Jonah was consumed with glowing, blazing, red-hot anger, hate, self-righteousness, and racism, but Angry Jonah Doesn’t Matter. He wanted these people destroyed. Another question is does it matter to God Jonah became angry? No, in this it will not change how the Lord will love and forgive people even if I hate them. YES, now the Lord must deal with Jonah.
The Book of Jonah
By Pastor Delbert Young
Angry Jonah Doesn’t Matter
Angry Jonah Doesn’t Matter
Scriptures: Jonah 3:10, Jonah 4:1, Jonah 4:2, Jonah 4:3, Jonah 4:4, Jonah 4:5, Jonah 4:6-8, Jonah 4:8, Jonah 1:17, Jonah 4:9-10, Jonah 4:11, Jonah 3:4, Jonah 3:5-9Jonah 3:10
In chapter 3, Jonah preached to Nineveh saying what the Lord told him to say. “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned.” The entire city began fasting and praying (something most believers do not do). The entire city turned and began to call out urgently upon the Lord. The chapter ends with this.
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah had tremendous success. Think about this happening today. Jonah would be on every “Christian” television program. He could write books on “How to Win a City for God.” He would be the primary invited speaker at every major conference. He accomplished the apex of what a preacher is to, primarily, accomplish. To you, it would be as if you landed a huge promotion and huge salary increase. If you are a business owner, it would be as if you landed your biggest deal ever and were now set for life. One would think Jonah would be exhilarated and pumped. Was he?
Jonah 4:1 But Jonah was GREATLY DISPLEASED and became ANGRY.
Again, as we have in every chapter, let’s put our name in the place of Jonah. Humor me. It will make more sense as we get into it.
Ask you a question? At whom is Jonah angry? Is Jonah displeased and angry with God, or Nineveh, or can you actually separate the two? If I am angry with people whom God loves, does this not somehow connect with God? If someone is angry with your child and wants your child destroyed, does it not connect with you? The word translated anger is charah and means to glow or grow warm; to blaze up, of anger, zeal, jealousy. Jonah was consumed with glowing, blazing, red-hot anger, hate, self-righteousness, and racism. He wanted these people destroyed. Another question is does it matter to God Jonah became angry?NO, in this it will not change how the Lord will love and forgive people even if I hate them. YES, now the Lord must deal with Jonah.
I know some of you have been told some crazy doctrine about it’s ok to be angry with God. Let’s see if this is accurate. What happens when you get angry with God and hate people he forgives? I like how the New Living Translation records verse 2.
(NLT) Jonah 4:2 So he COMPLAINED to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that YOU would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I KNEW that YOU were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I KNEW how easily YOU could cancel your plans for destroying these people.
Jonah prayed, but it was a prayer of complaining. Jonah knew how easily the Lord would forgive Nineveh. Jonah knew God was, a Savoir, Redeemer, Restorer, Rebuilder, Rewarder, Forgiver! Never forget this. The Lord wants to forgive. Jonah knew, but was angry towards the Lord because he did. Let’s get the picture. God, only a few days prior, delivered Jonah from the belly of hell (Jon 2:2 KJV), yet Jonah harbored all this stuff in his heart because God would not judge Nineveh? Jonah wanted deliverance and God’s goodness for himself, but wanted people he didn’t like, judged.
The point is God delivered each of us from hell. Yet, some “Christians” harbor all sorts of evil things in their heart. Christians talk about each other as if the people God loves are nothing. They criticize everyone. They come to church and sing and praise, but in their hearts, many believers are Jonahs.
Just so you won’t be thinking “that’s not me” and how wrong I am, let’s take a poll. How many of you, from the time you received God’s forgiveness and received Jesus as your Lord, have NOT talked about someone negatively? How many have NOT harbored bitterness in your heart toward someone? How many have NOT prayed complaining about someone God loves? Can I tell you God is going to deal with YOU and forgive the person about whom you are complaining? We have all been there and we all relate to Jonah! God will FORGIVE them, if he possibly can, no matter if you forgive them or not. JONAH’S ANGER DOES NOT MATTER. IT DOES NOT MATTER IF YOU BECOME ANGRY except God will deal with you.
Jonah 4:3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah would rather die than forgive. I’ve seen people go to their graves hating. You have too. Jonah’s hate made him miserable, but what effect did Jonah’s hatred have on Nineveh? None! Harboring evil in your heart does not affect those you hate, but does make you miserable, sick, and can send you to an early grave. Don’t die hating. Don’t go another day harboring hate. Here is what the Lord asks.
Jonah 4:4 But the LORD replied, “HAVE YOU ANY RIGHT TO BE ANGRY?“
The Lord is going to ask Jonah this question again later. In Jonah’s mind, he had every right to be angry. They did something to him. Notice Jonah doesn’t answer the Lord. Neither do we, when the Lord asks me this question. I don’t want to talk to him about it. I want to hate. Feels good. Have you any right to be angry? In your mind you do. Jonah didn’t answer the Lord. He just goes off to pout.
Jonah 4:5 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.
Jonah pouted. He is a grown man (of God) acting like a child. I heard a tape calling Jonah a “man-child.” I thought it was good. Do you know anyone who is a “man child”? Sometimes I am a man-child. I don’t get my way, get mad and pout. Jonah went off to his little “shelter” and pouted. Don’t you feel sorry for him?
Jonah 4:6-8 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 GODPROVIDED 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.”
This anger/hate thing really had an affect on Jonah. Well, Jonah needs to die, does he not? He needs to die to his prejudice. He needs to die to his anger. He needs to die to his hate. Jonah needs to die to his “I’m better and more important than you” attitude. Are there things to which you need to die?
God PROVIDED a vine for Jonah to give Jonah comfort and pleasure and JONAH WAS VERY HAPPY ABOUT THE VINE. For the first time in the entire story, Jonah was happy, but God is just setting Jonah up. Don’t dislodge from the thought. God’s not above providing you “a vine” to set you up.
A vine gave Jonah comfort, pleasure, and made Jonah VERY HAPPY, but God’s not destroying people made Jonah angry and caused Jonah to be miserable. What’s the point here? Comfort and pleasure make usVERY HAPPY, but we could care less people are going to hell. We become so “into” our vines – our personal pleasure and comfort – we forget about what is truly important – NINEVEH! Do we actually believe in hell? Do we honestly believe people, we do not and do care about and love, will go to an eternal hell unless they come to Christ?
Many of you remember Herb Cole. He was a very, unique character I had the opportunity to know and pray with on a daily basis before he died several years ago. Once he shared his testimony with me. He told me when he finally came to the Lord he was upset with Christians for not pushing him harder to come to Jesus. He said, “They were going to let me go to hell.” Herb had a passion to keep people out of hell. Jonah had a passion for a meaningless vine. For which do you/we have passion?
Next GOD PROVIDED A WORM, WHICH CHEWED THE VINE. Jonah’s vine was short lived, as are most of our little meaningless blessings even if God gives them to us.
We get so into our vines. They make us very happy. Yet, in a day, God can, and does, PROVIDE A WORM TO CHEW OUR VINES. Why did God provide the worm? The worm actually came because Jonah was angry with God about Nineveh. Have you ever had a blessing you were sure came from God only for something bad to happen to it? Perhaps we can connect the dots now in our lives. God’s not done with Jonah yet. Jonah must learn something.
Jonah 4:8 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.”
God provided four times for Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 But the LORD PROVIDED a great fish to swallow Jonah…
Jonah 4:6 Then the LORD God PROVIDED a vine…
Jonah 4:7 But at dawn the next day God PROVIDED a worm…
Jonah 4:8 When the sun rose, God PROVIDED a scorching east wind…
How many really want God PROVIDING for you? Three of the four were not so good. Interestingly, all of God’s provisions are somehow, connected to Nineveh. The not-so-good events in Jonah’s life, were connected to Jonah’s Nineveh.
I want to ask you a question. Could, just could, the good and the not-so-good things that happen in your life somehow be connected with God trying to get you to “go to” and then care about Nineveh more than your vine? I’m just asking. Could, just could, some of the worms in your life be connected with your anger toward God and people who God loves? God wants you to have the vine. He will even provide it for you, but how much more is he concerned about Nineveh? It’s “God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten son.” He loves you and wants to give you your vine, but he loves your world/Nineveh. Your worms and scorching east winds often come on your head because you do not care about Nineveh and become angry with God, by being angry with people Jesus died to save. God asks a question a second time.
Jonah 4:9-10 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.
In Jonah’s mind, he has a right to be angry about the vine. What is God after here? Did Jonah create the vine? Did he make it grow? No. Then he had no right about anything concerning it. On the other hand, God did. Jonah, did you make the Nenevites? Jonah had nothing to do with their existence, but God did. God’s point is Jonah had no right to hate or be angry concerning people God loves and forgives.
Some of you have heard the ridiculous theology saying it’s ok to be angry at God. You’re just being honest, right? It’s like this. Most people think God is their janitor to clean up after them. They make a mess. When God doesn’t do what they “pray” they become angry. God asks, Do you have a right to be angry, Jonah? Jonah, the only thing you care about is a ridiculous plant. You don’t care about people I love. If you get angry with God, and our anger is always concerning people, he will deal with you by dealing with your vine – the thing which gives you pleasure and comfort.
God provides us things and we become enamored with what he provides for us so much so we forget about people. We are into our money, hair, our weight, our car, our house, our clothes, our investments, our fun, and all our other ridiculous vines, but we don’t even care about the men, women, and children who are dying outside of Christ and going to hell. When we spend our money, lose our hair, gain weigh, car breaks down, house needs repair, need new clothes, stocks crash, or can’t have fun, we are miserable. GOD GIVES US VINES AND THEN TAKES THEM AWAY TO SHOW US HOW SELFISH WE ARE.
Ask you a question. Why was Nineveh so far from God, so evil, to begin with? It’s sort of a daaaaaaaaaaaaah question. Why is your Nineveh and my Nineveh far from God? It’s because we are just like Jonah. We run home to our shady spot and wait to see what is going to happen to those people we should be caring about. We love our shady spots more than we care about people. The Lord said…
Jonah 4:11 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?”
I read something I thought was good. People who cannot tell their right hand from their left is a euphemism for little children. If this is correct, there were 120,000 little children in Nineveh. God is saying, “Okay Jonah, let’s say the adults are hopelessly evil, but what about the little children. Do you not even care about the innocent children? You want me to torch the daycares? And the cows, Jonah. What have the cows ever done to you or anyone? You want me to destroy them too?” The book of Jonah ends with this question.
So, you don’t want to reach out to your Nineveh. They are just evil wicked people, but what about their children? Fast story: There was this man who came to a place of hating me, but I would not hate back. I tried my best to minister to him and his family. He has several children and now they are all nearly grown. I heard recently that one of his children, who seems to be a stand out believer, truly honored me as being a great and positive influence in his life. This time of my life was not a comfortable “shady” time for me. However, what about the children? What if I had returned hate for hate?
Why would God use Jonah? Would you select an angry, racist, rebellious, disobedient, self-righteous person to go to Nineveh if you were God? Why? The same reason God has put you and me in our Nineveh. Some of us have come to this area for stranger reasons than being vomited out of a fish. God wants us to go to our Nineveh because (1) it is his Nineveh. (2) It’s by going to Nineveh we truly find ourselves. We find we don’t love people the way we should. We find we do not care the way we should. We find we do not reach people the way we should. You are in your Nineveh, or on you way there, not because there is not a better choice, but because you, in reaching your Nineveh, will reach yourself. It’s all about Nineveh, not your vine.
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