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Jonah 4

Background:
Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. But he did not want to face another fish-
swallowing. So he delivered God's message, and God used it to convert the whole city.
However, we find out in chapter four that Jonah is angry that God had mercy on the city
of Nineveh. Jonah knew that God was merciful and patient and abounding in love toward
undeserving people. However, he did not have his heart of love and mercy for the people
of Nineveh. Jonah wanted the people to die. Jonah wanted God to show mercy to him,
but he didn’t want God to show mercy to his enemies.

God shows mercy to you so that you would show mercy to others.
God showed mercy to Jonah…..
1. by saving him from drowning (1:17)
2. by giving him another chance and go to the city of Nineveh (3:1)
3. by not answering his prayer to die (4:3)
In verse 3, Jonah asked God to kill him because he was so angry that God
didn’t destroy the city of Nineveh. Fortunately for Jonah, God didn’t answer
Jonah’s request for God to kill him. He didn’t grant Jonah’s request because He
had a better plan. His plan included changing Jonah and working through him to
write the book of Jonah. If God had granted Jonah’s request, then millions of
people would not have had the chance to learn about the story of Jonah.
If God doesn’t seem to be granting your prayer requests, don’t be discouraged or
bitter. Don’t rebel against Him. Instead, trust Him. Thank Him. Believe that He loves you
too much to give what may be harmful to you. His plan is better than you can imagine.
You may pray for an easy life. However, God wants you to be strong in faith rather than
being a spiritual wimp. So rather granting your prayer for an easy life, God allows you face
problems in your life. As you depend on Him to overcome your problems, your faith will become
stronger.

4. by not yelling at him but pursuing him when Jonah ignored him (4:4,5)
Even though God was merciful to Jonah and saved him from drowning in the sea,
Jonah had not changed much. Jonah was very angry when God didn’t destroy the city of
Nineveh because he was motivated by anger and prejudice rather than by faith and love.
When God asked him why he was angry, Jonah didn’t answer God. He went
outside the city to sulk and feel sorry for himself.

5. by miraculously providing shade for him (4:6)


6. by gently teaching him how He feels about the people of Nineveh.
God treats Jonah with mercy and pity not only with the fish and the plant, but also
by asking questions. He could have yelled at him or disciplined him again. For example,
he could have had a camel come and kick sand in his face. However, God had mercy on
Jonah again.
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Jonah thought God was wrong for not killing the people of Nineveh. However
God showed Jonah that he was wrong for being so selfish and uncaring.
God feels pity for Nineveh in verse 10 because He labored over Nineveh and made it
grow. "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor nor make it grow." The point is the
contrast: I did labor over Nineveh; it was I who made it grow.
God is telling Jonah that he is selfish. He only cares about his own comfort. He
doesn’t care at all about the well being of the people of Nineveh. He cared more about 1
vine than the souls of 120,000 people.
“Let’s analyze this anger of yours, Jonah.… It represents your concern
over your beloved plant—but what did it really mean to you? Your attachment to
it couldn’t be very deep, for it was here one day and gone the next. Your concern
was dictated by self-interest, not by genuine love. You never had the devotion of a
gardener. If you feel as bad as you do, what would you expect a gardener to feel
like, who tended a plant and watched it grow only to see it wither and die? This is
how I feel about Nineveh, only much more so. All those people, all those animals
—I made them; I have cherished them all these years. Nineveh has cost Me no
end of effort, and it means the world to Me. Your pain is nothing compared to
Mine when I contemplate their destruction”

Jonah was shown mercy, but he become merciful. Not only was he not merciful, he
was mean and selfish. Why didn’t he change? He didn’t change because of his sins of
unforgiveness and judgmentalism.

Matthew 7:1,2 says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you
judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to
you.

What these verses mean is that when you judge someone, you are sinning because you
are trying to do something that only God is supposed to do.
It also means that when you judge others, you are hurting yourself because you
will wind up doing the same things as the person you have judged.

Mark Chamura
Several years ago, the Green bay Packers won the Super Bowl. Afterward, the
whole team was invited to visit the White House and meet President Clinton. This was
shortly after President Clinton admitted to having a sexually immoral relationship with
Monica Lewinsky. One of the Packers (Mark Chamura) refused to meet President Clinton
because he said President Clinton an immoral man. Mark Chamura judged President
Clinton and his statements were published in newspapers across the nation.
Several months later, Mark Chamura was accused of committing sexual
immorality with a teenage girl. She accused him of raping her. He claimed that even
though they had sexual relations, he did not rape her. His reputation was ruined. He
judged President Clinton and then he became just like him.
Jonah hated the people of Nineveh because they were cruel, violent and lacked
mercy. He judged them. As he judged them, he became just like them: cruel, violent, and
lacking in mercy.
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A couple saved from divorce
A couple was about to get divorced. When the wife was asked why, she said that
her husband beat her. The counselor asked the husband if his father had beaten his
mother. He said yes. He had hated his father for doing. He had also judged them in his
heart. Even though he told himself he would never do what his father did, the man hit his
wife. The counselor told him that he needed to forgive his dad. When the man forgave his
father, the man (husband) stopped beating his own wife. When the man forgave his
father, the curse of wife beating was removed. The couple wound up staying together.

Many people do the same things that they detest in others.


Eventually Jonah did change. We know this because he is the person who wrote the book
of Jonah.
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Jonah 4
1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.
2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home?
That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and
compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from
sending calamity.
3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."
4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter,
sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.
6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for
his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.
7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it
withered.
8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's
head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die
than to live."
9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he
said. "I am angry enough to die."
10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not
tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.
11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell
their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about
that great city?"

Matthew 7:1-2
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will
be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
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Apparently Jonah perceived his error and then wrote this storyhistorical-biographical
narrative to urge Israel to flee from her disobedience and spiritual callousness.What a
tragedy when God’s people care more for creaturely comforts than for the interests of
God’s will among men.
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In Jonah chapter one, God had mercy on Jonah and used a fish to save Jonah’s
life. In this chapter, God has mercy on Jonah and uses a plant to provide shade for him.

God erected an object of Jonah’s affection (creaturely comfort) and contrasted it with
the object of His own concern (the souls of people). he fact that the plant grew overnight
(cf. “at dawn the next day,” v. 7, and note v. 10) shows that more-than-usual rapid growth
was as much a miracle as God’s providing the fish for Jonah. Delighted with this relief,
Jonah, though he had been angry and depressed, was now overjoyed. Ironically he was
glad for his own comfort but not for the Ninevites’ relief from judgment.

He next appoints a worm to kill the plant and ruin Jonah's shade (4:7).
God uses both the great fish and the insignificant worm equally as instruments of
his purpose. One of the characteristics of the Book of Jonah is its use of the verb manah
("to appoint," "to provide," "to prepare"). It is used of the fish (1:17), the vine (4:6), the
worm (4:7), and the wind (4:8)
Then he appoints wind and heat to make Jonah miserable (4:8). Jonah has two
responses: he is angry that his shade is gone (4:9) and he evidently makes out to God that
he pities the plant. And now God has him where he wants him. "You pity the plant,
Jonah? You didn't labor over it; you didn't make it grow; it came and went in one night.
But, Jonah, I did labor over Nineveh, I did make it grow, and I've been at work on
Nineveh not one night but for years; and shouldn't I pity its 120,000 people and all its
cattle?

Ultimately he died for us that we might live for others, all others.

God was also patient with the people of Nineveh. Jonah saw the people of
Nineveh as wicked evil who deserved to die. God saw them as ignorant children. That is
why He said that they didn’t know the difference between their right hand and left hand.
Knowing the right hand from the left is basic to following the simplest
instructions. For example, if I am trying to direct you to Barnes and Noble bookstore in
Hawthorn mall shopping center, I might say, make a left turn out of the parking lot and
then go about 2 miles. When you get to route 60, make another left. At the first traffic
signal, make a right turn. If you don’t know the difference between your right hand and
left hand, you will not be able to follow my directions and you will get lost. God was
telling Jonah that the people of Nineveh were like little ignorant children. That is why He
had mercy on the city of Nineveh.
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This is what Jesus meant when he prayed, "Father, forgive them, for they don't know
what they do" (Luke 23:34). Yes, they were guilty. This ignorance does not make one
innocent. It is owing to real corruption and sin.

Jonah rejoiced over his personal comfort and was angry when God saved an entire city.
he had forgotten that he, who also deserved death for disobedience, was delivered by
God.

7.

How many of you want to be just like your mom and dad?
Probably most of you love your parents but really wish they were different in
some way. You may have judged them for being critical or demanding or too strict. When
you judged them, you hurt yourself because you started to pick up the qualities that you
judged.