Brent Karding
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Arcing Class on Jonah
Jonah 4:1-11
God is right to show mercy on whomever he chooses.
Published January 25th, 2019; Updated January 25th, 2019
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Main point summary
Jonah 4 (Jan. 25/19)
Main point summary
Jonah was angry at God's mercy on Nineveh, so God used a personal object lesson to show him the rightness of his mercy.
Jonah 4 (Jan. 25/19)
Jonah 4:1-11
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, 1
and y he was angry.
And he prayed to the Lord and said,
“O Lord , is not this what I said
when I was yet in my country?
z That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish;
for I knew that you are a a gracious God
and merciful,
slow to anger
and abounding in steadfast love,
and a relenting from disaster.
b Therefore now, O Lord , please take my life from me,
c for it is better for me to die
than to live.”
And the Lord said,
d “Do you do well to be angry?”
Jonah went out of the city
and sat to the east of the city
and e made a booth for himself there.
He sat under it in the shade,
till he should see what would become of the city.
Now the Lord God appointed a plant 1
and made it come up over Jonah,
that it might be a shade over his head,
to save him from his discomfort. 2
So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant.
But when dawn came up the next day,
God appointed a worm that attacked the plant,
so that it withered.
When the sun rose,
God appointed a scorching f east wind,
g and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah
so that he h was faint.
And he asked that he might die and said,
c “It is better for me to die
than to live.”
But God said to Jonah,
i “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?”
And he said,
“Yes, I do well to be angry,
angry enough to die.”
And the Lord said,
“You pity the plant,
for which you did not labor,
nor did you make it grow,
which came into being in a night
and perished in a night.
And should not I pity j Nineveh, that great city,
in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left,
and also much k cattle?”
Jonah was angry because God was so merciful to Nineveh, so he asked God to kill him.
Jonah wouldn't answer God's question about the rightness of his anger, but sat down to watch if Nineveh would be destroyed or not.
God made a plant to give shade to Jonah, but then destroyed it to give pain to Jonah; Jonah was glad, but then wished to die.
If Jonah did right to pity the short-lived plant which he didn't make, didn't God do right to pity a huge city filled with children and animals?
Notice the chain of God's actions and Jonah's responses, including the surprising breaking of the pattern at the end of chapter 4: 1) God forgives the Ninevites when they repent ( 3:10 ), so Jonah is angry ( 4:1-3 ). 2) God questions Jonah's anger, and he responds with silence and watching ( 4:4-5 ). 3) God gives Jonah comfort, and he is glad ( 4:6 ). 4) God causes Jonah pain, and he is anguished ( 4:7-8 ). 5) God questions Jonah's anger again, and Jonah responds with defiance ( 4:9 ). 6) God confronts Jonah about his own pity, and the book ends before Jonah responds ! ( 4:10-11 )
God responds to Jonah's anger at his mercy by asking him if his anger was right; Jonah doesn't respond.
God taught Jonah an object lesson so that he would see the rightness of God's mercy on Nineveh.
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.