1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
2 And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Introduction: asked students on Thursday who was the most successful preacher according to exact numbers of those who repented. Various answers, Peter at pentecost (3000); Paul; Elijah (whole nation of Israel). No, Jonah had 120,000 who repented. Moreover, cattle, sheep and probably dogs and cats too. Just 5 Hebrew words (Nineveh will be destroyed in 40 days) and such results!
vs 1 – But Jonah’s reaction is not thankfulness but anger.
a) Anger against Ninevites (worst of sinners, city built by Nimrod, idoloters, brutally violent).
b) Anger against God. “I knew you would do a thing like this.” vs 2
We discover Jonah’s reason for not wanting to go to Nineveh – he suspected that God might forgive them if they repented. He didn’t want to be associated with that. Out of sync with God. He was not aligned to God’s heart as revealed in vs 2. (sinner, have hope in the Lord, he forgave the Ninevites and wants to forgive you. Repent like them.)
vs 3 is the second of 3 death wishes. First was 1:12 and third was 4:8. The pouting, sulking prophet. Anything of him in you?
vs 5 and 6 finds Jonah outside and watching and waiting. In the wrong way. He isolated himself. didn’t want to be a part of this horrible thing of God forgiving the worst city in the world.
– exceedingly mad and exceedingly glad – at the wrong things. Verse 1 and 6. This shows his self-centredness and absolute selfishness.
God’s gentle rebuke is brushed off by Jonah (end of vs 9). Vs 4 “do you do well…?” and vs 9 “do you do well…?” His still small voice is an opportunity. Listen and heed.
God’s heart is revealed in vs 9 – 11. So different to is God and Jonah’s heart. Like the older brother of the Prodigal son.
The city of Nineveh rejoices with God in His pity and compassion. The only sad, mad and isolated person is the prophet.
(Hopefully, he repented and went into the city. But God has chosed to hide this from us. Some think that Jonah wrote the book. You provide the answer by repenting today and getting in line with God’s heart.)
Concl: Matt 12:41 “Ninevites will rise up and judge this generation because they repented. But One who is greater than Jonah is here.” Jesus is greater: identified with sinners; died for them and loves them. At Pentecost Jesus poured out His Holy Spirit to live and empower His people.
2Cor 3:17,18 speaks of us being “transformed”. How? By His Spirit. This is Pentecost Sunday. He poured out His Spirit to change us from cold, callous Jonah’s into Christlike Christians.