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Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

We have finally come to the last chapter of the book of the prophet Jonah. Here’s what we have learned so far:
Chapter 1 - we learned the importance of following the call of God upon our life. Jonah rebelled against God’s calling to preach to the people of Nineveh.
Chapter 2 - We learned that repentance is the way to be right with God. Although Jonah rebelled against God, he repented, he asked for forgiveness, even inside the belly of the large fish.
Chapter 3 - We learned how the preaching of God’s word can bring revival to a whole country. The Ninevites repented, they abandoned their evil ways and sought God’s forgiveness. God responded by pouring out forgiveness over the people of Nineveh.
We are now at chapter 4 where we will consider:
Jonah’s anger
Jonah’s misplaced priorities
God’s sovereignty

I. Jonah’s anger

I. El enojo de Jonás

Jonah has preached a message of destruction through the course of almost 40 days. His message was simple:
Jonah 3:4 NIV
Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”
Jonah
Jonah 3:4 NVI
Jonás se fue internando en la ciudad, y la recorrió todo un día, mientras proclamaba: «¡Dentro de cuarenta días Nínive será destruida!»
However, God used this message to change the hearts of the Ninevites. These people who were amongst the most violent, most wicked, most brutal people on the face of the earth were reached through the preaching of God’s word.
In fact, this is still how God changes hearts. God changes hearts through the preaching of the Gospel.
It is for this reason, that we must pray that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached from our pulpits. The man of God must declare God’s word: not jokes, not stories, he is not there to entertain. He is there to declare the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
God has relented from his anger and would no longer destroy the city of Nineveh. Jonah’s reaction is almost unbelievable:
Jonah 4:1 NIV
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.
Jonah 4:1 NVI
Pero esto disgustó mucho a Jonás, y lo hizo enfurecerse.
Never in my life have I preached, and seen 120,000 repent from their sins.
Jonah saw it up close and personal.
He was used by God to bring these people to saving faith.
What is his reaction? He is angry! Not only is he angry but he disapproves of what God has done. Jonah disapproves of God’s forgiveness.
Jonah, a mere mortal, a mere human disapproves of what the Almighty has done in showing forgiveness to the people of Nineveh.
It is as if Jonah thinks God has made a mistake in demonstrating mercy to these people.
Jonah is about to break down before the presence of God and reveal the real reason why he was not willing to go to Nineveh.
Jonah 4:2–3 NIV
He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing 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, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah 4:2–3 NVI
Así que oró al Señor de esta manera: —¡Oh Señor! ¿No era esto lo que yo decía cuando todavía estaba en mi tierra? Por eso me anticipé a huir a Tarsis, pues bien sabía que tú eres un Dios bondadoso y compasivo, lento para la ira y lleno de amor, que cambias de parecer y no destruyes. Así que ahora, Señor, te suplico que me quites la vida. ¡Prefiero morir que seguir viviendo!
Jonah is expressing the real reason why he did not want to go to Nineveh. He knew God is a merciful God. He knew God is compassionate. He knew the God of Israel would forgive those who humble themselves and ask for forgiveness.
As a prophet of God he knew the Old Testament scriptures very well and understood how God had shown mercy and grace to Ruth the moabite and Rahab the prostitute.
He knew how God had shown mercy to Adam after sinning in the Garden and King David after committing adultery and murder to cover it up.
The real reason why Jonah did not want to go to Nineveh is he knew there was the possibility that the people would hear the message, repent, and God would turn his anger away. Jonah could not fathom that God would forgive them and that they would be counted amongst the people of God.
Jonah would rather die than continue seeing how these people had been spared from certain destruction.
Why would somebody think like Jonah? Why would Jonah be so offended at the fact that God would show mercy to these people?
He may have been a racist believing the hebrews were the only ones worthy of God’s mercy.
He may have been overly nationalistic thinking that only Israel had the right to the land.
He may simply not have cared for anyone else but himself.

II. Jonah’s misplaced priorities

II. Las prioridades equivocadas de Jonás

God confronts Jonah and asks whether he has a right to be so upset.
Jonah 4:4 NIV
But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah 4:4 NVI
—¿Tienes razón de enfurecerte tanto?—le respondió el Señor.
Jonah goes to the outskirts of the city to see if God may change his mind and decide to destroy the city.
Jonah 4:5 NIV
Jonah had gone 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.
Jonah 4:5 NVI
Jonás salió y acampó al este de la ciudad. Allí hizo una enramada y se sentó bajo su sombra para ver qué iba a suceder con la ciudad.
It is almost as if Jonah had this perverse desire to see the city destroyed by God.
It is almost as if Jonah wished evil upon these people.
Let us examine ourselves and pray that we never commit the same sin as Jonah. Let us never desire the destruction of any anyone, no matter how evil they may be. It is good and right to desire justice but it is never right to desire the destruction of others.
So, Jonah awaits the destruction of the people. He has made for himself a simple shade in order to shield him from the hot sun.
Jonah is about to manifest what he really cares about.
Jonah 4:6–8 NIV
Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant 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.”
Jonah 4:6–8 NIV
Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant 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.”
Jonah 4:6–8 NVI
Para aliviarlo de su malestar, Dios el Señor dispuso una planta, la cual creció hasta cubrirle a Jonás la cabeza con su sombra. Jonás se alegró muchísimo por la planta. Pero al amanecer del día siguiente Dios dispuso que un gusano la hiriera, y la planta se marchitó. Al salir el sol, Dios dispuso un viento oriental abrasador. Además, el sol hería a Jonás en la cabeza, de modo que éste desfallecía. Con deseos de morirse, exclamó: «¡Prefiero morir que seguir viviendo!»
Jonah 4:6
Jonah 4:6–8 NVI
Para aliviarlo de su malestar, Dios el Señor dispuso una planta, la cual creció hasta cubrirle a Jonás la cabeza con su sombra. Jonás se alegró muchísimo por la planta. Pero al amanecer del día siguiente Dios dispuso que un gusano la hiriera, y la planta se marchitó. Al salir el sol, Dios dispuso un viento oriental abrasador. Además, el sol hería a Jonás en la cabeza, de modo que éste desfallecía. Con deseos de morirse, exclamó: «¡Prefiero morir que seguir viviendo!»
The Lord has tenderly provided a leafy plant for Jonah so that even though he is waiting for the destruction of the people, God is allowing Jonah to be shielded from the sun. However, ultimately God has a plan.
Notice Jonah’s reaction at God’s provision. Jonah is overjoyed that the Lord has provided shade for him.
Jonah goes to sleep. God is at work and sends a worm that basically kills the plant to the point that it withers away. Not only that, but now God has sent a scorching wind.
Jonah awakes to find the withered plant.
Jonah awakes to feel the hot sun upon his head.
It is very possible that at this point Jonah was suffering intensely from the glaring sun, the high temperatures, thirst/dehydration to the point of experiencing heat stroke.
He simply wants to die. He cannot believe what is happening. Not only has God not destroyed Nineveh, but now he is the one that is suffering!
God confronts Jonah once more.
Jonah 4:9 NIV
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
Jonah 4:9 NVI
Pero Dios le dijo a Jonás: —¿Tienes razón de enfurecerte tanto por la planta? —¡Claro que la tengo!—le respondió—. ¡Me muero de rabia!
Jonah feels he is 100% justified in his anger.
Jonah feels he is justified in being angry at God for not destroying the people of Nineveh.
Jonah feels he is justified in being angry at God for allowing the plant to be destroyed.
Jonah feels he is justified in God sending him on such an absurd mission.
Jonah is not acting like a man of God should act. He is acting like capricious child.
Jonah’s priorities are absolutely misplaced. He cares more about the plant that withered away during the night than all those people who God just spared.
Jonah

III. God’s mercy and sovereignty

III. La soberanía y misericordia de Dios

Jonah chapter 4 ends with the voice of God. Verse 10 and 11 are a record of God’s last words to Jonah. God has the last word.
Jonah 4:10–11 NIV
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
Jonah 4:10–11 NVI
El Señor le dijo: —Tú te compadeces de una planta que, sin ningún esfuerzo de tu parte, creció en una noche y en la otra pereció. Y de Nínive, una gran ciudad donde hay más de ciento veinte mil personas que no distinguen su derecha de su izquierda, y tanto ganado, ¿no habría yo de compadecerme?
God wants the rebellious prophet to realize how much more compassion he had a for a simple plant.
Plants have no souls.
Plants have no intelligence.
Plants have no moral value.
God wants the rebellious prophet to realize how little compassion he had for the great city of Nineveh.
There were at least 120,000 inhabitants. The Bible describes them as not knowing their “right hand from their left”. This does not mean they were children but rather means they were ignorant, uncivil, and immature.
Although they were a rebellious people they did not know better for they did not have the light of God’s word in their midst.
We could compare the people of Nineveh to the African or South American cannibalistic tribes. Throughout history there have been many tribes/people groups who all they knew was violence, cannibalism, witchcraft, domestic violence, etc. However, they did not know better. That is all they knew.
Jonah, as a prophet of God, should have gone to Nineveh with compassion for these people. They were going to be destroyed and their only hope was the word of God. Their only hope was the message of God entrusted to his prophet.
God’d last word to Jonah even refers to the animals in Nineveh. If Jonah could not feel any compassion for the Ninevites, surely he would at least have compassion for those poor animals who had also been fasting.
God wants to demonstrate to Jonah that God is a God of compassion.
All along, this is what he wanted to show Jonah. God is sovereign and shows mercy to who he shows mercy. He shows compassion to whomever he desires.
God did not choose Abram out of Ur of the Caldees because he was a God worshipper. No! Abram was a godless pagan upon whom God had mercy and compassion.
God did not choose to save Moses from certain death during the killing of the newborn males, because Moses had much potential. Moses was only a baby when God spared his life and yet God decided to pour out his mercy and grace upon Moses.
God did not choose to save Ruth the moabite because she had anything to offer. She came from a people that would burn their babies alive. God showed mercy and sovereignly saved Ruth.
Why did God choose you? Why did God show you mercy, grace and compassion? Why would God touch your heart with his Gospel? Why did you believe? You believed because of the sovereign work of God in your life through the Gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Let us then earnestly pray and desire the salvation of all those who have not believed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
There are still many who have not believed.
The best thing we can do is be faithful to God, life a spiritually healthy Christian life, be a faithful member of our local church so that we may be a strong witness within our community of what God can do in the lives of those who believe.
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