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Jonah revisited

I know we've done Jonah before, but I was reading it this week and of course there's always something new,
even when you've read it before. :)

Jonah 1:1; The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,
Jonah 1:2; “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
Jonah 1:3; But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Nineveh was a Gentile city. In Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). It's interesting that God sent a Hebrew prophet to a Gentile city in the old testament. Perhaps Jonah was the "Paul of the old testament".

God says "their wickedness has come up before me". What could the Gentiles do that was so wicked?
There must have been some sort of rule(s)... something they did that was against God's righteousness.

But of course as we know, Jonah didn't want to go. Sometimes we don't want to do what God is telling
us to do. In fact Jonah does the very opposite of what God says. He doesn't just ignore God and pretend
like he didn't hear Him. He goes the exact opposite direction that God is telling him to go. It seems sometimes we do the same thing today. Can anyone relate? In fact it says "to go with them to Tarshish, (away) from the presence of the Lord."

The funny thing is, there's no where to run from God. No matter where we go, there He is.
The other thing I notice here, it says "he paid the fare". It seems many times when we are going
against the Lord's will, there is a price to pay. (sometimes before and after, as we will see)

Jonah 1:4; The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.
Jonah 1:5; Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.
Jonah 1:6; So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”

So God does the first of several miracles in the book of Jonah. He causes a great storm to come up.
The storm is so furious "that the ship was about to break up".

The sailors became afraid, my thought is that some of them were experienced sailors and had been through
storms before, but not like this one. So each man cries out to "his god". There are many gods in the world,
but only one God (uppercase G). Asking the wrong god to help you, doesn't really help.

The other thing I notice here, is that they start throwing their cargo into the sea "to lighten the ship".
It's hard to imagine a modern day ship, or truck, or train, or jet throwing out all of their cargo to save
themselves. The cargo is their livelihood. It's how they make money and earn a living.

Sometimes when we go against God, it not only causes consequences for ourselves, but for others as well.
But the sailors are afraid, so they throw the cargo into the sea.

Part of this passage reminds me of Jesus in Matthew 8:24; there is a great storm, but Jesus is asleep
in the boat. So it is with Jonah, he is asleep in the boat.

The captain of the boat comes to wake up Jonah and asks him "call on your god".
This is an amazing part of the story. We saw earlier the sailors were calling on "their" gods. But of course
the storm kept on. So now they turn to Jonah to call on "his" god.

I believe God uses circumstances to sometimes have the world call out to Him. Even if it's through someone
else. Sometimes God puts people in a situation that is beyond anything they can do to fix it. Sometimes those people are wise enough to call on God.

... to be continued ...
Jonah 1:7; Each man said to his mate, “Come, let us cast lots so we may learn on whose account this calamity has struck us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah.
Jonah 1:8; Then they said to him, “Tell us, now! On whose account has this calamity struck us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
Jonah 1:9; He said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land.”

The sailors seem to recognize this isn't a normal storm. God is causing this. Back in my younger days, it was common for people to
ask why God was causing a certain event, (earthquake, volcano, tornado, etc...) but these days we have "science" to explain it all to us,
so sometimes science takes the place of God. Now days, people just assume everything happens randomly and God doesn't have
anything to do with any of it. Is that true, God doesn't work events on the earth anymore?

In any case they cast lots, and it falls on Jonah. Casting lots is mentioned a few places in the Bible, usually it's unbelievers doing it.
There is one case in Acts 1:26; where the disciples cast lots to see who the 12th apostle would be. My personal opinion is that we
don't have to do this anymore. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us in decisions.

We see something of the beginning of a change of heart here in Jonah. He wanted to run from God earlier, but now He says "I fear the Lord God of heaven".

Jonah 1:10; Then the men became extremely frightened and they said to him, “How could you do this?” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
Jonah 1:11; So they said to him, “What should we do to you that the sea may become calm for us?”—for the sea was becoming increasingly stormy.
Jonah 1:12; He said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you, for I know that on account of me this great storm has come upon you.”
Jonah 1:13; However, the men rowed desperately to return to land but they could not, for the sea was becoming even stormier against them.

The men ask Jonah... how could you do this to us? They recognized that God was causing this. Jonah had told them he was running from God.
I'm sure part of the question wasn't just "how could you put our lives in danger", but also "how could put our cargo and livelihood at risk?"
Their cargo is gone, but they still have their lives.

It says the weather "was becoming increasingly stormy", so they ask Jonah what they should do.
Jonah answers, "throw me into the sea". I know I'm the reason for all of this.

Wow.... an even bigger realization comes to Jonah. He knows he is responsible for the things happening to these other people,
as well as what is happening to himself. Sometimes, we get to a low point in our lives, where we don't even really care about
ourself. We don't even care if we live or die. But we still care about other people. Sometimes we care enough to sacrifice ourselves
for them.

Many years ago, I did something really bad, it affected several people, I felt really guilty about it. .. I mean.. REALLY guilty.
But I was at that place.. I felt useless, I felt like I did nothing but cause other people pain, I even felt like... maybe the best thing that
could happen to me was that I would just die and get it over with.

I can relate with Jonah saying... "just throw me into the sea". I'm sure he was feeling more than a little guilty at this point.
Not just because of what was happening to the men on the ship, but because he realized he was being disobedient to God.

To the sailors credit, they didn't throw Jonah into the sea.... at least not yet.
It says the men "rowed desparately" to get back to the land, but the harder they rowed, the stormier the sea became.

Sometimes when we are fighting against God, there's nothing we can do to fix it. We are completely powerless.
(sometimes thats a good place to be) Not even family, friends, professionals, (or sailors) can fix it for us. The only thing that
can fix this situation is God.

.. to be continued ...
Jonah 1:14; Then they called on the LORD and said, "We earnestly pray, O LORD, do not let us perish on account of this man's life and do not put innocent blood on us; for You, O LORD, have done as You have pleased."
Jonah 1:15; So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging.
Jonah 1:16; Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
Jonah 1:17; And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

Perhaps one of the more interesting parts of this story is that back in verse 5, every man was crying out to "their god", but now in verse 14, they are crying out to the LORD.
I think when the world can see that certain things are happening because of God, they have no way to deny Him. (Oh there are hard hearted Pharisee to be sure) but for
the people who are open hearted, they can see God in the circumstances around them.

So now they throw Jonah into the sea. Better that just he dies than the rest of us. As soon as they do that, the storm dies down. This is almost certainly confirmation that they
did the right thing. Sometimes when sin is amongst us, the best thing we can do is throw it over board.

Then the men feared God greatly, and made sacrifices to Him. Even though they were from Joppa (near modern day Tel-Aviv) they worshipped other gods just a few days ago.
Now they are sacrificing to the Lord, and making promises (vows) to Him. The fear of God can bring us to Him sometimes.

Chapter one ends with "the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah". Even when we are trying to flee from God, He has plans for us.
There really is no place we can hide from God. Even in the midst of our sin, He know where we are. As the Psalmist put it...

Psa 139:7; Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?
Psa 139:8; If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
Psa 139:9; If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Psa 139:10; Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me.

... to be continued...
Jonah 2:1; Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish,
Jonah 2:2; and he said, "I called out of my distress to the LORD, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice.
Jonah 2:3; "For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
Jonah 2:4; "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.'
Jonah 2:5; "Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head.

Jonah prayed... "from the stomach of the fish". I suppose being in the belly of a large fish would get your attention.
I can't help but wonder,... what did it sound like. What did it look like? (I'm guessing pitch black) What did it smell like.. (I'm not sure I want to know).
I lot of people get hung up on whether you could actually survive inside a fish for 3 days. But there actually historical records of fish being caught and
people being found in them, and a few have even survived this!!

In any case... have you ever been swallowed by something? Engulfed by a bad situation. Have you even been completely enveloped by something you had no
control over? You made a bad decision, and God said.. OK... if that's what you want to do, here you go.
When the fish went up, Jonah went up. When the fish went down, Jonah went down. When the fish turn right, Jonah turned right. When the fish turned.... (you
get the idea) Have you even been a bad situation you couldn't get out of? You saw no escape, no light at the end of the tunnel. That bad situation
was dragging you around, making you turn left and making you turn right, even when you didn't really want to. Have you ever had seaweed "wrapped around" your head? (verse 5)

God is control of every situation. Jonah wasn't tossed into the sea by accident. The fish didn't find him by accident. The LORD appointed the fish to be there at exactly
the right moment. The bad situation you may be in... it isn't by accident. God is not unaware of it. In fact, it's very likely God appointed you to be in that situation (this
may be due to a bad decision you made, like not going to Ninevah).

But Jonah prayed. Maybe like he had never prayed before. God hears our prayers, even when we are in a bad place. There is a way out.
When you can't get yourself out of that place... God can!!

God says He will never leave us or forsake us. He didn't leave Jonah, He knew exactly where Jonah was, and how Jonah was feeling. But that doesn't mean He didn't let Jonah go through that time of learning and growing.

... to be continued ..
My dear brother I love the points you have shared. The Holy Ghost is so wonderful. Amen

I want to fellowship about Jonah and what the Holy Spirit has ministered to me.

Yes Jonah ran away; however, those on board knew Jonah was fleeing from the presence of the Lord. It wasn't a big deal to them. They took his money and He boarded the ship. When the wind blew and the boat rocked, they feared in their distress and call upon their God. Even those who don't consider God, cries out when destruction happens. Amen

Now the captain seeks the sleeper below deck to cry upon his God that the not be destroyed. Notice the mess they are in is because of Jonah's disobedience. We can bring bad things upon others because they helped us to run away.

To be continued...
Sorry it really late and I am really tired.
Jonah 2:4; “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
Jonah 2:5; “Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
Jonah 2:6; “I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
Jonah 2:7; “While I was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
And my prayer came to You,
Into Your holy temple.

What a powerful change of heart we see here. Sometimes it's amazing how being a bad place for a while can
change our perspective. Instead of running from God, now Jonah says "I will look again toward Your holy temple".
Sometimes the situations we get into "wrap weeds around" our heads. The things we have been doing wrap
themselves all around us. Entangle us and make it difficult to even breathe.

In verse 6 it says I descended to the roots of the mountains. I read somewhere that that Mt. Everest isn't the tallest
mountain on the earth, Mauna Kea in Hawaii is if you count the part beneath the water. In fact over 3/4th of this
mountain is hidden under water. Of course there are many other mountains under water we can't see.

But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.

Amen!! Every one of us who have been saved can say the same thing. I believe this is a prophetic verse
about Christ in the old testament.

"While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,"

Hmmmm... is it possible to forget the Lord sometimes? Maybe you used to go to church, maybe you were
brought up going to Sunday school. Maybe it's been a while since you prayed. Maybe it's been ages since
you opened a Bible. It's easy to forget something we haven't seen or heard about in a long time.

But sometimes even Christians forget the Lord. Oh, we go to church every week, and we pray sometimes.
But often when we make decisions, we forget the Lord. And sometimes, when we are walking towards a bad
situation, we forget the Lord. Sometimes we are like Jonah, we just want to do what we want to do.
Regardless of what God wants us to do. Sometimes we forget the Lord.

But Jonah says "I remembered the Lord". Funny how being in the middle of a really bad situation can make us
remember God. When we finally come to the point that we realize we have no control over the situation, we
finally cry out to God.

What is the "big fish" in your life? What bad situation has completely taken control of you. How did you get there?
Did you "forget the Lord", even if it was just for a brief moment. Could it be God is using that situation to bring
you back to Him?

Jonah realizes God put him in this place. He also realize God hears his prayers that have "gone into your Holy temple".

.. to be continued ...
Jonah 2:7; “While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,
And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple.
Jonah 2:8; “Those who regard vain idols Forsake their faithfulness,
Jonah 2:9; But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving.
That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord.”
Jonah 2:10; Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

So here we see Jonah "fainting away" at death's doorstep, and he "remembers" the Lord.
Then all of the sudden, the prayer seems to take a sharp right turn and change the subject.

Jonah starts talking about "vain idols" and forsaking faithfulness.

Why does he bring this up here? I can think of at least two reasons.
It's possible he saw the sailors on the ship worshiping "their gods" and that didn't make the storm go away.
So they are just vain idols.
Or more likely, he was talking about himself, his own will. When we put anything before God it becomes an idol.
Even our own will can be become an idol when it becomes what we listen to, rather than following God.
When we do this... we are "forsaking our faithfulness" to God. We are supposed to be faithful to Him, not to
our own self-will.

But I will sacrifice to you...with the voice of thanksgiving. Sometimes being thankful for what God
gives us is a sacrifice, especially if it's a "big fish" that we didn't want in the first place.
But Jonah sees God here in the fish. Being in the fish reminds Jonah that God is in control.
So Jonah is thankful. I wonder if I could be thankful, in a dark, smelly, rank, fishy place.
Maybe we aren't thankful enough when God puts us in "a big fish".

That which I have vowed, I will pay. -- If you make a promise to God, you better keep it.
Even if that promise is simply to bring the sacrifice of praise and thankfulness.
It seems that God sees the change in Jonah's heart here. Thank God for those times we have
a change of heart. :)

Then the Lord "commanded the fish". How awesome is God, that even the animals understand Him and obey Him.
They recognize Him as their creator, even though some people do not. are they smarter than we are?
...and the fish "vomited" up Jonah on dry land.

Several images come to mind here... why didn't the fish just gently burp up Jonah? No it doesn't say that.
It says the fish "vomited" Jonah out. I bet that smelled really good.
Another thought that comes to me here, is that sometimes when we've been living in sin away from God
for a while, the smell of that sin gets all over us.

2 Pet 2:22; is quoting Proverbs here... it says "a dog returns to his own vomit". Sometimes we do the same thing.
We go back to the life and sin we were living before we got saved. The smell of that vomit stays with us for a while,
even after we get "out of the fish". Thank God for the cleansing blood of Jesus. I'm thinking Jonah was ready
for a bath about now.

I wonder... the fish vomited him out on dry land. How deep was the water there? How far was the fish from the shore? Did the fish shoot him out like a human canon ball at the circus?

... to be continued ...
Out of the belly of hell has my Lord delivered me and puked me out on dry land, but living water is within the believer and God sends His messangers in among dry, stagnated waters that wasn't fit to drink, for it is full of parasites and infection; if any have ears to hear, let Him hear what the Spirit is speaking.
You know, when I first read Jonah. I thought the message of this book was that Jonah went to Nineveh to get the Ninevites to repent and come to God.
And yes, it is about that, but I think if we get beneath the surface a little bit, we can see something more.

Why didn't Jonah want to go to Nineveh? Was the weather too hot? Was he afraid? Maybe he didn't like the cooking there? More about that in a moment.

Jonah 3:1; Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying,
Jonah 3:2; "Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and proclaim to it the proclamation which I am going to tell you."
Jonah 3:3; So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days' walk.

The (word of the) Lord came to Jonah a second time. Wow, sometimes God gives us second chances. (and third, and fourth, and... )
Thank God for second chances. I know sometimes, I've had to go around the bush a few times before I finally figured out what God was trying
to do in my life. I didn't always get it right on the first try. I am very thankful for second chances.

So Jonah finally goes to Nineveh. Nineveh was a great city in those days, as I mentioned earlier it was a Gentile city in modern day Iraq, it was a three day journey from
where the fish "vomited" him up on the shore. He goes there to give them a message from God. I find it amazing that there is actually very little about what the
actual message really was. In fact it's really only mentioned vaguely in one sentence.

Jonah 3:4; Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown."

Jonah walks through the city proclaiming you got 40 days!! Then you're going to get what's coming to you.
I think sometimes we would all like to be Jonah. We would like to go into those places where people have rejected God and tell them... "You got 40 days
buddy, then God's gonna give you what you got coming!"

I actually think Jonah enjoyed proclaiming this message. I asked earlier why didn't Jonah want to go to Nineveh. I have come to the conclusion, it's because
he didn't want the Ninevites to be saved. He was kind of hoping God would rain fire and brimstone down on those 'unholy heathens'. So the chance to tell them
God was going to wipe them out in 40 days was probably rather appealing to him.

But something unexpected happens... the Ninevites repent.

Jonah 3:5; Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.
Jonah 3:6; When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes.
Jonah 3:7; He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water.
Jonah 3:8; "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands.

The people believed God. Just like that. All it took was one man obeying God to save an entire city.
They called a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest, to the least of them. All of them, no matter what their economic or social status was...
the repented, and fasted, and put on sackcloth. I wonder if that could happen in this country? Or any country wherever you might live for that matter.

When the word reached the king, he took off his robe and put on sackcloth and ashes. Wow, can you imagine the president of this country doing that?
And the king issued a proclamation. He made a new law for his people.

Just imagine for a second here.... The president of the US. Issuing a proclamation like this. News flash in bold red letters on television, and on the internet...
It's now a law... everyone must fast. Everyone must wear sackcloth. Everyone must call on God and repent, and turn from their wicked ways, and violence.
Do you believe God could do this today? Maybe there is a Jonah refusing to go to "Nineveh" right now. Maybe it's you. Do you have a Nineveh?
Do you have a mission, a purpose, something God wants you to do to advance His kingdom? Oh maybe it's a not a foreign city, your Nineveh can be anything,
ministry in a church, witnessing to a neighbor, praying for someone. But are you doing the thing God is calling you to do? How much difference would it make
if you did it?

Jonah 3:9; "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish."
Jonah 3:10; When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

Who knows what God might do? Who knows what he would do if some of the Jonah's in the world would just obey Him.
But when God saw what the Ninevites did, and that they had turned from there wicked ways....

God relented. God witheld the judgment he was going to put on that city. I believe God would rather have people turn back to Him than to
send fire and brimstone down on them. The Bible says it's God will that none should perish and all would come to the knowledge of the truth.

Because of Jonah, an entire city was saved... but as we will see... this didn't make Jonah happy, in fact it made him unhappy.

.. to be continued ...
I guess, I feel like we have a few Jonah's in this country.
It seems like with the elections coming up, we have one party which is seemingly a little more godly than the other party.
So of course we want to the "more" godly party to win. But sometimes we just wish God would give those other people 40 days ( or less ), and then he would just wipe them out.

Maybe instead of wishing God's vengeance on them, we should be praying for them. If God can change Nineveh, I'm thinking he can change the leaders in this country.

.. to be continued ..
Greetings in the Lord,
The Lord continues to minister to me about Jonah; BIBLE study on Jonah is good with the group God has given me and I have been a Jonah and because I ran this life's affairs has tried to swallow me up alive.

Brother, Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days journey. It took three days to walk from one side to the other; not 3 days journey to get there. Jonah entered the city a days journey and began to preach repentance.

Jonah knew God is a (ch.4:2) gracious, meriful, slow to anger, and of great kindness. Jonah was commissioned of God to fulfill the task; Jonah knew if the people believed the message God sent him with and repented, no destruction would come to them and some I am sure scoffed and pointed fingers, laughing at him and such. Now Jonah feels betrayed perhaps. I look like a complete fool and it is better for me to die then to live. God loved Jonah so much. He cuddled Jonah in his arms afterwards, sent him shade to cover his head, but Jonah still mad at God and would not repent of his mad, so God sent a worm to destroy what He provided for Him. God still asking Jonah "doest thou well to be angry?

I have been asked what happened to Jonah? We do not know but I believe God never left Jonah nor forsook him.

Does it do us well to get angry with God? No, least we suffer loss of God's blessing. I have suffer great loss because I let go of God's hand. Yes, thank God for second chances.

Just like you, sometimes it takes me a minute to get my head wrapped around what God wants me to to. Especially if He is sending me into a certain church; I get really nervous, for like Jonah, I know God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger; I also have seen the other side when people do not receive the messenger God sends in.

God saw their works and repented of the evil he said he would do unto them; and did it not.

All praise glory and honor be unto God Amen
Proud, high minded, rich people...well it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, then a rich man enter heaven. He has all he needs; who needs God? I can do for myself (attitude). My pockets are lined with gold and I have enough in my storehouse to supply me many many years should famine come. Their god is in their belly. But one has all this worldly wealth and God claims their life tonight; will God look over their greed and love of money, while his fatness grows fatter, and the workers cry out to God and suffer to verily pay a bill? I think not. God will honor the broken hearted who cry out to Him.

I have made an oath with God too; He asked and I said "Yes, I will. You did it for me". No greater love hath a man, than he that will lay down his life for a friend. Jesus is my best friend.

I have also drag my heels, tried to run away and have suffered great loss; however, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Amen. God's will be done; I do not know when I will fall but praise God, He will raise me up (just like Stephen). Amen. I BELEIVE. No I am not Him, He comes after me. I am sent forth to usher in His return. Amen. I can not deny Him to save myself, but to die for His name sake, I shall live. Amen and Amen.

Does the world listen? Has man truly repented and believed the messenger God sends forth? I believe some have been awakened; He is turning His church. Amen

If they have done it to Him; they will do it to you, says the Lord.
The churches should be making disciples, but they got lax and love waxed cold. Is our soon to be president heeding the word of the messenger? REPENT, and turn from our wickedness and even the whole nation will be saved. In Jesus name REPENT! Or suffer the vengeance and wrath to come upon all the world.

Are we ready? Do we know Him yet?

Thank you Lord for your grace and mercy. Jesus asked His disciples, how long must I suffer you; oh ye of little faith. He has suffered long for me, but God wins; I am rising up with Him, in Him, by Him, for Him. Amen

All praise glory and honor be unto God Amen
Back in Chapter 3, we saw...

Jonah 3:10; When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.

So God spares this entire city, they are saved because Jonah went and preached to them. You think Jonah would
be very happy about this, but let us see....

Jonah 4:1; But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.
Jonah 4:2; 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.
Jonah 4:3; Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for death is better to me than life.”

We find out the real reason Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh in the first place.
See God, I just knew it!! See God, I told you so!! Isn't this what I told you would happen!!
I knew you were gracious and compassionate!! And sure enough, those people repented and now you have
spared them!! I can't believe it!! God what were you thinking!! Those dirty heathens deserve worse than
Sodom and Gomorrah, you should have struck them down to ashes. Now look what's happened!!

It's funny, many times we think we know better than God does. We know what people really need. God doesn't.
Com'on God, get a clue! This isn't the right thing to do. I wonder how many we have said something similar?
God, I can't believe this is really what you want to do. It's not what I would have done. The question becomes,
do we know what is good? Do we know good as good as God does? Sometimes, what we think is "good" isn't
really very good at all. This causes a conflict between us and God. We think we know better than He does.
So what does Jonah do here?

Jonah 4:4; The Lord said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?”
Jonah 4:5; 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.

Jonah goes out of the city, and builds himself a small shelter. He sits there and watches... watches to see what is going to
happen to the city. Maybe with a little luck, God will come to His senses and destroy those heathens!!

We laugh, but isn't this what we do sometimes? When someone is doing something we don't think is right, we sit
back and watch to see what God is going to do to them. We even hope it will happen. That's showing real love.
Jonah is so mad, he tells God... just go ahead and take my life. It's better for me to die than for all those filthy
people to be saved.

And God asks him... "Do you have any reason to be angry?", but Jonah doesn't answer this question, at least not yet.

Jonah 4:6; 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.
Jonah 4:7; But God appointed a worm when dawn came the next day and it attacked the plant and it withered.
Jonah 4:8; 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.”

Go God causes a large plant to grow up over Jonah's head to give him shade and relief from the heat. It says
Jonah was "extremely happy" about the plant. Jonah is angry the Ninevites got saved, but he is happy he has shade.
Sometimes our priorities get a little skewed up. As long as God is making us happy, that's all that really matters.

But the next day God creates a worm in the plant, and the worm gnaws on the plant until it withers and dies.
To make things worse, God causes a "scorching" east wind, and causes the sun to beat down on Jonah's head.

You know sometimes we're so intent on watching what happens to others, to make sure that God is going to give them
what "they deserve". That we are willing to stand out in the snow, or rain, or scorching heat... just to make sure it happens.
Jonah comes back to the place, it's better for me to die than to go through this. God just take my life and get it over with.
But God is teaching Jonah a lesson here.

Jonah 4:9; 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.”
Jonah 4:10; 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.

Again, God asks Jonah... "do you have any right to be angry?" and Jonah says "yes, I do!!" I am angry even unto death!!
Wow. Have you ever been so mad at God that you were willing to die because of what He did? Even if you were
wrong and He was right (which is 100% of the time)
Then God says, you didn't do anything to make the plant which shaded you. You didn't cause it to grow,
You didn't put any work or effort into it, I did. But yet you had compassion for it. it's just a plant.

Jonah 4:11; 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?”

God is asking Jonah if he should care more for a plant which he didn't create, than God should care for a city
with 120,000 people in it, that He did create. (God created all of us). Even people who don't know right from wrong?

We are left with an open question, left unanswered, for the book ends here. But the question is still valid.
Do we know better than God? Do we know what's "good" for a situation better than God does?
Does what He thinks is good make us angry?

If that happens, maybe we should take a good look at ourselves, and ask ourselves... "why?".

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