Jonah's self-pity so warped his moral sense that he had more compassion for a plant than for a city full of people. Our zeal for the truth, justice, and service of God must always be undergirded by love for and submission to the person of God Himself.
Scripture: Jonah 4:1-11
- While many have longed to see such a revival, Jonah was displeased when Nineveh repented at his preaching.
- In this passage we see God’s gracious character in salvation and our human tendency toward mercilessness and self-pity.
- Jonah thought God’s actions were wrong. He wanted wicked Nineveh to be destroyed.
- But God has a sovereign right to administer His justice and mercy to people and nations as He wills.
- God’s purpose is for the transformation of cities and nations by the Gospel (Exodus 34:6-7).
- Despite his watery ordeal, Jonah has not yet reconciled himself to the will of God.
- Zeal for God’s truth and work is not the same as love for God and submission to His purposes.
- We need to be changed, to conform to God’s purposes.
- God can and will use someone else if we do not change.
- Jeremiah similarly felt self-pity (Jer. 20:14-18).
- How we react under pressure (i.e., when we are exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally) indicates our true spiritual condition.
- Jonah was angry at the death of the plant graciously provided by God.
- God argues from the lesser to the greater: if Jonah is sorry about the loss of a plant, how much more should he be concerned about a whole city of people.
- We ought not to be angry when God displays either His judgment or His mercy, because God has the right to do as He pleases with all people, cities and nations.
- Jonah ends with mercy and Nahum ends with judgment.
- God is consistent in His character; He is gracious and compassionate, to the point of sending His own Son to the cross for sinners like us.
- God uses Jonah’s self-pity to teach Jonah a lesson about his own heart.
- Jonah’s self-pity so warped his moral sense that he had more compassion for a plant than for a city full of people.
- God’s servants often face attacks from the Devil, and none of us are free from the temptation to self-pity.
- Elijah and Jeremiah were depressed with just cause; but Jonah was angry about the success of the Gospel.
- Many of the problems in our lives may be based on self-pity. Self-pity is the root of flagrant public promotion of sin.
- It is God’s prerogative to have compassion on whom He will (Romans 9).
- Despite his failure, Jonah repented and wrote his story.
- We must daily die to ourselves, abandoning the world of self-pity in our desire to do the will of God.
- Self is the last enemy to die in the believer.
- What was Jonah’s attitude toward Nineveh? Toward God?
- What is God’s purpose for even wicked godless nations?
- Why was Jonah upset by God’s mercy toward Nineveh?
- Is our zeal for God’s truth, ministry, service and work undergirded by love for and submission to the person of God Himself?
- What would our attitude be if God granted repentance to wicked persecutors of His people today?
- In our self-centeredness are we more concerned about trifles than we are with the kingdom and will of God?