JONAH Lesson 04
verses for this week: Mat
18:20 For where two or
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of
In last weeks lesson on Chapter 3, Jonah was given the
commission a second time to go and preach the message to Nineveh.
This time he did arise and did what God had commanded.
And the great thing was that the people, even to the King,
heard the message and repented of their sins and came back to the
Lord. Oh that all who
hear the gospel message might do the same and be saved.
Chapter 4 is the record of God dealing with one individual in
a very personal way.
A Displeased Servant of God
4:1 But it displeased
Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
4:2 And he prayed unto
the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying,
when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish:
for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to
anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Is this not a bit unbelievable? Here a man of God comes and preaches his message, the
whole city hears, repents, and comes back to God, and what does
Jonah do? You’d
think he would rejoice that thousands of lives had been spared when
God holds back the judgment.
But no, verse 1 says it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he
was very angry. He
had no right to be angry. It
was like he came and preached judgment, and by the powers above,
there should be judgment. God
help us when we get such an attitude that we want sinners to fall
into the hands of an angry God.
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil
way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do
unto them; and he did it not.
Because they repented, God forgave them and did not destroy
them. This is what
upset Jonah so much. There
are many times in the work of God that things do not go as we think
they should and we become displeased.
But no matter what God chooses, we have no right to question
Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall
the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me
Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to
make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?
declare, if thou hast understanding.
Verse 2 makes it clear that Jonah knew God would spare the
city of Nineveh if they repented.
He had told God this while he was still in his own country,
and this was part of the reason he refused to go to Nineveh
Jonah saw many of the attributes of God.
1. God is
2. God is
3. God is slow
4. God is of
5. God is one
that stands by His Word, and if these in Nineveh repented, then God
would not bring judgment on the people.
W. A. Criswell in the Bible Believers Study Bible said this
about verse 2 which affirms our list of five things above.
This verse records Jonah’s second confession of faith (cf. 1:9).
Here Jonah affirms five truths that accurately reflect the nature of
Yahweh: (1) God is
gracious—He longs for and favors all people who respond to Him;
(2) God is merciful—He is tender in His affection; (3) God is slow
to anger—He does not delight in punishment; (4) God is abundant in
lovingkindness (hesed, Heb.)—He is faithful in His covenant relationship; and (5)
God is One who relents in sending calamity—He is gracious and
merciful, responding in forgiveness and the staying of judgment for
those who repent (cf. Ex. 34:6 
Jonah Requests that His Life be Taken Away
4:3 Therefore now, O
LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me
to die than to live.
4:4 Then said the LORD,
Doest thou well to be angry?
Jonah comes to a conclusion on his own without a lot of
thought or prayer, and says ‘it is better for me to die than to
live.’ Part of
the problem we have with society as a whole (and even some
Christians) is that they want to be the god of their own life, not
recognizing that the all knowing God has a plan laid out that is
better than anything you or I could ever put together for ourselves.
Now we have a record where Paul spoke of it being better to
depart and be with the Lord than to be on earth, but his reasoning
was totally different. Paul
had a longing to be in the presence of the Lord and to fellowship
with Him. And yet he
also acknowledged that he needed to stay for the church’s sake
until the Lord chose to take him home.
Jonah’s desire was to die because God did not destroy
Nineveh, a very wrong attitude to have.
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour:
yet what I shall choose I wot not.
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart,
and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
Notice the question in verse 4… “Doest thou well to be
he did not do well… he had no reason to be angry.
When we preach that God will bring judgment upon those who
are disobedient and they repent and God spares them, we should
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of
them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go
after that which is lost, until he find it?
And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders,
And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and
neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my
sheep which was lost.
I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one
sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons,
which need no repentance.
Jonah Waits to See What God Would Do
4:5 So Jonah went out
of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made
him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what
would become of the city.
You know if we do God’s will in our lives, it is good to
wait and see what God will do.
But that is when we have the right heart and attitude towards
God and our fellowman. We
should love our fellow Christian brothers and sisters with a fervent
love, and care deeply for the lost ones we come in contact with.
We should not love their sins or their sinful condition, but
we should love their souls the way that Jesus loved those in whom He
came in contact with during His personal ministry.
Most preachers bring a message and rejoice when people step
out by faith and repent and get their lives right with God.
Jonah appears to be sitting there waiting for something to
happen to the city. When
he built the booth, I don’t think he knew what was going to
happen, but it is pretty sure he was expecting God’s wrath to be
The Prepared Gourd
4:6 And the LORD God
prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might
be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah
was exceeding glad of the gourd.
God can use all things to accomplish His will.
In this case, he prepared a gourd to come up over Jonah and
shadow his head. Perhaps
it was very hot, and the shade made a big difference in his
certain, he rejoiced in this special provision from the Lord and it
delivered him from his grief.
Aren’t we all like this at points in our life?
The little comforts of life bring us so much happiness.
But in contrast, the serious things, the great issues of life
such as dealing with peoples lost condition and doing the work of
the Lord, they seem almost insignificant.
So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts
The Prepared Worm and Wind
4:7 But God prepared a
worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that
4:8 And it came to
pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east
wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and
wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than
Jonah’s personal comfort was soon taken away when a worm
comes and destroys the vine and causes the gourd to wither.
Little comforts are great, but they may not last.
God can take everything from us in a blink of an eye.
God used this worm to teach Jonah a lesson.
Then the Lord used the east wind and the hot sun to make
Jonah’s life miserable. Remember
how that Job’s children were destroyed in his testing when a
strong wind came and blew down the dwelling where they were eating.
Jonah again says that it would be better for him to die than
to live. Funny how
adversity will destroy us if we don’t keep an eye on the Lord and
look to Him for provision. Those
of you who grew up in the country know how the hot sun can just
about melt you in the summertime.
It takes the grace of the Lord to keep on in those long hot
days. But when we
grow weary and think about going on to be with the Lord, we need to
think about those who still are lost and in an undone condition. That will give us reason to go on and to preach the
gospel. We need
to ask God for a vision to reach the lost, and the strength to
follow through and be about the Master’s business.
24:10 If thou faint in
the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
The Question God Asks Jonah
4:9 And God said to
Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do
well to be angry, even unto death.
4:10 Then said the
LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not
laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and
perished in a night:
4:11 And should not I
spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore
thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and
their left hand; and also much cattle?
Jonah was angry due to the gourd being destroyed.
If Jonah had pity on the gourd which he had nothing to do in
preparing, God was showing him that he has the right to spare the
creatures that are His. There
were 120,000 children in the city of Nineveh who were not old enough
to know their left hand from their right.
Many innocent would have died in the destruction of the city.
Many suffer due to the sins of wicked people, many who are
innocent and have done no wrong. Look at all those people and the lives that were
changed forever in the destruction of the World Trade Center last
September. A few
wicked men caused heartache to a whole nation, and killed thousands.
Sometimes the innocent suffer due to the sins of the parents.
We need to learn from this study that it is important to hear
God’s message, and to repent and get our hearts right.
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.