Summary: Pentecost 6(C) - The prophet Jonah is angry at God not because of mens’ sins but because of God’s great grace.

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July 12, 2009 --


Jonah 3:3-4:4

INTRO: Today we look closely at another Biblical role model. Once again we discover that even well known role models in Scripture have their ups and downs. We recently studied this fact in the life of Elijah and David. Now we see Jonah as another role model who feels down. Jonah is really at the very top of God’s success. Jonah is consumed with his sinful human thinking rather than God’s divine pur-pose. This same limited earthly thinking infects every one of us. "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God" (1 CORINTHIANS 2:11). Who really fully knows the thoughts of God? We want to learn about the awesomeness of our God and his thinking.


I. Not because of men’s sins.

II. But because of God’s grace. We study what Jonah is really thinking.


A. Verse 3a. This is Jonah’s second chance. The first time Jonah fled from obeying God’s word.

1. Previously Jonah left on a ship and almost drowned. Swallowed by a fish, Jonah lived.

2. Verse 3b. Nineveh was important to God. It would take three days to travel throughout it.

B. Verse 4. There would be 40 days for Nineveh to repent. Jonah travels and preaches only one day.

1. Verse 5a. Miracle of miracles!! This heathen city believed in God. God’s word is powerful.

2. Verse 5b. All the people showed their sorrow over sin. Even the king joins in, verses 6-8

3. The king decrees fervent prayer. The king demands a change from everyone’s wickedness.

C. Verse 9. The king knows that the God of Jonah is a merciful and compassionate God. “Who knows?”

D. Like this king, we also ask, “Who knows?” Do we truly, completely understand the great compassion that our loving Lord God Almighty shows to his creation? We are constantly in awe that the Lord does not treat as our sins deserve. Our sins pile up against us. Wickedness and rebellion are a way of life for us because of our inborn sinfulness. In spite of all of this our heavenly Father forgives, completely.

"’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’" declares the LORD. "’As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’" (ISAIAH 55:8,9). We can be thankful that God’s ways and thoughts are higher than ours.

E. Did Jonah make the people of Nineveh repent? Hardly. Certainly it was the message that Jonah brought that changed the hearts of this great city. The power of God working through his word is what makes a believer a believer. God’s word working in our hearts makes us sinners into people who repent. "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws" (EZEKIEL 36:26,27). Note that it is the Lord who changes our stony hearts into hearts of flesh. The word of the Lord is sown into newly created hearts of flesh in order to spring up and bear abundant fruit. The Lord puts his Spirit into our lives to move us to walk in his footsteps. It is truly by God’s grace that we are saved. This is God’s gift to and for us. Salvation is not by our works, but God’s.

F. Sin is sin is sin. In God’s eyes there are no great sins or small sins. Sin is disobedience. Anyone who sins against one law of God is guilty of breaking all of it. There is no one on earth who does good, not even one. Not doing the good we know and ought to do is also a sin. Over and over we commit all too many sins that grieve our Lord. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"(ROMANS 6:23). We earn death because of sin. It is God in his great mercy who gives eternal life – freely. Who knows the mind of God?

JONAH IS ANGRY AT GOD. Jonah was not angry at men’s sins but because of God’s grace.


A. The people of Nineveh miraculously repented. The king and his city trusted in God’s mercy.

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