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John Brown :: Jonah 4

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A. This morning we come to the 4th and final chapter of the book of Jonah.

1. As far a Nineveh is concerned, the book could have ended with chapter 3.

a) They repented, the Lord relented and that was all that needed to be done.

b) But the problem is no longer with Nineveh. The problem is with Jonah - the prophets, the man of God!

(1) Isn't it interesting that the Lord has more problems with one of His chosen vessels that and entire city of pagans?

(2) Jonah is a runner, a pouter, has a rebellious heart, and about the best that can be said of him is that he is a very "reluctant" servant.

B. We have seen him buy a one-way ticket to Tarshish when the Lord asked him to go and preach to the Ninevites.

1. Tarshish was in the opposite direction.

2. He had to get swallowed by a great fish, prepared by the Lord, for the Lord to get his attention.

3. As we saw in the last chapter, he had learned from the experience to obey the word of the Lord, but he still didn't have the heart of the Lord.

a) He preached in Nineveh, and the city got saved, but he was made at the Lord for saving them!

b) We are going to see the Lord "win" Jonah's heart here in chapter 4.

c) As I said earlier, the Lord is through with Nineveh but He is not through with Jonah.

(1) Will pick up our study with chapter 4. The entire city of Nineveh has been save and Jonah doesn't like it at all!

II. JONA 4:1-2 (NASB) But it greatly displeased Jonah, and he became angry. 2 And he 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 compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.

A. Although we do it all the time, it seems almost comical when we see it others. And here we see Jonah trying to "set the Lord straight."

1. He is basically saying, "See, I told you this would happen." "That is why I wanted to go to Tarshish instead of Nineveh." "I know you are loving and forgiving and that you would forgive these stinkin' people if they asked you to and sure enough - that is exactly what happened." "If you would have at least listened to me this could have been avoided!"

a) Oh, by the way, it doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't, but this is the first time it is mentioned that Jonah prayed since he was in the belly of the fish.

b) It has been my experience that prayer "aligns" me with the will and purposes of the Lord and that a lack of prayer, creates an even greater "gulf" between what I think and what the Lord thinks.

(1) This would certainly be the case for Jonah, because he is definitely thinking with the Lord's mind nor acting with the Lord's heart!

(2) But it is interesting. He does now quite a bit about the Lord's character.

III. JONA 4:3 (NASB) "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

A. It is not uncommon at all for Monday to be a very depressing day in the Life of a pastor.

1. And this is often after a wonderful day in the Lord on Sunday!

2. Elijah wanted to die right after he defeated the prophets of Baal.

a) A Christian is most vulnerable when they are drained physically, mentally, and spiritually.

b) And although Jonah has been an "unwilling" servant - he has been through a great deal in a very short time and the only solution he can see at this time, is death.

(1) But the lord has a few questions for him.

IV. JONA 4:4 (NASB) And the LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?"

A. Dr. G Douglas Young translated this verse like this: "Is doing good displeasing to you?" Jonah. (Through the Bible - J Vernon McGee - Vol. 3. page764)

1. Well I think the answer to these 2 question was be a little different for Jonah:

a) "Is doing good displeasing to you?" - the answer would be - in this case, "Yes!"

b) "Do you have good reason to be angry?" - the answer would have to be "No!"

(1) But since when does "reason" and "logic" give way to a raging heart?

(2) Jonah knows he has not real reason for his reactions so, he pouts.

V. JONA 4:5 (NASB) Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city.

A. I think Jonah was still pretty sure that once the king and the city saw that the Lord wasn't going to "toast" them - they would return to their wicked ways. So he bought himself a ringside seat on a hill to the East of the city and even made a little "lean-to" to get out of the sun.

VI. JONA 4:6 (NASB) So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

A. So, here is Jonah - camped out on the hillside, waiting for failure on the part of the Ninevites - still a very reluctant servant - but the Lord blesses him anyway.

1. Living here in Arizona, you can appreciate any kind of shade around July and August. And one can truly "understand" why Jonah was extremely happy about the plant.

a) Now keep in mind that he is mad at the Lord for saving the Ninevites, but he is more than willing to receive this blessing from the Lord.

b) In fact, from Jonah's perspective, this little gourd was about the only thing in his life that had meaning and purpose. He was stuck in place that he didn't want to be in, with people he didn't even want to associate with, but at least he has his plant to provide some relief from al this discomfort.

VII. JONA 4:7-8 (NASB) But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day, and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 And it came about when the sun came up that God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with [all] his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life."

A. Here is Jonah again - full circle - wanting to die.

1. If this weren't so sad it would be funny. When he had the plant he was happy or at least content.

2. But he has the maker of the plant, the maker of the fish, and the maker of the universe talking to him, and can't see the value in it.

a) Life has meaning with the gourd, but not without it!

b) Jonah is not only without his gourd - he is out of it also.

VIII. JONA 4:9 (NASB) Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."

A. He still doesn't get it! He still feels justified in his anger over these decisions the Lord is making.

1. Now the Lord will make his point

IX. JONA 4:10-11 (NASB) Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work, and [which] you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 "And should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know [the difference] between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

A. "Jonah, you took such good care of this plant that I provided." "It became so important to you, and so valuable in such a short time." "Why is it so hard for you to understand my love for the people of Nineveh?" "You loved one little plant and saw value in it, why can you not see the value in 120,000 people who have turned their hearts to me?"


A. I would like to make this application in closing:

1. There are millions of "Ninevites" out there that need to hear about the Lord. They need to have a chance to repent and get right with the Lord.

a) But it will not be til we see how much the Lord loves them that we get involved.

b) And finally, why is it so easy for us to attach ourselves to and find value, in the meaningless things in life, but so difficult to give the Lord and His purposes the right place in our hearts?

Ephesians 1 Next Section →

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.


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