Summary: The 4th in a four part series on Jonah.
1. Well, we’ve made it to the final chapter of Jonah. I know that I’ve been challenged the last 3 weeks & hope you have too. Let’s do what we have each week, review the basic outline of the book. You should remember it by now. Chapter 1— Jonah Running From God. Chapter 2— Jonah Running to God. Chapter 3— Jonah Running for God. And finally, where we are today, Chapter 4— Jonah Trying to Run God.
2. I want to begin this morning’s sermon by considering some thought provoking questions. Let me warn you in advance, some of these questions will make your brain work a little. They are taken from Dr. Greg Stock’s, The Book of Questions. I am asking these questions because. . .
Sometimes we learn as much from asking the right questions, as we do from having the right answer.
1) "If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?"
2) "Your house, containing everything you own catches fire. After saving your loved ones & pets, you have time to safely make a final dash & save any one item. What would it be?"
3) "While parking late at night, you slightly scrape the side of a Porshe. You are certain no one else is aware of what happened. The damage is minor & would be covered by insurance. Would you leave a note?"
3. I read about a fellow who really did that-- except people were watching. As they looked on, he took out a piece of paper & wrote the following note. "A number of people around me think I’m leaving you a note that includes my name & address, but I am not." He carefully folded the paper, stuck it under the car’s windshield wiper, smiled at those watching, & drove away. 7
4. Let me tell you why I am beginning the sermon with questions this morning. It’s because. . .
The book of Jonah doesn’t end with all the answers, it concludes with a question and it doesn’t provide the answer.
5. Let’s turn to God’s word before we go farther this morning. Read the fourth chapter of Jonah with me please.
1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.
2 He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.
3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."
4 The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"
5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.
6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.
7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.
8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."
9 Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."
10 Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight.
11 "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?" (NAS updated)
I. Have You Ever Felt Sorry For Yourself? 1-3
1. I know the answer to that question. For all the success Jonah had in Nineveh, he fell prey to the same thing. Chapter four opens with Jonah having his own personal pity party. He was feeling very sorry for himself.
1) Jonah’s prayer begins with an, "I told you so statement."
2) He basically says, "I knew if you had an excuse to forgive these heathens you would."