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Sour Grapes at a Saving God

Jonah: The Relentless Pursuit of a Merciful God  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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The grace of God in our lives compels us to take the gospel to the world.

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INTRODUCTION - Jonah is no hero

Synopsis of Jonah story to this point
Jonah is an interesting story. The story features a prophet of God who does the exact opposite of what God asks him to do. He runs from God and only reluctantly fulfills the task God gives him. And as we’ll see today
“How 'Justice League' weathered supersized setbacks to assemble DC's greatest heroes”
While he ponders his own future as the Dark Knight, the actor does see a timeliness in Justice League’s arrival now. “We certainly are in need of heroes in 2017,” Affleck says. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, from natural to man-made disasters, and it’s really scary. Part of the appeal of this genre is wish fulfillment: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was somebody who can save us from all this, save us from ourselves, save us from the consequences of our actions and save us from people who are evil?”
Think about it. You’re the one God used to ignite one of the greatest revivals ever. What do you do?
Imagine you were able to address a sold out crowd at a Notre Dame football game. You give them an eight-word sermon warning God is about to come in judgment — and everyone repents. A revival sweeps across the stands as the sound of weeping and crying out to God fills the stadium. What do you do next?
#NDRevival
selfies with the saved
write a book
Start a social media page
. . . Jonah gets angry
Jonah 4:1–4 ESV
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
“displeased exceedingly. . . angry” = It was evil to Jonah with a great evil.
Jonah calls the greatest revival in history “a great evil” and is so distraught he wants to die.
Imagine you were able to address a sold out crowd at a Notre Dame football game. You give them an eight-word sermon warning God is about to come in judgment — and everyone repents. A revival sweeps across the stands as the sound of weeping and crying out to God fills the stadium. What do you do next?
#NDRevival
selfies with the saved
write a book
Start a social media page
. . . Jonah gets angry

Jonah’s Anger at God’s Compassion (4:1-4)

Jonah was honest with God.

And he prayed to the LORD

Perhaps this is the only good thing Jonah does in this passage - he goes TO God with his anger / frustration.
Perhaps this is the only good thing Jonah does in this passage - he goes TO God with his anger / frustration. He complains to God and not about God.
What breaks your heart?
What do you do when God is confusing? Where do you go when God doesn’t seem to make sense / When you feel you’ve been wronged by God? 2 options: You could go to God or not God.
What Jonah feels cannot be fixed if he does not go to God. Where do you go?

Jonah’s anger revealed his motives.

O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish;

Our emotions reveal the priorities in our heart.
Have you ever been angry at God? - What makes you angry?
That which we are angry about describes what we hold dear.
ILLUST - when did Jesus get angry?
He was not angry when falsely accused.
He was not angry when struck.
He was not angry when betrayed.
He was angry when religious leaders misrepresented God through the burden of religious rules.
He was angry when people who claimed to follow God promoted themselves over others.
He was angry when the worship of God became an opportunity for selfish consumerism.
Jesus was never angry when it was about himself. He became angry when God was maligned, when people were mistreated, when worship was misunderstood.
He was angry about the same things God is angry about.
Are you angry with that which God is angry about?
What breaks your heart?
Why was Jonah angry?
Was it because God was merciful? No.
It was because God was merciful TO THEM.
Jonah was prejudiced.
He believed his people / nation alone should have a claim to God.
“One of the great evils of idolatry is that if we idolize, we must demonize” - Jonathan Edwards
How do you know if you’re prejudiced?
-You hate those who hurt you 
-You dislike those with whom you disagree
-You distance from those who are different

Jonah knew the character of God but didn’t feel the compassion of God.

for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.

Exodus 34:5–6 ESV
The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
Exodus 40:5–6 ESV
And you shall put the golden altar for incense before the ark of the testimony, and set up the screen for the door of the tabernacle. You shall set the altar of burnt offering before the door of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting,
Jonah understood who God was.
ex 34.5-6
Good theology / bad heart
Good theology / bad heart
“I know who you are, and I don’t like it”
He followed the rules of religion but not the heart of God.
There is a real danger in having the knowledge of God without the heart of God.
James 2:19 ESV
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Operating with a knowledge of God but without the heart of God
The purpose of knowing about God is to know how to be in relationship with him and to be like him.
What are you doing with your knowledge of God?
God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” This is who Jonah was to be - this is who we are to be.
Does your heart break for the lost?
Jonah 4:5–9 ESV
Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.”
jonah 4

Jonah’s Conviction of God’s Control (4:5-9)

Jonah expected God’s grace for himself and God’s judgment for others.

Jonah was more concerned for his own immediate comfort than for the eternal destiny of others.

Jonah 4:10–11 ESV
And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
Jonah became more concerned
Nineveh’s population was about the same as South Bend and Granger combined.

Your Answer to God’s Question (4:10-11)

We must be honest with God.

What do our emotions reveal about our hearts?

We must be filled with God’s truth and to feel with God’s heart.

We must actively love ALL people.

We must be willing to sacrifice comfort for the souls of the lost.

We must pray for the salvation of the city rather than sit and wait for judgment.

ILLUST - in my office in front of my desk is a painting of Jesus as he sits overlooking Jerusalem.
Jonah seethed over the repentance of the city. Jesus wept over the lostness of the city.

CONCLUSION - Jesus is our hero

In the article, “How 'Justice League' weathered supersized setbacks to assemble DC's greatest heroes” in USA Today:
While he ponders his own future as the Dark Knight, the actor does see a timeliness in Justice League’s arrival now. “We certainly are in need of heroes in 2017,” Affleck says. “There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, from natural to man-made disasters, and it’s really scary. Part of the appeal of this genre is wish fulfillment: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was somebody who can save us from all this, save us from ourselves, save us from the consequences of our actions and save us from people who are evil?”
Jonah only cared for his nation - Jesus for all nations
Jonah ran from Nineveh - Jesus ran to earth
Jonah - unwilling - Jesus - willing
Jonah does not dwell with N - Jesus 
Jonah waits for N to be punished - Jesus is punished for enemies
Jonah spends 40 days hoping for destruction - Jesus spends 40 days showing his resurrection
Jonah sat high on small throne hoping for damnation - Jesus seated high on great throne hoping for salvation
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