Chapter 3 left with God relenting from destroying Nineveh because they all repented.
Verse 1 – But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry.
Why was Jonah angry? Because Jews didn’t want to share God’s message with the Gentile nations. They had forgotten their original purpose as a nation chosen by God. They were to bring the message of salvation to all other nations. Who are we to pick and choose whom this glorious message goes to?
Verse 2 – So he prayed to the Lord an said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.
Can you even imagine withholding the message of Christ because you don’t like that person or want them to be saved? How truly hateful is that? Jonah has a problem that goes deep!
It’s no different when I see people heading for the exit doors when the pastor gives the invitation for those to come to Christ to come forward. They leave because they don’t care! There is no difference.
Verse 3 – “Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!”
“O my goodness!” They repented, so just kill me now”, says Jonah.
Verse 4 – Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah doesn’t even answer God. Wow! What an attitude.
Verse 5 – So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.
In other words: Jonah didn’t answer God, he just walked off to see if God was going to destroy the city or relent.
Verse 6 – And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was grateful for the plant.
God could have destroyed Jonah for his defiant anger, but instead was tender and caring. Lesson: God’s harsh judgment is reserved for those who persist in rebellion.
Verse 7 – But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.
Verse 8 – And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Verse 9 – Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” and he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”
Jonah was angry that a plant withered, but he was also angry that God relented on destroying the people of Nineveh.
Verse 10 – But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night.
Verse 11 – “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left, and also much livestock?”
That’s it. No answer from Jonah, nothing. So what happened to Jonah? I’m thinking his life as a prophet is over. He was defiant, rebellious, ungrateful, and stubborn. But yet God showed him mercy. We can all learn from this story of Jonah, and its pretty simple: Do what God tells you to do when He tells you to do it, and do it with a respectful and grateful heart!