Summary: The need to consider the plight of the unsaved
“Pleasure While They Perish”
Intro: Can I make a confession to you? I am not the most patient person in the world. There are some areas where I can be extremely patient. But there are some times I tend to have very little patience. For example, am I the only one who gets upset waiting in grocery lines? Does anyone else count the groceries in the basket of the people in front of you in the “12 items or less” line? If someone has thirteen, I tend to get a little upset. “What’s wrong with you-- can’t your read? can’t you count?”
Is there anyone here that ever got upset at someone because they were going the speed limit? You want to go a little faster, and the guy up ahead is going just where the law says he should be. We get upset with him.
We lose our temper at such trivial things. It shows just how foolish, immature, and carnal we are. We focus so much on ourselves.
Jonah was like that too. We want to talk a little bit about him this morning.
Read Jonah 1:1-3
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
I’m sure that most of us here remember the story of Jonah - called by God to preach to Ninevah - ran away - got swallowed by the whale - repented - spared
Did you ever wonder WHY Jonah ran from God? Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14 as giving prophecy about Jereboam II. He likely might have been taught by Elijah or Elisha. Yet he refuses to go to Ninevah.
Ninevah is the capital of the Assyrian Empire. Remember the Assyrians? They are the nation we have talked about the last several weeks that came down about 50-60 years later, destroyed the Northern Kingdom of Israel and devastated the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
Jonah didn’t want to go preach to his enemies. It would be sort of like sending a missionary to Berlin while Hitler was in power during WWII. Jonah didn’t want them to hear the message of God because he didn’t want them to be saved.
Well, finally after 3 days and nights inside the whale, Jonah decides it might not be that bad to do what God wants. Any of us ever get to the point where things go so bad that we finally give up and decide that maybe God knows a little more than us anyways?!
Let’s look next at chapter 3. Read 3:1-10.
Jonah obeys God and the people repent. Luke 15 tells us there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents." So of course, Jonah is overjoyed, right? Wrong!
Look at chapter 4. In verses 1-3 we see
I. Jonah’s anger
Read 4:1-3. But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."
A. He knew God’s merciful nature - Jonah was a prophet of God. His life was spent serving God and giving God’s message to the people. He knew what God was like. This wasn’t the first time Jonah had served God. He knew well what a merciful God he served.
B. He disliked God’s plan to be merciful to his enemies.
He knew if he preached and the people repented, God would be merciful to the Ninevites.
And he didn’t like that. Let’s be honest today. Did you ever work with someone who just rubbed you the wrong way. You knew they weren’t a Christian. And so you get comfort from the fact, “Well, one day they’ll burn in hell and get what’s coming to them.” We so often want God to be a stern God of judgment for our enemies, but we want him to be extra- merciful when it comes to us.
C. He tries to argue to manipulate God.
Jonah says, “God, I’m upset with you. You want to act like that to my enemy, fine, just go ahead and kill me. I’m your special messenger in the land, but fine, kill me and let them do your work!”