Summary: Responding in angry disappointment when God doesn’t perform in a given situation the way we anticipated, only reveals our lack of surrender, as well as our obvious rebellion.

When God’s Doings Disappoint Us

Text: Jonah 3: 10-4:1

Intro: If I were to tell you that people have disappointed me numerous times throughout my life, you wouldn’t likely be surprised. As a matter of fact, you could probably match me, account for account, with like incidents of disappointment in people. It’s simply not uncommon in this life for people to fail to meet our expectations. Sometimes people disappoint us unintentionally, while at other times our disappointment is the result of a person’s character flaw. Either way, we have all been there—we have all experienced this.

But what if I were to tell you that God has, at least on occasion, disappointed me? Would you think I was mad—that I’d lost my mind—that I was some sort of horrible person for even suggesting such a thing? I’m not saying that one is justified in being disappointed with God, but I believe that if we were honest and realistic about it, most of us would have to admit that there have been times when God didn’t respond like we expected Him to.

I find that most of our disappointment in God stems from two basic things: (1) Impatience with God’s timetable, and (2) Displeasure with God’s system of justice. The story of Jonah is a good case in point. Jonah was God’s reluctant and rebellious prophet. Even when he finally agreed to deliver God’s message of judgment to Nineveh, he was terribly disappointed with God’s handling of the Ninevites.

If we look closely enough, we may find shades of our own attitudes in this account of Jonah. Rest assured that God included this story in His Word for our edification.

Theme: What led to Jonah’s disappointment with God?


A. Nineveh’s Judgment Reported.

Jonah 3: 1 “And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying,

2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.

3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.

4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”

NOTE: [1] Jonah’s message from God was brief, but bold—short, but serious. In forty days God’s judgment would fall upon the Ninevites. Amazingly, the Ninevites took Jonah’s message to heart. I wonder how America would respond if it knew it had only forty days to repent?

[2] You know, folks, judgment is something to be taken seriously. Many today see God as merciful, kind and forgiving. And He is, in fact, all those things. But it is also true that there comes a time when God says, “That’s enough.”

The following incident is vouched for by a Church of England clergyman who knew all the circumstances.

A young woman, who had been brought up in a Christian home and who had often had very serious convictions in regard to the importance of coming to Christ, chose instead to take the way of the world. Much against the wishes of her godly mother, she insisted on keeping company with a wild, hilarious crowd, who lived only for the passing moment and tried to forget the things of eternity. Again and again she was pleaded with to turn to Christ, but she persistently refused to heed the admonitions addressed to her.

Finally, she was taken with a very serious illness. All that medical science could do for her was done in order to bring about her recovery, but it soon became evident that the case was hopeless and death was staring her in the face. Still she was hard and obdurate when urged to turn to God in repentance and take the lost sinner’s place and trust the lost sinner’s Saviour.

One night she awoke suddenly out of a sound sleep, a frightened look in her eyes, and asked excitedly, “Mother, what is Ezekiel 7:8,9?” Her mother said, “What do you mean, my dear?”

She replied that she had had a most vivid dream. She thought there was a Presence in the room, who very solemnly said to her, “Read Ezekiel 7:8,9.” Not recalling the verses in question, the mother reached for a Bible. As she opened it, her heart sank as she saw the words, but she read them aloud to the dying girl:

”Now I will shortly pour out my fury upon thee, and accomplish mine anger upon thee: and I will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense thee for all thine abominations. And mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: I will recompense thee according to thy ways and thine abominations that are in the midst of thee; and ye shall know that I am the Lord that smiteth.”

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