I knew you were gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, and abounding in Love.
How did Jonah know this? Could it be from his own disobedience to the Lord? O, How quickly we forget God’s grace to us!
- vs. 3 – Lord take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. Why does Jonah pray this? It is generally believed that the Ninevites were so ruthless and ungodly, as well as enemies to Israel that now for Jonah as well as Israel, the life that they know is “Chosen – God’s Children” is over with Nineveh coming to God too.
- Isn’t Ironic that in Ch. 2, Jonah rejoices in prayer for God sparing his life, but now he prays his life is over? How quickly we change our minds/views of things!
* Vs. 4 – God responds: Have you any right to be angry? God challenges Jonah with a Question.
* Vs. 5ff – God challenges Jonah with thru a Vine. As Jonah waits to see what God is going to do with Nineveh, God provides a Vine to grow over Jonah for Shade. It is a blessing as eases his discomfort.
But the next day, vs. 7 – dawn, God provided a worm to destroy the vine.
And again – VS. 8 – Jonah prays “it would be better for me to die than to live.”
• Vs. 9 – God challenges Jonah with another question: Do you have a right to be angry about the Vine?
• Jonah responds: I do – I am angry enough to die.
• Vs. 10-11; God challenges Jonah with the POINT: Why do you care so much about this Vine (that you had nothing do with his growth) and yet don’t care about 120K people! These people don’t know their right hand from their left –they need God and His fatherly compassion and guidance.
• Vs. 11 – God’s challenging Question: Should I not be concerned about that great city?
B. Here’s the Main Point: Even when we are living Wise for the Lord: Worshipping Him regularly, Knowing and doing His Will; and being Used by God – there still may be areas God wants you to work on – especially in our Attitudes!
Phil. 2:1-5; Your Attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.
You see even if we are worshipping the Lord and following Him externally with our lives – We still may need God to Work on an area of our lives, our Attitudes!
A. Psalm 111:10; The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.
God is calling us to Live Wise in 2005 – true wisdom is not intellectual smarts; success; fame; etc. It begins with the Lord.
As we have been learning from Jonah about living wisely, we know that to Live Wise means:
- Don’t Run Away from the Lord
- Return to the Lord through Prayer
- Make the Most of your Second Chances in the Lord.
- And Let the Lord make adjustments to your attitude, as He deems necessary: Attitude Matters.
Sometimes in real life, things don’t always end up the happiest, or the way we think they should, because God is still doing a Work!