Oh whale! (Jonah 4:4-11)

This week we spent our 10th and final week in Jonah. In the book of Jonah, we learned about:

Chapter 1 – Jonah’s disobedience

Chapter 2 – Jonah’s distress

Chapter 3 – Jonah’s declaration

Chapter 4 – Jonah’s displeasure

Jonah so hated the Ninevites’ sin it caused him to hate the Ninevites. He was angry with God for saving this vile, wicked civilization.

God confronted Jonah and asked if he really had a right to be angry over such nonsense. Jonah withdrew from Ninevah and escaped into the hillside above the city. He wanted to see what would become of Ninevah. God had saved them and there wasn’t one thing Jonah could do about it. But he was still hoping God would destroy them.

God caused a gourd to grow and shade Jonah from the sun. Jonah was grateful for the shade. He went from being exceedingly mad to exceedingly glad. The next day a worm destroyed the gourd. In addition, a scorching east wind combined with the sun and caused Jonah to faint from the heat.

(God loves us in spite of ourselves.)

1. There are four lessons we must learn in the school of God’s preparation. We are told of four specific things God prepared for Jonah. God knows what buttons to push to get our attention. Once God gets our attention, in order to go to the next level we have to change our attitude. Our attitude can keep us from being teachable. There will be afflictions in this world, even for followers of Christ. The power of God in our lives will be strongest when the pressure from others is greatest. He is attracted to our weakness. If we are to advance in the kingdom of God we must abandon ourselves. We cannot be filled with the Spirit if we are filled with ourselves.

Fish = attention

Gourd = attitude

Worm = affliction

Wind = abandonment

Go ahead and burn your plan B because God’s plan A will always work.

Jonah’s disobedience lead to a baby-like tantrum over the withering of a gourd. God’s point was to demonstrate the fact that Jonah had pity over a withered gourd but not over the people of Ninvah God had saved. Likewise, we today care more about our personal stuff than lost people who need salvation. We ought to love what God loves.

2. The heartbeat of God is a passionate pursuit of man’s redemption. God pursues us because we are incapable of knowing how to seek Him. God reprimanded Jonah for his displeasure over God’s loving the people of Ninevah. You see, the Ninevites were spiritually ignorant. God did not want them to go to Hell. (His mercy and grace even extended to their cattle.)

Jonah and Acts are the only two books of the Bible that have no conclusion. Jonah literally ends in the middle of a sentence. There is no more description because none is needed. God’s heartbeat isn’t for stuff, it’s for people.

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