Previously: God abounds in mercy and grace to sinners.
• God was merciful to the mariners, saving them from the storm.
• God was merciful to Jonah, saving him from the sea.
• God was merciful to Nineveh, warning them of disaster so he could save them from it.
V.1. Nineveh’s repentance led God to respond in mercy
God’s mercy led Jonah to respond in displeasure and anger.
Jonah was angry precisely because God was merciful, literally hated what God had done.
If Jonah ended with chapter 3, Jonah would be one of the greatest prophets.
A whole nation repented at his preaching, instead he’s angry, lit., “burning”.
What an odd response, over the top, shocking.
Why was Jonah angry at God’s mercy toward Nineveh? Maybe this threatened Jonah’s:
1. Prosperity. Maybe because Assyria was a threat to Israel?
How could God prosper Israel and be merciful to her enemy?
2. Pride. Maybe because Jonah’s prophecy of Nineveh’s fall would be wrong.
How could God relent of his word of judgment?
3. Popularity. Maybe he would return to Israel far less popular.
Jonah previously prophesied prosperity for Israel.
What would they think of him if God used him to show mercy to their enemy.
4. Identity. Maybe he saw only Israel as “worthy” of God’s mercy. Nationalism/racism.
You must give up your small, self-centered mission.
Jonah’s anger reveals his heart:
• He is cold toward others. (Did not care if a whole city of gentiles was destroyed)
• He is short-sided in vision. (Pouted instead of rejoicing at sinners turning from sin)
• He is self-centered in nationalism or racism. (Wanted God to bless Israel, not “others”)
• He is selfish in desiring God to serve him. (I or me used 9 times in Heb in 3 verse prayer)
Jonah and his God had vastly different motives.
God used Jonah to bring an entire city to repentance, but Jonah found no joy in it.
How many times does our selfishness rob us of the joy of being part of God’s great mission?
We do not give to mission because we want to spend all we have on ourselves.
We miss the blessing of serving another because we’re too busy.
We miss the blessing of deeper relationship because people don’t fit in our schedule.
You must give yourself to God’s greater mission.
V. 2a. God’s great character. Jonah quoted from Ex 34 when God showed Moses his glory.
Jonah’s heart: cold, short-sided, self-centered, selfish.
• Gracious – his attitude toward us, to do good for us when we do not deserve it.
• Merciful - compassionate
• Slow to anger – patient with us
• Abounding in love – pledged love, loyal love
These are startling and unsettling verses.
Jonah’s theology is right. He knows God‘s word. He knows God’s character.
But it never changed his heart. Good theology, bad heart.
It is not enough to know God; we must be changed by him.
It is possible to know the Word and the character God in your head, yet not experience a change of heart.
You must let God change your heart.
Jonah uses the Scriptures to justify his sin and selfishness.
If we feel more righteous as we read the Bible, we are misreading it.
Reading the Bible rightly humbles us, corrects wrong attitudes
It encourages us with God’s grace, mercy and patience despite our flaws.
V. 3. “Take my life. It is better for me to die”
He had no desire to go on.
If he had to choose b/n loyalty to God and loyalty to Israel, Jonah was ready to push God away.
Jonah’s problem is that there is something he values more than God.
When we care more about our interests than the good and salvation of others, we are sinning.
You must tear down what is more valuable to you than God.
V. 4. “Do you do well to be angry?”
Is it good for you to be angry? What is your anger accomplishing? – you must give it up.
God could have rejected Jonah