Summary: Message 7 in our journey through Jonah. This message explores Jonah's stinking attitude and God's rebuke for his lack of mercy.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
Jonah Series #7
“God Rebuked Jonah”
“Running Against God”
Jonah teaches us both about God and ourselves. We learn about the love of God, the sovereignty of God, the forgiveness of God, the persistence of God. We learn about people; their disobedience, their repentance, their fears and prejudices, their self-centeredness and yet God’s willingness to utilize them in His eternal purposes.
I. God called Jonah – Jonah ran FROM God
II. God disciplined Jonah
III. God delivered Jonah - Jonah ran TO God in prayer
IV. God recommissioned Jonah and Spared Nineveh – Jonah ran WITH God
V. God rebuked Jonah – Jonah ran AGAINST God
This wouldn’t be the first time that God used someone greatly only to find them uncooperative and unappreciative. God used King Asa, who we mentioned last week, to lead a huge revival in Judah only to allowed bitterness to bring destruction a short time later. Chapter four documents Jonah’s response to God’s mercy on the Ninevites. God’s merciful response came in response to their sincere repentance. You would have thought that Jonah would have rejoiced at the privilege of being God’s instrument to bring about the salvation of up to a million people. Not so.
A. Jonah complained to God about saving Nineveh
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?” Jonah 4:1-4
He wasn’t just displeased, he was exceedingly displeased and angry. He was “highly indignant”, absolutely furious at God. Jonah clarified the reason he originally did not want to obey God’s call to Nineveh. He correctly understood the nature of God.
for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
Contrary to how many view the Old Testament’s characterization of God, the declaration of God’s goodness flows all through its pages.
When Moses wanted to see God’s glory, God warned him that a full dose of God’s glory would incinerate him.
God offered him special protection which enabled him to experience His glory.
Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the LORD said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:18-23
Chapter 34 recounts how the encounter with God’s glory went down.
The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth and worshiped. Exodus 34:6-8
This would be the foundational rationale for subsequent intercession for the rebellious Israelites by Moses.
And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation.’ Please pardon the iniquity of this people, according to the greatness of your steadfast love, just as you have forgiven this people, from Egypt until now.” Numbers 14:17-19
Jonah knew the truth of God’s amazing mercy and compassion on people. This familiar declaration of God’s goodness also appears in Num 14:18; Pss 86:15; 103:8; 145:8; Nah 1:3; Neh 9:17, Joel 2:13. Jonah rooted for the application of the later part of these passages about “by no means clearing the guilty.” He took for granted the mercy God granted him. His hatred for the Assyrians consumed him to the point where death seemed “better” than witnessing the sparing of the Ninevites. He dared view God’s actions as wrong and evil. Anger and bitterness distorts our ability to accept the truth about God. One group denies the reality of eternal punishment, contrary to clear Biblical teaching, because they judge God by their own flawed sensibilities.