The Book of JONAH
James J. Barker
THE POUTING PROPHET
- In chapter 1, Jonah was the Prodigal Prophet.
- In chapter 2, Jonah was the Praying Prophet.
- In chapter 3, Jonah was the Preaching Prophet.
- Now, in chapter 4, Jonah is the Pouting Prophet (4:1-3).
- JONAH AND GOD
- JONAH AND THE GOURD
- JONAH AND HIS GRUDGE
JONAH AND GOD (4:1-4)
- Jonah was displeased with God. “He was very angry” (4:1).
- He should have been happy that the people of Nineveh repented at his preaching (3:4-10).
- But rather than be pleased at this great revival, he was displeased (4:1-3).
- In 4:2, Jonah prayed, reminding us that backslidden believers do pray – but their prayers are not in conformity to the will of God.
- However, God is gracious and merciful (4:2), and He was patient with backslidden Jonah (4:4).
JONAH AND HIS GOURD (4:5-8)
- Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city and built a booth (little shack or hut). He decided to sit and see what would happen to Nineveh (4:5).
- Perhaps Jonah was hoping that God would still destroy Nineveh.
- The weather was hot and Jonah was in “grief,” so God graciously “prepared a gourd” for Jonah so he could sit in the shade (4:6).
- In Jonah 1:17, the LORD prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.
- In Jonah 4:6, the LORD prepared a gourd to provide shade for Jonah.
- In Jonah 4:7, the LORD prepared a worm to smite the gourd.
- In Jonah 4:8, the LORD prepared a vehement east wind to chasten Jonah.
- Jonah 4:6 says, “So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” He was not exceeding glad of the revival in Nineveh. In fact, he was exceedingly displeased (4:1).
- But “Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.” Charles Feinberg says this gourd is called the Palma Christi and is native to that part of the world. It attains a height usually of from eight to ten feet; and has large leaves.
- “Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd,” but the LORD knew things were not right with Jonah, so He prepared a worm to smite the gourd (4:7).
- One preacher said, God sent a little grub to destroy Jonah’s little shrub.
- Since that apparently was not enough to straighten out Jonah, the LORD prepared a vehement east wind to chasten him. We are told in verse 8, “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.”
- Jonah was feeling sorry for himself. He was in a miserable, backslidden condition.
JONAH AND HIS GRUDGE (4:9-11).
- God was chastening Jonah, but Jonah was impenitent (4:9).
- His hatred for the Ninevites was so strong that he was being unreasonable and defiant (4:9).
- In chapter 1, Jonah was like the Prodigal Son. Now in chapter 4, Jonah was acting like the Prodigal Son’s older brother (Luke 15:25-32).
- In His parable on forgiveness, our Lord said in Matthew 18:33, “Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?”
- But God had the last word (4:10, 11).
- If man wrote the Bible, he would probably stop at the end of Jonah chapter 3. But the Bible was not written by men, but by God.
- Second Peter 1:21 says, “holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
- The Spirit of God portrays men as they really are – with all of their faults as well as their virtues.
- The Holy Spirit wants us to see what was really going on in the heart of Jonah, and in the heart of God (4:10, 11).
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