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Chapter 4 

 

Jon 4:1  But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.\

  • This is about human selfishness and human anger.
  • People are not always happy when they see the blessings, prosperity and restoration of others.

 

  • When Jesus gave sight to the blind man (recorded in John Chapter 9) the Pharisees and the other people were not happy that the blind man got his sight. Jesus did not take away the sight of those who could see. Neither there was their sight reduced in any way but these people were not happy. They were not happy that now this blind man was able to see things as normal people see because they did not want to believe in Jesus.

 

  • Jonah was selfish in his ministry: he did not want the Ninevites to be spared.
  • Sometimes were are selfish and we do not reach the lost.
  • The Great Commission is, ‘Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel.’

 

  • Why Jonah did become angry when God spared Nineveh? The Jews did not want to share God’s message with gentile nations in Jonah’s day, just as they resisted that role in Paul’s day.

 

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.  For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:” (1Th 2:12-14)

 

  • They had given up their original purpose as nation- to be a blessing to the rest of the world by sharing God’s message with other nations.

 

“And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.” (Gen 22:18)

 

  • Jonah thought that God should not freely give his salvation to a wicked pagan nation.
  • Yet this is exactly what God does for all who come to him today in faith. That is what God has done for you and me through His son Lord Jesus Christ. He has forgiven us our sins and granted us new life.

 

  • Jonah revealed the reason for his reluctance to go to Nineveh.

He did not want Ninevites forgiven. He wanted them destroyed.

  • Jonah did 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 it possible that your view is as narrow as Jonah’s?
  • We must not forget that, in reality we do not deserve to be forgiven by

God.

 

 

Jon 4:2  And he prayed unto Jehovah, and said, I pray thee, O Jehovah, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I hasted to flee unto Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

 

  • The angry prayer of Jonah.
  • Jonah hoped that God had forgotten his character and attributes. (See Exod. 34:6-7; Ps. 103:8-12.)
  • Jonah said, ‘God I thought you would forgive the Ninevites because you are  gracious. merciful, slow to anger, abundant in loving kindness.

 

  • God is merciful.
  • Jonah reminds God of his attributes.
  • ‘When I ran from your presence you severely punished me. But when people of Nineveh were against you, you forgave them.’
  • ‘You are supposed to be an impartial God.’
  • Jonah is complaining to God.
  • He is comparing his life with the life of the Ninevites.
  • Jonah has absolutely forgotten his own disobedience.
  • We are told that teachers will be more severely judged.

“Be not many of you teachers, my brethren, knowing that we shall receive heavier judgment.” (Jas 3:1)

 

 

  • Jonah says, ‘You are a forgiving God. You must forgive me but not the Ninevites.’
  • Many times we have a double standard. One for ourselves, another for other people.
  • We want to have a soft view of God for ourselves but a hard and harsh one for other people.
  • God looks on his creation equally. He is not partial.

 

Jon 4:3  Therefore now, O Jehovah, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

 

  • Jonah is extremely angry with God.
  • Jonah is in deep tension.
  • He is under great  depression.
  • He prefers death to life.
  • He is a human being although he is a prophet.

 

  • Elijah also asked to die.  

 

“ But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper-tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Jehovah, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.”

(1Ki 19:4)

 

  • Even Moses said, ‘Take my name out of the book of life.’

 

“Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin - ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” (Exo 32:32)

 

  • How do you respond in the moments of great depression?
  • Do you complain?
  • Do you murmur?
  • Do you feel depressed?
  • Do you wish for your death?
  • There are some people around us who have a death wish.
  • We should never wish for death.
  • We must thank God for this earthly life which he has given us freely.
  • Our lives are in the hands of the Lord.
  • Do you feel absolutely relaxed and comforted in the hands of the Lord?
  • Do you feel perfectly dependent upon the Lord?

 

 

  • This is a normal human response. Life is not the same every day.
  • There are ups and downs. There is fluctuation.
  • There are mountain top experiences and deep valley experiences as well.
  • We must face the negative circumstances and situations by the help and grace of God.
  • Paul said,  “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me.”(Php 4:13)
  • We must face the harsh realities of life with confidence.
  • We must leave everything in the sovereign hands of God almighty.

Jon 4:4  And Jehovah said, Doest thou well to be angry?

God said to Jonah, ‘You are so angry with me’.

  • Sometimes some believers are angry with God.
  • When they suffer.
  • When God does not answer them according to their wishes.
  • How do you respond in times of sufferings?
  • How do you respond when things do not go the way you have planned them?

God said to Jonah, ‘You are so upset by this incident’.

  • God asks a question to Jonah: ‘Why are you are so worried about what has taken place?’
  • ‘You are angry with me to such an extent that you want to finish your life.’
  • This is the peak of the human anger.
  • ‘You are very short tempered.’
  • ‘You are a very short-sighted person.’
  • ‘You do not know my ways.’
  • ‘You do not understand my heart.’
  • ‘You do not feel my compassion.’

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith Jehovah.For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isa 55:8,9)

  • ‘Indeed you are human.’
  • Many times we get angry with God.
  • We look on the weakness of others and forget our own weakness.

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Mat 7:3-5)

  • We look on the weakness of others and start blaming God.
  • ‘You are not happy because the Ninevites repented, and I saved their lives.’
  • Do you feel spiritual jealousy when God shows some special concern on other people?

Jon 4:5  Then 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 shade, till he might see what would become of the city.

Jonah is angry.

  • He wants to die but still he cares for his body.
  • Jonah thinks, ‘If God can punish me, he must punish the Ninevites, this   is the only way to see that God is just.’

Jonah’s personal efforts to be protected from the sun.

  • He has a double standard.
  • In one sense he wants to die and in other sense he wants to live.
  • The intention of Jonah: he wants to see the destruction of the Ninevites.
  • Tyranny is hidden in Jonah.
  • Some people are happy when they see other people suffer.

Jonah did not trust that the Ninevites had truly repented and confessed.

  • Jonah did not love the Ninevites.

Jonah is anticipating a great destruction of the Ninevites.

  • This is typical of our sinful human nature (the ‘flesh’).
  • The ‘old person’ is still alive within us.
  • According to Saint Paul, the evil which I do not want to commit, I do. 

“For that which I do I know not: for not what I would, that do I practise; but what I hate, that I do.  For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me, but to do that which is good is not.  For the good which I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I practise.  But if what I would not, that I do, it is no more I that do it, but sin which dwelleth in me.” (Rom 7:15,18-20)

How do you daily struggle with your sinful nature?

  • Are you a defeated Christian?
  • Are you a victorious Christian?
  • Where do you stand before God?

How you are running your spiritual race?

  • Are you running with murmuring?
  • Are you running half heartedly?
  • Are you running by compulsion?
  • Are you running this race joyfully?
  • Are you running this race purposefully?
  • Are you running this race to win a medal?

“Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain.”  (1Co 9:24)

Daily we need the help of God the Holy Spirit to overcome our old human nature.

  • Our ‘old person’ has to die every day by the help of God.

“I protest by that glorifying in you, brethren, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” (1Co 15:31)

See  also Luke 9:23; Gal. 5:16-25.

Jon 4:6  And Jehovah God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to deliver him from his evil case. So Jonah was exceeding glad because of the gourd.

Jonah was totally lonely.

God prepared a gourd for Jonah.

  • The gourd grew up. How did it grow?  Was the seed already there?  Or did it appear from an immediate order of God? It does not say; only that it grew. God can create any thing.
  • There is no doubt about it.  God can use natural and normal methods. God can use extraordinary methods too. It could also grow by the word of his mouth. God can create anything out of nothingness. He can order anything to come into existence. (Ps. 33:6, 9)

The gourd was useful for Jonah.

  • God meets the common and general needs of human beings. He meets their specific and special needs too. God knows our needs. God met the basic need of Jonah. He needed the shade and God provided that.
  • Jonah never thought the gourd would grow up and provide him a shade

to protect him against sun and heat.

  • God cared for Jonah.
  • God cares for each one of us.
  • We are precious in his sight.

“Since thou hast been precious in my sight, and honorable, and I have loved thee;”(Isa 43:4)

·         Human beings are precious in the sight of God.

·         God created mankind.

·         God sent His beloved son into this world to die on the cross.

·         He was crucified to save us from sin, the power of sin and death.

The response of Jonah.

  • He was happy. It was a normal human response.
  • People are always happy when they receive benefits and blessings.
  • People are happy to receive but not so happy to give.

Jon 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered.

God sent a worm.

  • It was a miraculous worm.
  • As the great fish was a miraculous fish.
  • The storm was a miraculous storm.
  • The wind was a miraculous wind
  • Perhaps Jonah saw the worm; perhaps Jonah did not see the worm.
  • Perhaps Jonah ignored the worm; perhaps Jonah had pity on the worm.
  • It was an obedient worm.  Do you obey God?
  • It was a hard working worm. Do you work hard?

            “……But the hand of the diligent maketh rich.” (Pro 10:4)  

“The hand of the diligent shall bear rule; But the slothful shall be put under

 taskwork.” (Pro 12:24)

  • Are you a lazy person?

“He becometh poor that worketh with a slack hand;” (Pro 10:4)  

This worm worked for God. This worm was a true and obedient servant of God, because it followed the instruction of God without question.

  • The sea obeyed.
  • The wind obeyed.
  • The storm obeyed.
  • The great fish obeyed.
  • The gourd obeyed.
  • The worm obeyed.

God teaches a precious and practical lesson to his prophet through this worm.

  • The worm worked quietly and secretly.
  • We must do everything for the Lord quietly and secretly. Not for our own advertisement and promotion.

“…..and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. “(Mat 6:4)

  • How do you work for God?

“whatsoever ye do, work heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men;” (Col 3:23)

The worm destroyed the gourd.

  • The worm liked to chew and ate the gourd.
  • God sent the little warm with a mission and he accomplished the given mission.
  • Do you fulfill your God given mission?

This is a visual aid that Jonah might not forget this incident.

The worm fulfilled the divine purpose of God and we human beings do not care

for the divine purpose of God in our mortal lives. We ignore it.

Perhaps Jonah did not know and understand the value and importance of the worm.

Ordinary things can work in extraordinary ways.

God can take ordinary people in his hands and he can use them in extraordinary ways for his own glory.

Are you willing to surrender your life into his loving and caring hands?

Jon 4:8  And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a sultry east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

God put Jonah in a difficult test.

  • First God used the worm and it cut the gourd.
  • The sun came and God sent the hot wind.
  • The heat of the sun affected the head of Jonah.
  • Then Jonah was extremely upset.
  • Jonah preferred death over life.: he wanted to die.
  • The problem was so big that Jonah desired to die.

In his sovereign will God allows difficult times to come upon us.

  • God wants to teach us through difficult circumstances.
  • Learning is a difficult process.
  • We do not feel happy to learn spiritual lessons.

Sometimes God takes back the present resources which he has granted us,

so that we may grow in his grace and faith.

  “And we know that to them that love God all things work together for good, even to them that are called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)

 

 

We may learn deep lessons which we have not yet learned.

·         But we start complaining and murmuring.

“Do all things without murmurings and questionings:”(Php 2:14)

·         God has a purpose in every situation.

 

Jon 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.

 

God said, ‘Jonah you are very annoyed about the gourd:

you are extremely annoyed.’

  • Jonah did not hide anything from God.
  • Jonah was transparent with God.
  • We must be transparent with ourselves.
  • We must be transparent with other people.
  • We must be transparent with God.
  • It is difficult to be transparent.
  • It needs great courage to be transparent.
  • It always costs to be transparent.
  • At the end of the day the transparency is very healthy and helpful.
  • God loves and likes our transparency.

“He that covereth his transgressions shall not prosper:

But whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall obtain mercy.”

(Pro 28:13)

 

Jonah told the truth: ‘I am not only annoyed, but extremely annoyed and annoyed to such an extent that I want to die. ‘

  • ‘Death is the better option for me.’
  • Jonah was worried because of the sun and the heat.
  • He was worried because the gourd was dry.
  • When God takes back our resources then we miss those resources.
  • Sometimes we take all the blessings of God for granted.
  • We think that they are our right.
  • We forget the goodness of God.
  • We must thank God for every thing.

“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”(Php 4:6)

“in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you-ward.”(1Th 5:18)

  • Jonah expects good things from the Lord God.

“….shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”   (Job 2:10)

  • We must be always ready to meet our Lord.
  • We should never wish for the death.

“But I am in a strait betwixt the two, having the desire to depart and be with Christ; for it is very far better: yet to abide in the flesh is more needful for your sake.”(Php 1:23.24)

 

Jon 4:10  And Jehovah said, Thou hast had regard for the gourd, for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

 

God said to Jonah, ‘You have no right over this gourd. You have not worked for it.

I made it grew and I dried it. You did not grow it.’

 

 Sometimes we claim the things which do not belong to us: as though we own them.  ‘Jonah,  you claim this ordinary thing. ‘

Jonah looks for his personal interest.

  • How many times have you looked for your personal interest not the interest of God’s work?
  • How many times do we harm others for the sake of our personal interest?
  • How many times do we become a hindrance in the progress of other people’s lives?
  • This is human nature.
  • This is human selfishness.
  • Sometimes we want to take the possession of those things for which we do not work.
  • Even in the ministry people take over the field of other persons and their resources.
  • They say this is their right.

Jon 4:11  and should not I have regard for 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?

The compassion of God; the mercy of God. (“and should not I have regard for Nineveh.”) God says:

  • ‘I am God.’
  • ‘I am Creator.’
  • ‘I wanted to destroy them because they were wicked.’
  • Now I want to save them because they have repented from their evil ways.’
  • ,This is my decision. I do not need to get the counsel or advice of any person.’

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?  or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” (Rom 11:33-35)

God says:

  • ‘This is my rule and principle: that there is punishment for those who are evil and reward for the saved.
  • ‘Oh, Jonah, you are extremely worried about a gourd. You did not grow that gourd.’
  • ‘I have created these people of Nineveh; although they were evil, now they have genuinely repented.’ 

Today any person who believes in Jesus Christ and repents of his evil ways is accepted by God, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

God says:

  • ‘Jonah you are worried about one gourd.’
  • ‘There are more than 120, 000 children who can not differentiate their right from their left hand.’
  • God loves little babies.
  • God love grown ups, adults, old and young, men and women.
  • ‘If there were so many children, think of how many parents that represents: 1 baby +1 mother +1 father +4 other brothers and sisters means 120,000 x 7 = 840,000 lives.’

If every single family had just 3 animals, then 120,000 x3 animals = 360,000 animals. God also cares for the animals.

  “These wait all for thee, That thou mayest give them their food in due season. Thou givest unto them, they gather; Thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good.”

(Psa 104:27-28)

God cares for the birds of the air. Jesus said:

 “Behold the birds of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not ye of much more value then they?” (Mat 6:26)

God does not want anybody to perish. Saint Peter writes:

  “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2Pe 3:9)

God cares for the Gentiles: so we should take his word to them.

Jonah was a strong character who wrote about his disobedience as he also did that God controls everything, wind, storm, sea, fish, gourd, worm, sun and the hot wind.

But God has granted human beings free will so that they may decide by themselves.

  • They can accept or reject God.
  • They are responsible for their actions. 
  • God loves and accepts genuine repentance.
  • God loves mankind. God gives them opportunity to repent.
  • God hears the prayer of a genuine heart and he accepts it.

The Book of Jonah:  Summary

Chapter one

We   are responsible for our deeds.

We have to be ready to bear the consequences of our disobedience.

The prophets committed sins. They were human beings.

We must have a clear cut concept about God and His Word.

We must know our calling. We must obey God with joy.

God wants pagan nations to know the true God.

Human beings cannot escape from God.

If God wishes he can turn the good circumstances in to bad.

Before God all human efforts are incomplete and a failure.

Chapter two.

God is merciful too.

God listens to genuine prayer.

God wants us to have faith in him. 

The God of Bible is the true God.

In Jonah’s experience there is a picture of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Chapter 3

God knows how to teach a person.

Every person is very precious in the sight of God.

God cares for the king as well as for the beggar.

God uses the true preaching and proclamation of his word for his glory.

God loves brokenness. God loves humbleness.

God changes his plans to punish an evil person when he comes back on the right track.

People do not feel good when they see the prosperity of others, although God does not take away any blessing from us when he gives blessing to another person. When Jesus opened the eyes of the blind man (John 9), the sighted people there reacted very strangely. They were not happy. They were angry. When that blind person got his sight, Jesus did not take the sight of the ones who had it already. Jesus gave sight to the blind man by his power. Sometimes we are jealous when we look at the blessings and progress of other people. We do not feel happy.  God does not take away our blessings and give them to other people. We do not lose any of our blessings. But we get frustrated when we look at the blessings of others.

Many times people become frustrated by their circumstances and situations but still God cares for them in every situation. God can provide from places where we do not expect it. Where we do not work hard, he provides from that place.

We must take care of other people.

Human beings are impatient by nature.

Human beings are short sighted.

Human beings are selfish.

 Chapter 4

Human  selfishness.

The impatience of  human beings.

The mercy of God.

The mercy of God is beyond human comprehension.

Human life is vey precious in the sight of God.

God can take ordinary things and make them work in an extraordinary way.

God controls our resources, he can multiply them and he can squeeze them as well.

God has a purpose in every situation; many times we human beings cannot fathom the wisdom of God Almighty.

Transparency is very essential in all our relationships with our own self, with other people and with God.

We should never wish for death. This is deep sign of depression when we do not want to face the realities of life. We need God’s help to come out of this kind of situation.

We must look for the interests of others. We should never be selfish. God cares for all human beings.

The true joy, the true peace, the true comfort, the true hope, the true future consists in believing in the Lord Jesus Christ; confessing and repenting of our sins; asking forgiveness from God; looking toward the Cross, the work on the Cross and the shed blood on the Cross. Jesus forgives sins. He delivers people from all types of sins.

Are your sins forgiven? Are you cleansed with the blood of the lamb? This is the ultimate goal of God to save people from their sin through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.

Samuel Gill

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