Summary: In this final chapter, we will see that Jonah struggled with resentment Sometimes we may find ourselves in a similar situation. And so the question that I want God’s Word to answer for us today is, how do we recover from resentment?
Recovering from Resentment
This morning we’re going to look at the conclusion of the book of Jonah. Now I have to admit, I was tempted to stop where we left off last week…where we saw the outpouring of God’s Spirit through the revival in Nineveh. That seems like a great place to stop, but Jonah’s story doesn’t end there. It goes on to add one final chapter, and I don’t believe it’s here by mistake.
Before we go any further though, we need to understand something about revival. Revival is a purely genuine move of the Holy Spirit. We can’t control the Holy Spirit of God, but we can quench it. And one of the main ways we quench the Holy Spirit is through the sin of resentment.
In this final chapter, we will see that Jonah struggled with resentment. He couldn’t stand the fact that the Ninevites had received God’s blessing. So he goes outside the city, sits down filled with bitterness, and wishes he were dead. He began to complain about little things.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in a similar situation. None of us are immune to this disease that ate away at Jonah. And so the question that I want God’s Word to answer for us today is, how do we recover from resentment?
The Results of Resentment
Resentment affects us in several ways. First of all, it…
A. Destroys our Peace
You would think that after everything Jonah had gone through to get to this point, he would be rejoicing. He disobeyed God, got swallowed up by a great fish, repented and received a second chance, had a front row seat to a great revival, yet we read, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.” The word angry here means “to burn.” Jonah was burning with anger. Last time I checked, anger is not one of the fruits of the Spirit. Jesus came to give us life and to give it to us more abundantly. The evidence that a person is truly filled with the Spirit of God is “love, joy and peace.” Jonah began to pray an interesting prayer. Let me read it to you again from the KJV:
I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Honestly I don’t know why some of the modern translations changed a very important phrase in this text because I think that the KJV hits the nail on the head. Jonah begins his prayer with the phrase, “I knew.” This is quite a contrast to the Apostle Paul, who repeatedly used the words, “I know.”
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. (2 Tim. 1:12).
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28).
Jonah was living in the past, when he says “I knew”. But Paul was confident in the present, when he says “I know”. What are you saying today? Are you saying “I knew”? Or can you say, “I know”? Some of us are so full of resentment that the only thing we know about the peace of God is in the past.
Today there are a lot of Christians just like Jonah. Jonah knew all about obeying God, but he had no joy in that obedience. In his anger, Jonah had the audacity to blame God for his problems. But his problems weren’t because of God, they were because of Jonah. And just like Jonah, it’s impossible for someone who is filled with anger to have peace in their life. Another result of resentment is that it…
B. Diverts our Purpose
In this passage, we see who Jonah was really interested in…Himself. He said, “it is better for me…”. His resentment was causing him to make decisions based on what was best for him. How many Christians have had their purposes diverted because things didn’t go their way and they allowed resentment to build in their hearts?
Jonah’s pride was crushed. He was hoping that Nineveh would be destroyed so that he could say, “I told you so.” He was so self-centered that twice in this chapter he basically said, “Well If I can’t have my way, then I don’t want to live.” He was like the little kid on the playground who got mad because he couldn’t have his way so he took his ball and went home. He failed to realize that Burger King’s motto isn’t always reality…you don’t always get to “have it your way”.