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The Book of Jonah
Jonah's displeasure; God's gracious dealing with Jonah
This fourth chapter is like an addendum (a supplement to the Book of Jonah), because at the end of chapter 3 the mission is accomplished.
In chapter 1, Jonah left the northern kingdom of Israel, probably from Gath-hepher, his hometown. His destination was Nineveh, but it took him three chapters to get there.
But he did accomplished his mission, and the entire city turned to God. It would seem that the book should end there. But . . . the problem no longer is Nineveh . . . the problem now is Jonah! Jonah was a real problem. God had more trouble with this backsliding prophet than He did with an entire city of brutal, cruel, pagan sinners.
I would think that Jonah would be glad at the results! That he would be singing praises to God and thanking Him for what had been done there. Jonah's reaction is something that seems unbelievable.
Jonah now has a new destination. He is going to leave Nineveh. His new destination now is a gourd vine. God is going win Jonah over to His viewpoint. This chapter will demonstrate to us the fact that God will never interfere with your free will. He will NOT force you on any issue, for you are a free moral agent. God has literally come by way of the cross to knock at your heart's door (Rev.3:20). But, my friend, He will NOT force His way any farther than that until YOU open that door. Your heart's door has only one door knob . . . and YOU must open it from the inside.
Jonah's Displeasure, Jonah 4:1-3
Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. [KJV]
WHY was Jonah so angry? Jonah thought God would destroy Nineveh because of her sins, and when God didn’t, but instead saved them when they repented, Jonah was exceedingly angry and displeased. Jonah simply did NOT want to share his God with the Gentiles. He hated these people.
Jonah 4:2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. [KJV]
Jonah now reveals the reason for his unwillingness to go to Nineveh (Jonah 1:3). He did not want the Ninevites forgiven; he wanted them destroyed. Jonah could not understand that the God of Israel was also the God of the whole world. Are you surprised when some unlikely person turns to God? Is your view is as narrow as Jonah’s? We must not forget that we really do not deserve to be forgiven by God. It is only by His amazing grace that He forgives us. Today, many think that God is the God of Gentiles, not the Jews. They are wrong! Many today do not want to share God with the Jews. Please do NOT take this stand.
Jonah 4:3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. [KJV]
Jonah wanted to die because the destruction that he wanted, would not happen. Jonah had SO quickly forgotten God’s mercy for him when he was in the fish. He was happy when God saved him, but angry when Nineveh was saved. But Jonah learned a valuable lesson about God’s mercy and forgiveness. God’s forgiveness was not only for Jonah or for Israel alone; it is for ALL people who repent and believe. God can forgive ANY sin, IF you repent!
Jonah 4:4 Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? [KJV]
God then asked Jonah “Do you think it is right for you to be angry about this?” Do you think it was?
Jonah 4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. [KJV]
Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see if anything would happen to the city.
Jonah 4:6 And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. [KJV]
How tender and loving God is to His people in their afflictions, even when they are foolish and disobedient.
Jonah 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. [KJV]
God had mercy on Jonah just as he did to Nineveh and to Israel, just as He does to us. God could have destroyed Jonah for his defiant anger, but instead He would gently teach him a lesson. If we will simply obey God’s will, He will lead us always in right paths. God's severe judgment is reserved for ALL those who persist in their rebellion and unbelief. (John 1:12; 3:18,36; 6:29; 8:24; 16:9).
Jonah 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. [KJV]
And as the sun raised up high in the sky, it became hot. God sent a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on him until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death would certainly better than this!” Jonah cried out. But . . . wishing does no one any good!
Jonah 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. [KJV]
God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” “Yes,” Jonah replied, “angry enough even to want to die!” Do YOU ever get angry with things that you have no right to be angry with?
Jonah 4:10 Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: [KJV]
The Lord was trying to tell Jonah, “You feel sorry for the gourd, though you did nothing to put it there. And a gourd is only short lived, but what about the lost people of Nineveh? You do not feel sorry for them.” God was telling Jonah that He loved the Ninevites and that Jonah should too. God loves ALL people. He sent His Son to die on the cross for them . . . and for us. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
Jonah 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? [KJV]
God told Jonah that Nineveh had more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. He said “Shouldn’t I feel sorry for these people?” Sometimes we wish that judgment and destruction would come upon wicked people. But God is much more merciful than we are. God feels compassion for the sinners we want judged, and He finds ways to bring them to Himself. What is your attitude toward those who are really wicked? Do you want them destroyed, like Jonah wanted the Ninevites destroyed? Or are you compassionate and pray that they could experience God’s mercy and forgiveness?
The little Book of Jonah is there for our learning, as are all the Books in the Bible. Let us all pay more attention to WHAT God is saying to the people of the past . . . and WHAT He is saying to us! TRUE wisdom can come only from God and His Holy Word!
Please do NOT let your copy of the Bible lay covered in a dark closet covered with dust.
Book of Jonah
Ch1 . Ch2 . Ch3 . Ch4 . Whales?