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Jonah 4

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Running Ahead of God…

Jonah 4:1-11

Secular:

  • When it just doesn’t work out the way you had thought…
  • When your red hot (hockey, baseball) team doesn’t finish well… the wheels fall off
    • We know the potential
    • We have bought into the program
    • We are already dreaming
    • We are already raising the cup…
    • POLITICAL CAMPAIGN
    • WALMART
    • MOVIE THEATRE
  • Maybe it’s a new car, house plan, paint colour…

Biblical: NAU Jonah 4:1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life." 4 The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?" 5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. 6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. 7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life." 9 Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death." 10 Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

Personal:

  •  Went ahead into a restaurant and ordered for your spouse…
  •  Chatted up the waitress… about how well you know your spouse…
    • You order for her…
    • She shows up…. And orders differently…
  •  We hate it when we are wrong… when we are surprised
  •  When we run ahead…

Bridge:

  • Ohhhh - Jonah
  •  God asks us… We Run Away
  •  God embraces us… We Run Toward
  •  God enlivens us… with passion we run with…
  • Then we stray… get self-focused and run ahead…
    • Think we know best…
  • Running ahead of God… is as foolish as running away…

Body:

The Complaint…

            Sparing Nineveh

NAU Jonah 4:1 But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD and said, "Please LORD, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country? Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity. 3 "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."

  •   Justify our anger / frustration….
    • was not this what I said while I was still in my own country?... are a gracious and compassionate God
    • Jonah is saying… “I told you so to God”
  •  Things didn’t go our way…
    • Ministry that didn’t deliver the results I wanted… when I wanted…
  •  Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • Jonah forgot…
  •  NAU Matthew 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' 44 "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
  •  Jonah… the shame, the embarrassment, the frustration is just too much… "Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life."
  • Paul needs to have a chat with Jonah…
    • NAU Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Jonah was complaining about Sparing Nineveh and now…

            The Sun’s Glare

4 The LORD said, "Do you have good reason to be angry?" 5 Then Jonah went out from the city and sat east of it. There he made a shelter for himself and sat under it in the shade until he could see what would happen in the city. 6 So the LORD God appointed a plant and it grew up over Jonah to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort. And Jonah was extremely happy about the plant. 7 But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered. 8 When the sun came up God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah's head so that he became faint and begged with all his soul to die, saying, "Death is better to me than life." 9 Then God said to Jonah, "Do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?" And he said, "I have good reason to be angry, even to death."

  •  The Watch 4-5
    •  Jonah… quite pleased with his rant…
    • Sits to wait and see how God reacts….
  • NAU Isaiah 46:9 "Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, 'My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure'; 11 Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.
    • As Jonah watches… the world will unfold only as God has allowed…
    • We are responsible to the mission…
    • People are responsible to respond….
    • God is the God of results…
  • The Wonders 6-8
    • A Welcome Vine
      • See my Creative power…
      • Mine to create
    • A Worm
      • See my destructive power
      • Mine to take away
    • A Wind
      • God over creation!!
      • NAU Luke 8:24 They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, "Master, Master, we are perishing!" And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.
  •  The Whining 9
    •  Oh man life is tough….
    •  Complain… complain… complain….
    • Self-centred… self-focused… self-aggrandizing
    • Please…..
    • O – Woes – me…
      • Soul-saved… dynamic relationship to God…
      • NAU James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
    • Get some perspective!!
  • The Complaint is Foolishness
    • In light of the call to Love our Enemies…
      • Think about Gay Marriage…
        • Think about abortion…
      • Dying to self… living for God
  • The Complaint is Foolishness
    • In light of the incredible majesty of God…
      • Power over creation
  • NAU Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
  • Infinite strength to do the ministry of reconciliation…
  • The Complaint is foolishness…!!

The Compassion…

10 Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. 11 "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?"

  • The Rebuke 10
    •  You shallow… Self-serving… Self-interested… navel-gazing little TWERP
    •  You felt more anxiety for the loss of a plant… than for the PEOPLE of Nineveh…
    •  God is asking for a reality check…
      • You hoot and holler and get excited about a hockey game
      • You get crazy over the latest computer gadget or game…
      • You freak when the a/c doesn’t work in the car…
      • Yet you wonder through life without making an impact on others…
        • No care
        • NO compassion
        • No Love…
        • No Mission…
        • No Gospel…

    • NAU Acts 20:24 "But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God.
  •  The Revelation 11 * God’s passion for people… revealed…
  • Like Jesus in NAU Luke 19:41 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, "If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes…
  • They don’t know…
  • They need to know…
    • Their right from their left…
    • Right from Wrong!
    • The difference between a godless eternity in hell…
    • The hope of salvation in Christ….
  • Just as Jonah had a Mission!! WE HAVE A MISSION
    •  
  •  God has made the mission Clear…
  • God has made is compassion clear…
  • God’s call on his life is clear…
  • WHO IS READY TO BE OBEDIENT?

 

Conclusion:

The Complaint

  •  Stop Complaining…
    • It is about Jesus-centred
    • It is not about being you-centred
    • GOD FIRST LIFE!!

The Compassion

  • Love People…
  • All People…
  •  SHARE THE MESSAGE… IT IS YOUR GREATEST CALLING!!
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