Summary: God went ot great lengths to teach His unwilling student a lesson.
• Have you teachers ever had a student who just did not get it?
• As we look at Jonah 4 today, we will see a student who still did not get it.
• As we left Jonah in chapter 3, we see that Jonah had a successful revival meeting in Nineveh.
• Jonah’s message was preached and the people heard and were convicted that they needed to heed the message to the point of repentance.
• A happy ending to the story right? It is happy for the people of Nineveh, but for Jonah it was a different story.
• As I said last week, I would be ecstatic if the whole community of Leonard repented and turned to the Leonard, much less over 120,000 persons.
• Jonah’s worst fears came to pass, the people whom he hated with every fiber of his being were going to be spared from the wrath of God.
• Jonah had a good reason to hate the people of Nineveh for what they had done to his country while under their rule.
• As we see, Jonah was so afraid that God would show mercy on the people of Nineveh that he tried to run from God.
• Do we have people that we do not want to see God remove His wrath from?
• When we refuse to reach out to the lost, we are in a sense saying that we hope that God’s wrath comes down on people.
• Jonah is going to learn some things that he seemed to miss somewhere along the path if his life. Jonah is going to receive an education from God Himself.
• Try to put yourself in Jonah’s place as he surveys this incredible response to the word of the Lord. The Ninevites hear the good news wrapped up in the bad news of judgment, and the entire city repents of its evil ways. All the people put on sackcloth, sit in ashes, and fast because they believe God.
• How would you feel if you were, say, leading a Bible study and everyone in the study responded in a mass movement to the good news of the Scriptures and turned their lives over to Christ? Wouldn’t you be excited?
• Let us look and see what God is trying to teach Jonah.
I. AN UNWILLING STUDENT. 1-5
READ JONAH 4:1-5
• God had been trying to get Jonah’s attention and He seemed to get it with the taxi ride. Jonah, fearing for his life seemed to repent and do what God wanted him to do.
• As we look at the story of Jonah, it is amazing how much God put up with from Jonah.
• I believe that when God called Jonah for Nineveh, it was not just for the benefit of the people of Nineveh but for Jonah also. God wanted Jonah to learn a lesson that he needed.
• How many times does God teach us something when He has us doing things for the kingdom?
• Sometimes we do not learn a lot from God because we do not do a lot for God. We can learn some valuable lessons while serving Jesus.
• Jonah explains in verse 2 that he did not want to do what God wanted him to do because he knew that God was merciful and Jonah did not want God’s mercy shown on Nineveh.
• What we are going to find out is that Jonah is just as guilty of idolatry as the pagans he said back in chapter 2 verse 8 when he said in prayer: "Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,"
• Jonah’s idol is Jonah. He is more committed to his own concepts of God and how God should act than he is to God himself. All of his proclamations of love for the Lord and for his nation in his prayer in chapter 2 were like a projection of his love for himself.
• He is still clinging to his prejudice that God is the exclusive possession of Israel; that God is his own personal God. Jonah has developed a theological system in which he has locked God into a box to which he has the key, and he isn’t going to let God out. Jonah’s theology has become an expression of his stubborn will. His hard heart says, "This is what I believe about God, and even God himself isn’t going to change it."
• In chapter 2 we saw that Jonah’s attitude put him into mortal danger. He called out to God for help, and God rescued him. At that time the prophet confessed his need. But he never really repented of his sin, for now he continues to object to God’s extending his mercy to Gentiles. Never in the first three chapters did Jonah ever say, "I’m wrong and you’re right. You’re God; you can do anything you please and forgive whomever you wish. Please forgive my narrowness and judgmental attitude."