God of the Second Chance #4
Will You Celebrate Repentance?
Well, we move to finish our short series in the book of Jonah.
We must remember that God called Jonah to go to the wicked city of Nineveh and announce God’s judgment coming in 40 days.
But Jonah ran.
He boarded a ship heading the opposite direction.
God sent a storm to get his attention.
He was thrown overboard and then a God-prepared fish swallowed Jonah alive.
Jonah spent 3 days in that fish.
He repented, confessed his sin, and committed his way and very life to the Lord and God gave him a 2nd Chance!
God caused the fish to spit him out on the short and he headed for Nineveh.
He spent 3 days preaching through the city and their hearts were touched, their souls awakened, and they believed God and repented.
And God relented of his promised judgment.
That catches us up … let’s pick up where we left off … back one verse to and read chapter four
Let’s be honest, sometimes, we have a list of people who in our mind, don’t deserve God’s grace.
We just think it wouldn’t be fair to give them grace because they aren’t worthy.
To guide our thoughts today, let me ask some questions.
What was Jonah’s Response to Nineveh’s Awakening and Repentance?
A. He was Angry
Now I’ve had a lot of different responses in revival meetings.
I’ve been surprised when people respond.
I’ve been surprised when they don’t respond.
I’ve been disappointed when the response wasn’t greater.
But I can honestly say that I’ve never been angry because people DID respond.
This is part of the problem with some preachers who base all of their preaching on pronouncing judgment.
They begin to feel like THEY are the judge and they nearly joyfully proclaim judgment.
God does NOT glory when he is forced to judge sin, but his holiness requires it.
But Jonah seems to have enjoyed the pronouncement of God’s promised destruction
But when Jonah’s sermon ends the people, repent … and it is as if Jonah is saying “hey wait a minute, you aren’t allowed to repent, that’s not an option.”
And then God relents of his promised destruction and Jonah gets angry … not with Nineveh … but with God …
Have you ever been angry with God?
The NIV says “Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry”
The HCSB – “Jonah was furious”
The YLT – “it is grievous unto Jonah – a great evil – and he is displeased at it.”
Paul Mackrell says that this phrase literally could be rendered “it is evil to Jonah, a great evil”
This is more than Jonah saying “I don’t like this” … this is an accusation against a Holy God that His deeds are EVIL.
A righteous God is accused by his preacher of being evil … using two different words for evil, “yera” and “ra’a”
SHOULD we be angry with God? NO … But anger is an emotion … sometimes it springs up … So, when it does, and you are angry with God …
What should you do?
Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, “Anger: Handling a Powerful Emotion in a Healthy Way”, teaches us that when we are angry with God 1) Tell him 2) Listen to him 3) Report for duty to your next assignment.
We won’t handle the 3rd … but the first two are in this chapter.
Jonah DID tell God … we might be uncomfortable with how he told him … but verse 2 says
B. Jonah Prayed
Not exactly a model prayer here, but a prayer nonetheless.
You can almost hear his voice rising and now we know WHY Jonah ran away in the first place, in chapter one.
You can hear Jonah saying “I KNEW IT!
I knew you would forgive them if they repented.
I knew it because that’s who you are.”
Then Jonah quoted from God’s statement about himself in , as he showed Moses his Glorious Reputation … Jonah said, God you are “gracious … compassionate … slow to anger … abounding in love … LORD I KNEW IT!
And It’s NOT RIGHT”
Then he tries to take it up a notch in verse three … “Just kill me now!”
Aren’t you glad that God “he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” ()
He knows we are passionate, sometimes rash, and ultimately we are children.
And so like a kid throwing a tantrum and then saying “I hate you” … they parent often lovingly overlooks it.
So God overlooks the seriousness of these statements and doesn’t just ZAP JONAH where he stands.
But listen … if you are angry with God … and you PRAY angry … at least you ARE PRAYING …
If you ARE angry and you pray … but don’t voice your anger … then you are in essence lying to God and so hurt yourself
And if you fail to pray at all when you ARE angry, you have no chance to hear from him and it shows you are controlled by pride
So … this isn’t a pretty picture … It isn’t Jonah’s finest moment, but we CAN relate can’t we?
So, Jonah was angry because God let Nineveh off the hook, which brings us to another question
2. Did He Have the RIGHT to be Angry?
God actually asked Jonah this question himself.
He asked it twice over two days.
God asks it about Jonah’s anger over Nineveh and about his anger over the vine dying.
V4 God says “have you the RIGHT to be angry”
NASB – “do you have a GOOD REASON to be angry?”
What would give Jonah the RIGHT or REASON to be angry?
Before I answer … notice the reason for the question.
Just because anger is an emotion doesn’t mean we can excuse it.
If you blow your top all the time … you can’t say “that’s just the way I am” … you need to learn from it and change … you need to learn that you don’t always HAVE to be that way.
Jonah needed to CHECK himself and change his attitude
In Verse 9 Jonah says “I do” (have the right) and adds “I’m angry enough to die”
But that’s a statement of reality … not a reason for it …
But what WOULD give him a RIGHT to be angry?
1) If Jonah MADE Nineveh, if he made the Vine … then he could decide their fate
2) If Jonah were Holy and Righteous, then he could determine the outcome of all who were not up to HIS standards
3) If Jonah had been appointed by God as Judge of the Living and Dead, then he could carry out the sentence
4) If God had even ASKED for his OPINION …
No, No, No, No …
NONE of that is TRUE
Jonah is NOT Creator, Judge, Holy, Righteous, or God’s Council
Jonah is like the Pharisees in accusing Jesus of loving sinners …
Jonah is saying “God I can’t believe you would enter a relationship with these sinners just because they repented”
And so, Jonah went out and POUTED under a shade shelter …
So, then … if we have no right …
3. How SHOULD We Respond to Repentance?
This is hard for us to see since Jonah didn’t get it right.
But God made this vine grow up, literally right away … “the Lord provided” the vine just like he provided the fish
And guess what, Jonah was “very happy” Or “exceedingly glad”(ESV)
Three words here form this phrase “very happy” … literally it is saying that Jonah “Rejoiced with Great Joy”
How should Jonah have responded to the Repentance of condemned sinful men resulting in God’s gracious forgiveness?
He Should have responded EXACTLY AS he did over the STUPID VINE!!!
When the Vine was healthy, he was rejoicing with Great Joy and when it was Sick and shriveled up, he was “Concerned” or “had pity” or was “troubled”
Oh the things that we celebrate
and the things we grieve over are often SO SO OUT of ORDER with God’s Economy of things and the things that REALLY matter
We Treasure Trash and Trash Treasures
We Value the Worthless and Devalue the Precious