The Selfish Servant
– Last week we completed message #4 in our series, “Go Fish!” which was entitled The Reluctant Revivalist. Here is a quick review of the principles from the passage:
(1) God wants you to fulfill His mission (1-2)
(2) Obey God’s commands (3)
(3) Declare God’s message (4)
(4) Sometimes people turn from their sin (5)
(5) Mourning over sin is not a bad thing to do (6)
(6) When God warns of judgment, you had better take it seriously (7-8a)
(7) Ask God to change people’s hearts so that they will not be judged (8b)
(8) If people turn from their sin, God might be merciful and not judge them (9)
(9) Turning from sin is not evidenced in words spoken by themselves, but accompanied by changed actions (10)
– This morning we are on to message #5 in the series, “Go Fish!” which is entitled The Selfish Servant. This is the final message in the series “Go Fish!” We have learned a great deal about God calling His people to do things for Him and the decision that His people have to make. Do they obey or do they disobey?
– In our passage today, we are going to learn a little bit more about people. People like to get their own way, even if it is not right for them to have their own way. People like to get their own way so much that when they don’t get their own way, they are not happy. Have you ever seen someone use manipulation to get what he/she wants? Do you ever do that to God? Jonah tried it. Let’s see how it worked out.
I) God the King, not Burger King (1-4)
– God doesn’t do things our way (1)
* It greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry
~ Jonah was angry that God would have compassion on an enemy of Israel. He wanted God’s goodness to be shown only to Israelites, not Gentiles.
~ God’s greatest concern is not our happiness
– It is ok for God to be gracious to us, but not to people we don’t like! (2)
* in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish
~ Jonah knew this would happen, because God is:
> gracious and compassionate
> slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness
> one who relents concerning calamity
~ Jonah is not happy with who God is at the moment
– If I can’t have my own way, I quit! (3)
* death is better than life!
~ to Jonah, God’s mercy to the Ninevites meant an end to Israel’s favored/special standing with Him. Shortly before this Jonah rejoiced in his deliverance from death, but now that Nineveh lives, Jonah prefers to die
– God’s way or mine? (4)
* do you have good reason to be angry?
~ this is in essence a rhetorical question because the answer is so obvious. Jonah has no right to be angry because God has done nothing wrong
II) Maybe God will change His mind…again! (5-8)
– If I hope hard enough, God will do what I want (5)
* made a shelter for himself…until he could see what would happen in the city
~ apparently this shelter didn’t provide enough shade since the next verse tells us that God provided him more shade.
~ Jonah waited because he still hoped that Nineveh would be destroyed
– God is good to us even in-spite of ourselves at times (6)
* God appointed a plant…to be a shade over his head to deliver him from his discomfort
~ plant – probably a castor oil plant, a shrub growing over 12 ft high with large, shady leaves
~ God graciously increased the comfort of His stubbornly defiant prophet
– God gets our attention sometimes through unpleasant circumstances (7-8)
* God appointed a worm…it attacked the plant and it withered (7)
~ situation #1
* God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head (8)
~ situation #2 & #3
> Jonah begs God to take his life – he wants to die again
> Jonah knows that God is behind these things
III) A God-sized perspective (9-11)
– God’s way or mine? (9)
* do you have good reason to be angry about the plant?
~ Jonah tells God that he is justified, he is right to be angry
~ Jonah says that he is so angry, to prove his point, he wants to die
– Do you care more about God’s mission or yourself? (10-11)
* you had compassion on the plant for which you didn’t work…cause to grow…came up overnight and perished overnight
~ God is breaking down Jonah’s view by asking these questions. Jonah cared more about a soul-less plant which meant nothing to him, more than he cared about a group of people made in the image of God, whom He created
> the point that God is making is…He cares about the Ninevites
~ came up overnight…perished overnight – indicative of fleeting value
* Should I not have compassion on Nineveh
~ Go had the first word and the last. The mission He gave Jonah displayed His mercy and compassion to the Ninevites, and His last word to Jonah emphatically demonstrates His concern for every creature, both man and animal. Not only does the “Lord…preserve man and beast (Ps 36:6; see Neh 9:6; Ps 145:16), but He takes “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but (desires) rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezek 33:11; see Ezek 18:21-23). Jonah and his countrymen traditionally rejoiced in God’s special mercies to Israel but wished only His wrath on their enemies. God here rebukes such hardness and He gives grace.
* more than 120,000 persons who don’t know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals
~ like small children who don’t know any different, the Ninevites need God’s fatherly compassion
~ God’s concern even extended to domestic animals – God is not cruel, and also, He made them, so obviously He cares what happens to them
– Here is a quick review of the principles we have seen this morning:
(1) God doesn’t do things our way (1)
(2) It is ok for God to be gracious to us, but not to people we don’t like! (2)
(3) If I can’t have my own way, I quit! (3)
(4) God’s way or mine? (4)
(5) If I hope hard enough, God will do what I want (5)
(6) God is good to us even in-spite of ourselves at times (6)
(7) God gets our attention sometimes through unpleasant circumstances (7-8)
(8) God’s way or mine? (9)
(9) Do you care more about God’s mission or yourself? (10-11)
– In this series we have been reminded about the importance of obeying God by taking His message to the people in this world. Jonah as God’s prophet was called to warn the Ninevites of the coming judgment and how to avoid it. Today as Christ followers we are called as God’s ambassadors to warn people of the coming judgment and how to avoid it.
– What are you doing to warn people of the coming judgment and how to avoid it through receiving forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection?