Summary: Jonah did not know the mind of God or feel the heart of God or accept the will of God. Therefore Jonah quarrels with God, quits on God and is quietened by God.
INTRODUCTION I like Charles Swindoll’s outline of the Book of Jonah. He says in chapter 1 Jonah is running away from God; in chapter 2 Jonah is running to God; in chapter 3 Jonah is running with God; and, in chapter 4 Jonah is running against God. I have preached a message on each of the first three chapters and today we come to chapter 4. Here Jonah is running against God. This chapter has to do with bad attitudes. Jonah has copped a bad attitude against God. When there is a bad attitude, bad actions are not far behind. Jonah began with a bad attitude. He ran from God’s call to preach to the Ninevites. God chased him down and brought him to his senses with the whale incident. Jonah repented but as we will see his repentant heart didn’t last long.
That’s what I want to preach about today: “When your attitude goes against God.”
There was once a daughter who complained to her father that her life was miserable and she didn’t know if she would make it. She was tired of the struggle of life. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots and placed them each on high fire. When the pots began to boil, he placed in one potatoes, in another eggs and in the third coffee beans. He let them boil without saying a word to his daughter. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and put them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out of the pot and put them in a bowl. He ladled the coffee out and poured it into a cup.
The father turned to his daughter and asked her what she saw. “Potatoes, eggs, and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer, he said, and touch the potatoes.” She did and noticed they were soft.
He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After peeling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face.
“Father, what does this mean?” she asked.
He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs, and the coffee beans had each faced the same adversity – boiling water. However, each reacted differently.
The potato went in strong and hard, but in boiling water it became soft and weak.
The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside became hard.
However, the coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.
“Which are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity comes knocking on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?” What happens around us is not nearly as important as what happens inside of us. For Jonah the battle was raging inside of him. We will look at (1) The cause of Jonah’s bad attitude, and, (2) The course of his bad attitude. We will see his displeasure and then his decline.
I. JONAH’S DISPLEASURE
Jonah began with a bad attitude in chapter one and we will see that he finishes with a bad attitude here in chapter 4. I want us to see what caused his bad attitude. It wasn’t just that he hated the people of Ninevah and wanted God to destroy them. He had deeper problems.
A. Jonah did Not Know the Mind of God
Jonah was a prophet and should have known the mind if God if anybody did. Prophets were considered by the people as God’s spokesmen to the people. They were supposed to have special insight to the mind of God.
Jonah should have known great texts of the Old Testament such as:
6 And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, …”
This is the great mind of God, TO REDEEM, TO SAVE, TO RESTORE. Jonah surely knew such passages as this but he didn’t know the soul of the scriptures, the mind behind it.
Turn to Philippians 2:5-11,14-16. The Mind of God is the Mind of Christ.
B. Jonah Did Not Feel the Heart of God
“Pity” in verses 10,11.
Jonah said he knew God’s mercy and grace in verse 2.
Jonah had experienced God’s mercy and grace in chapter 2. He stated, “You have brought my life up from the pit, O Lord, my God.” (2:6)
But, Jonah was full of anger (4:1). He was full of criticism, complaints, conceit, callousness and wanted his own convenience and comfort (5).