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Jonah: Anger 101

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Fickle as a Pickle

This study of Jonah has been quite interesting for me! I am amazed at how real and how timely this is for the people of God in the 21st century. So far in this short little book stuck near the end of the Old Testament, we see a man name Jonah that was very fickle. Have you ever been fickle?
Jonah sure was! Fickle means characterized by erratic changeableness. We see in the Book of Jonah that Jonah was disobedient, then he was full of thanksgiving, then he was obedient and now we see that he was a man full of displeasure. Are you like that? Are you a person that goes from one thing to another, that is the opposite of what you just said you were?
There are many lessons in this book that only has 47 verses total. Hopefully you have been able to learn some of these lessons which have included the importance of obedience to our God, the necessity of thanksgiving no matter what your circumstances might be, and what can happen with a second chance that produces a phenomenal outcome.
Today, as we look at this final chapter and last of this series, I see several pertinent lessons that are applicable to you and me today. I have titled this message ANGER 101 but there are a few other lessons we will see as well.
Jonah 4:1–11 NIV84
But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?”

The Science of Anger

I picture Martin the Martian from the Bugs Bunny cartoon. “You’re getting me very very angry and I am going to have to eliminate you!”
I recently read a great article about the science of anger.
It starts out asking
What makes you angry? The injustices of the world? The jerk who stole your parking space? The spouse who won’t get off the couch? Whatever brings out the emotion of anger, it’s safe to say that you’re not the only one who gets a little angry from time to time. As common of an emotion as anger is, though, it is certainly very misunderstood.
The article goes on to list several interesting facts about anger:
What makes you angry? The injustices of the world? The jerk who stole your parking space? The spouse who won’t get off the couch? Whatever brings out the ire, it’s safe to say that you’re not the only one who gets a little angry from time to time. As common of an emotion as anger is, though, it is certainly very misunderstood. Read on for some of the most surprising facts about anger.
1. Your Anger Can Be Caused by the Strangest Things.
Many people like to describe their anger as something that happens to them; the tailgater and the line-cutters caused their outburst, not their reaction to other people’s rude behavior. But the truth is often way more complicated than that. Traumatic events can cause people to develop a short fuse. But even the most patient people in the world, when placed in uncomfortable circumstances, can be prone to angry outbursts. Hunger, hot weather, aches and pains, dehydration, and even being left-handed, can increase your chances of getting angry.
2. Anger Is Totally, Completely Normal — To a Point.

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2. Anger Is Totally, Completely Normal — To a Point.
Anger is one of the most basic human emotions. Taken at face value, anger is merely a response to abnormal or dangerous situations, and there’s really nothing good or bad about it. What makes it good or bad, however, is how you respond to anger.
3. “Letting It Out” Isn’t Such a Great Strategy.
3. “Letting It Out” Isn’t Such a Great Strategy.
It’s obviously better to punch a pillow over another person, and will probably spare your loved ones’ feelings if you vent in the shower. But is it really doing you any good? Well, probably not. In fact, it can actually make your anger worse, because it can, “foster aggression by giving people permission to relax their self-control.”
4. Gender Plays a Huge Role.
It’s no stretch to say that, at least in Western culture, anger is a masculine emotion. And, as a result, boys and girls are are taught different things when it comes to managing their anger. Boys are socialized to be more aggressive, and girls, more passive. As adults, men are more likely to express their anger physically and impulsively; women, on the other hand, tend to have a harder time expressing their anger, and tend to be resentful and angrier for longer than men. In the end, though, neither of these coping mechanisms are healthy ways to deal with anger.
5. Anger Affects Your Health.
People with a short fuse, according to several scientific studies, can increase your likelihood of suffering from heart disease and strokes.

Questions to Consider

What do you allow to get between you and the Lord?
Have you ever found yourself to be angry at the Lord? In fact, have you been, like Jonah, displease with the Lord?
Have you ever been so mad that you felt death would be better than life?
Is there something you felt so strongly about that when it did not come to fruition you pouted?

What does the Bible say about anger?

No where does does the Bible say that anger is a sin. Jesus was angry. In fact, we learn in all 4 gospels that Jesus displayed anger. He showed anger in the temple clearing out the money changers with a hand made whip and overturned tables. In , we see that Jesus in anger healed a man with a shriveled up hand.
Verses like
Psalm 4:4 NIV84
In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Selah
Ephesians 4:26 NIV84
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
While it is clear from these passages that anger is not a sin, you and I still have to be careful with what we do with anger.
Jonah shows a few lessons in dealing with anger. I am convinced that Jonah was angry for several reasons, but every one of those reasons were selfish. I think Jonan was angry because he would have been embarrassed and perhaps labeled a false prophet.
Jonah wanted forgiveness for himself but he didn’t want it for those nasty people of Nineveh.

So What Can We Learn about Anger from Jonah?

Jonah’s anger shows that we can be real with God about our feelings and thoughts. It makes sense because He already knows our thoughts. By doing so, we can get closer to God because we are sharing with Him.
Sometimes we let things we cannot control, control us. Jonah got mad about a vine, among other things. Notice what God asks: “What right do you have to get mad about a vine? Did you tend it or make it grow?” As I have thought about this principle, I have to ask myself and you: “What is your vine that takes you away from the concerns of God?”
God’s patience and love overrule His anger. In chapter 1, we learn that God sees Nineveh as a city great with wickedness. Here in chapter 4, we see that God was moved when the people repented and turned to Him. God’s patience and love overrule His anger.
There is a model here on how to rightly handle anger:
Anger should be against sin. God did not change but He did allow repentance to happen. Are you angry about the right things?
Let your anger be accompanied with Godly ways. We already mentioned what Jesus did and what the Bible says about not letting the sun go down on your anger and in your anger not sinning.
Make sure that how you handle anger doesn’t interrupt God’s work.
Make sure
God is sovereign. His ways are perfect.
2 Samuel 22:31 NIV84
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
God sent a great awakening under the preaching of a man named Jonah who didn’t even love the souls of the people he preached to.
The Book of Jonah is a phenomenal description of the sovereignty of God and how He allows us to chose His way or our way. God controlled the wind and waves in chapter one, He controlled the gourd, the worm and sun in chapter 2. However, without the prophet’s complete surrender, God chose not to control Jonah.
Jonah was so mad that he didn’t care about 120,000 souls. Who are you so mad about that you couldn’t stand it if they were to get right with the Lord?
Which are you more concerned with: Souls of Self?
God wants all people to know Him and be in a loving relationship with Him.
For God so Loved the World.
Have you come to the place where you are certain, that no matter what, God is sovereign and His way is Best?
Job 1:21 NIV84
and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
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