Summary: This is the final in a 4 week series on Jonah. God pursued Jonah, God developed Jonah, God used Jonah and now He is schooling Jonah. Jonah cannot see beyond himself in order to offer compassion to Nineveh.
Intro: All of us want to know that others are concerned about us. When people don’t appear to be concerned about our pain and problems we think they don’t care. What God is telling Jonah today is that He is concerned about all His creation. God is especially concerned about those outside His covenant family in need of grace. God is taking Jonah and the church to the school of grace. Jonah is so concerned with himself that He is blind to God’s concern for a city about to be destroyed in judgment. God’s heart and our mission are clearly seen.
I. Jonah’s heart for himself
A) Jonah’s pride and prejudice
I knew it I knew it I knew it. I knew you weren’t going to do what I wanted God! This is why I tried to run away in the first place, Jonah complained. Talk about your tantrums.
We are much like Jonah. When God does things that we don’t agree with or that are contrary to our selfish ideal we throw a fit. Jonah was trying to tell God, “You know that getting rid of Nineveh would be best for your plan Lord!
If it weren’t just like us we would have to laugh. This is your country God and destroy the Muslims must be your plan. It can’t be your plan for socialism to rise its ugly head in America can it? Are you even paying attention God?
Jonah is really worrying about his reputation rather than God’s. 2 Kings 14:25 Jonah got some street cred with his Jewish brothers. If God gives grace to the Ninevties his reputation will be ruined. So much like us Jonah goes melodramatic just kill me God!
Jonah is missing out on the joy of what God is doing because of his self-centeredness. His anger and pride have blinded Him to the amazing miracle of grace that God is doing. I mean how many preachers would puff out their chests and say, “God sent me to Little Rock to preach and man I rang the bell 120,000 people responded.”
When we can’t see beyond our selves we become blind and bitter. You will miss what God is doing in the food pantry if you are only concerned with you. You will miss what God does at Immanuel and all around you if you are only concerned with you. God wasn’t just concerned with Jonah and Israel He was concerned with His entire creation. This is challenging Jonah’s theology and worldview.
B) Jonah’s displeasure and discomfort
The word translated displeasure comes from the Hebrew word evil or calamity. It was a disaster to Jonah that God was granting grace to Nineveh. This same word is translated evil when talking about the Ninevites in 1:2, 3:8. Jonah’s attitudes were just as evil in God’s eyes as were the Ninevite’s actions. We must guard against a self-righteousness that makes us think we are better than anyone. Jesus clearly told us take the log out of your eye before you deal with the speck in someone else’s.
If we look closely we find that it was Jonah’s personal discomfort that really made his temper flare.
Jonah 4.6 This is the one and only time in this book that we see Jonah pleased. Jonah is only happy when he gets what he wants.
What is the biggest problem with being pleased with the plant instead of the plant giver? The plant does not remain. If you continue to base your attitude on what will not last you will continue to be moved about on an emotional roller coaster. God was trying to show Jonah and us that He is the one who provides. God never invited us to a life of comfort instead he invites us to be comforted! John 15:26 basically says that when the comforter comes He will tell about me. The point of being comforted is to tell of God’s grace. Jonah missed the point. The fish was prepared for him so He could tell of God’s comfort and grace. Do we miss the point?
II. God’s heart for others
A) God’s searching question(s)
4.4 “The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
God asks the moral question. Is it right Jonah? We are far better than Jonah. We don’t get mad at God we get mad at people that God created. That makes us feel less guilty and more mature. I have every right to be mad we say. How does God answer us? “Is it right to be angry?”
4.9 “Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
God is the master of setting us up to see our own pride and sinfulness. Is it right for you to be angry about a plant? You didn’t plant it or make it grow. The plant is temporary. What we get angry about is often temporal and won’t last. The way someone talked to us, a decision we were not involved in. Anger is the root of danger. What dangers are inherent in allowing anger to control us?