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Jonah Displeased

Scripture Passage: 
Jonah 4:1-11
Attached audio files: 

INTRODUCTION: In this chapter, God gave Jonah a lesson in mercy. Jonah knew the evil Nineveh had done and probably knew of the evil Nineveh would do to Israel. As such, he wished that the city be destroyed and was angry when God had pity on the city. But God gave Jonah the lesson of the gourd. Jonah came to rely on the shadow of the gourd and was angry when it was removed. God then contrasted the pity Jonah had on the gourd with His pity on the great city of Nineveh and all its inhabitants.

  1. JONAH’S ANGER AT GOD’S MERCY (Jonah 4:1-4)
    1. Jonah’s Reaction (Jonah 4:1)
      1. Jonah’s displeasure at Nineveh’s deliverance (Jonah 3:9-10)
      2. Jonah’s anger at the Lord; compare the anger of the elder brother upon the father’s reception of the prodigal son (Luke 15:25-30).
    2. Jonah’s Reminder (Jonah 4:2)
      1. The character of Jonah’s prayer
        1. His prayer included the giving of arguments, the reminder of earlier comments, and other elements of discussion. We often limit prayer to elevated words of praise and petition. However, God’s men used prayer to talk to God in earnest. They would even argue things over with God (Jeremiah 12:1; Habakkuk 1:1-4).
        2. He knew that God would forgive Nineveh if they repented. This, in fact, was the point of contention between Jonah and the Lord and it was the reason that Jonah fled from the Lord. He evidently thought that if he refused to warn the people of Nineveh, then the Lord would certainly destroy them.
        3. Jonah, being a prophet, probably knew of the coming destruction of his own country and people by the hand of the Assyrians (whose capital city was Nineveh). Jonah is mentioned in 2 Kings 14:25. One chapter later, in 2 Kings 15:19-20, 29, the Assyrians are requiring tribute from Israel and carrying the people of many regions into captivity. By 2 Kings 17:22-24, the entire nation of Israel was taken into captivity by the Assyrians. It is no wonder that Jonah hated the people of Nineveh and desired their destruction.
      2. The character of Jonah’s God
        1. The character of God was a given for Jonah. He knew the kind of God he served. To him, it was an unchangeable reality.
        2. Here is the God Jonah knew (Exodus 34:6-7):
          1. Gracious
          2. Merciful
          3. Slow to anger
          4. Of great kindness
          5. Repenting from evil. Note: This does not mean that God repents from sin as man does. The evil refers to the bringing of bad things on others in judgment. Repenting refers to a turning or change in direction. Jonah knew that God could intend to bring evil on someone in judgment, but was always ready to turn from this intention if those about to be judged repented of their wicked ways.
    3. Jonah’s Request (Jonah 4:3)
      1. That God would take his life (Numbers 11:15; 1 Kings 19:4; Job 6:8-9; Jeremiah 20:14-18)
      2. He thought it better to die than to live knowing that Nineveh had received God’s mercy.
    4. God’s Response (Jonah 4:4)
      1. Doest thou well to be angry? Note: Consider the similarity in God’s conversation with Cain (Genesis 4:7).
      2. At this point, Jonah ignored God’s question.
  2. JONAH’S ANGER OVER THE GOURD (Jonah 4:5-8)
    1. Jonah Made a Booth (Jonah 4:5).
      1. He went out of the city.
      2. He sat on the east side of the city; the rising sun would be behind his back.
      3. He made a booth; a crude shelter which could have given only partial shade.
      4. He sat in the shadow of the booth; Note: He sat in the shadow of the works of his own hands. How much better to be hidden under the shadow of the wings of God (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1; Psalm 91:1)
      5. He sought to see what God would do with the city; he must have still had hope that the city would be destroyed at the end of the forty days.
    2. God Prepared a Gourd (Jonah 4:6).
      1. God prepared a great fish in chapter one. Here He prepared a gourd, a worm, and a wind. The Lord works in the things around us.
      2. The gourd became a shadow over the head of Jonah.
        1. To deliver him from his grief
        2. Of which he was exceeding glad
    3. God Prepared a Worm (Jonah 4:7).
      1. God prepared a worm the next morning.
      2. The worm smote the gourd so that it withered.
    4. God Prepared a Wind (Jonah 4:8).
      1. The sending of an east wind (Genesis 41:6; Ezekiel 19:12; Hosea 13:15)
      2. The beating of the sun on Jonah
      3. The fainting of Jonah and his wish to die
      4. Note: God worked through several means to bring Jonah back to the same statement he made earlier. This gave God the opportunity to once again ask the question that was first ignored by Jonah.
  3. JONAH’S LESSON FROM THE GOURD (Jonah 4:9-11)
    1. Jonah’s Anger (Jonah 4:9)
      1. Doest thou well to be angry (Jonah 4:4)?
      2. I do well to be angry; he would not answer about Nineveh but he answered concerning the gourd.
    2. Jonah’s Pity (Jonah 4:10)
      1. He had not laboured for the gourd.
      2. He had not caused the gourd to grow.
      3. The gourd came up in a night and perished in a night.
      4. Yet, he had pity on the gourd.
    3. God’s Pity (Jonah 4:11)
      1. The Lord had pity on the great city of Nineveh.
      2. The Lord saw the innocent souls of Nineveh.
        1. 120,000 children – persons that could not discern the left and right
        2. Much cattle
      3. Notes
        1. God compared His pity with the pity of Jonah. The Lord certainly looks at things in a higher manner than man.
        2. God responded to the repentance of the king and people of Nineveh, but according to this verse, what made Him so ready to forgive was the great number of innocent ones in the city.

CONCLUSION: Jonah should have been submissive to the will of God, but he still demonstrated rebellion. What would it have taken for you to yield to the will of God?

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 29:1

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.