Summary: Jonah was angry because God did not destroy Ninevah. In his protesting prayer, Jonah declared some wonderful truths about the goodness and compassion of God.
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JONAH
"And Jonah 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 Thou art a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and One who relents from doing harm.." Jonah 4:2.
In our excitement about Jonah being swallowed by a "great fish", we often overlook what Jonah proclaimed in his prayer to God. We can correctly call this "the gospel (good news) according to Jonah".
I. JONAH EXPLAINS TO GOD WHY HE FLED TO TARSHISH.
"Was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore, in order to forestall this [God’s forgiveness of Nineveh’s sin], I fled to Tarshish." And what a trip that was!
II. REALIZING HE COULD RUN BUT NOT HIDE FROM GOD, JONAH PREACHED GOD’S MESSAGE TO NINEVEH.
The message was one of impending judgment upon Nineveh.
Nineveh, from the greatest to the least, repented in sackcloth and ashes.
The king’s decree: Jonah 3:7-9.
God’s forgiveness: “Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster the He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” Jonah 3:10.
III. JONAH GRIEVED GREATLY AT NINEVEH’S REPENTANCE.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country?…” Jonah 4:1-2a.
IV. "THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JONAH".
God is gracious! "For I know that Thou art a gracious…God!
“If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” I Peter 2:3.
God is merciful! "…Thou art a gracious and merciful God!"
“…The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.” Exodus 34:5.
God is slow to anger!
“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8.
God is "abundant in lovingkindness!"
“According to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.” Isaiah 63:7b.
God is forgiving: "One who relents from doing harm."