Overview of Jonah: Mercy Triumphs Over Judgment

thebookofThe Book of Jonah calls us to examine the motivation of our hearts in serving God. Are we truly sold out to God’s sovereign will or trying to push our own agenda? Does our heart mirror the compassionate heart of God – overflowing with mercy and grace; or do we evidence a judgmental spirit? Do we love the world without prejudice and without reservation or do we withhold our love from certain groups? Jonah struggled with the tension between fulfilling his calling as God’s prophet and remaining loyal to his nationalistic pride and natural sense of fair judgment. He appreciated God’s deliverance in giving him a second chance to carry out his mission, but wanted to dictate the results rather than rejoice in God’s sovereign disposition of mercy.

THE SOVEREIGN DISPOSITION OF GOD’S MERCY AND GRACE EXPOSES THE PRIDE AND JEALOUSY OF JUDGMENTAL BELIEVERS

I knew that Thou art a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity.” — Jonah 4:2

I. (Chap. 1) JONAH’S FLIGHT — RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD – WHERE CAN I HIDE FROM HIS PRESENCE?

RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD NEVER WORKS — IT ONLY EXPOSES A HEART THAT IS OPPOSED TO GOD’S SOVEREIGN AGENDA

A. (:1-3) A JUDGMENTAL SPIRIT AVOIDS MISSIONS OF COMPASSION AND MERCY

  1. (:1-2) Jonah’s Calling – The Compassion of God for a Lost World Cannot be Reconciled with a Judgmental Spirit (4:1-3 provide the commentary here)
    1. The Prophet of God Should Always Welcome the Word of God
    2. Jonah’s Commission Was Clear But Distasteful
  2. (:3) Jonah’s Rebellion – Substituting His Judgmental Agenda for the Lord’s Mission of Mercy

B. (:4-9) OPEN REBELLION FLIES IN THE FACE OF OUR PROFESSED FEAR OF GOD

  1. (:4) Terrifying Situation – The Perfect Storm
  2. (:5a) Appropriate Fear Motivates Pagans to Take Desperate Measures
    1. Reality of Their Fear
    2. Renewal of Their Religious Commitments
    3. Resourcefulness of Their Desperate Tactics
  3. (:5b-6) Denial of Rebellion Associated with Exhaustion and Prayerlessness
  4. (:7-8) Exposure of Jonah as the Cause of the Calamity
    1. (:7) The Inquiry – Who is to Blame?
    2. (:8) The Inquisition – Who are You really and What did you do?
  5. (:9) Empty Profession of Faith – not practicing the fear of the Lord

C. (:10-16) PACIFYING THE LORD REQUIRES THE PAYING OF THE APPROPRIATE PRICE

  1. (:10-12) Figuring Out the Price that Needs to be Paid – Only One Price Will Satisfy
    1. (:10) Indignation at Jonah’s Foolishness to Put Them All in Jeopardy
    2. (:11) Pursuit of Justice
    3. (:12) Only One Solution
  2. (:13-14) Last Ditch Effort at Mercy
    1. (:13) Self Effort can seem Magnanimous, but actually is Counter-Productive
    2. (:14) Plea for Absolution / Accepting the Inevitable
  3. (:15) Paying the Price Demanded
  4. (:16) Genuine Conversion Results in Genuine Fear of the Lord and Obedient Commitment

(:17) CONCLUSION: SOLITARY CONFINEMENT FOR THE REBELLIOUS RUNAWAY

  1. Divine Appointment
  2. Death and Resurrection Experience

II. (Chap. 2) JONAH’S FERVENCY — CRYING OUT TO GOD IN DESPERATE PRAYER – CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

THE GOD OF THE SECOND CHANCE HEARS OUR DESPERATE CRIES DESPITE THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS (GOD’S DELIVERANCE IS NOT CONSTRAINED BY THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS)

A. (:1-2) ANSWERED PRAYER REACHES DOWN TO THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS

  1. Prayer as the Lifeline Connection to our Personal God
  2. Prayer in the Nick of Time — Even as the Last Resort
  3. Prayer from the Depths of Distress (Impossible Complications)
  4. Prayer that Receives Merciful Response – (The Mercy of Answered Prayer)

B. (:3-4) HOPE COMES FROM UNDERSTANDING THE HAND OF THE LORD IN ADMINISTERING DISCIPLINE

  1. Sovereign Discipline
  2. Severe Discipline
  3. Surpassing Discipline
  4. Sufficient Discipline

C. (:5-6) THE AWESOMENESS OF THE DELIVERANCE CORRESPONDS TO THE MESSINESS AND HOPELESSNESS OF THE PIT

  1. The Messiness and Hopelessness of the Pit — 5 Images
  2. The Awesomeness of the Deliverance

D. (:7-9) REPENTANCE SPARKS RENEWED COMMITMENT AND THANKSGIVING

  1. Turning Back to the Lord with his Last Gasp
  2. Specific Repentance to Return to Faithfulness
  3. Renewed Commitment
    1. Worship from a Heart of Thanksgiving
    2. Service in the context of Faithfulness
    3. Dependence Upon God’s Grace and Mercy

E. (:10) SOVEREIGN DELIVERANCE BRINGS US TO THE PLACE OF SAFETY AND RENEWED SERVICE

  1. The Sovereign Lord Accomplishes His Purposes
  2. The Process of Restoration Can be Painful and Messy
  3. The Place of Safety Brings Opportunity for Renewed Service

III. (Chap. 3) JONAH’S FAITHFULNESS — PREACHING GOD’S PROPHETIC MESSAGE – WILL YOU REPENT IN TIME?

THE PREACHING OF GOD’S PROPHETIC MESSAGE OF IMMINENT JUDGMENT CAN CHANGE MEN’S HEARTS AND TURN AWAY THE IMPENDING WRATH OF GOD<

A. (:1-3) THE MESSENGER – CALLED TO DELIVER THE GOODS — SAME CALLING . . . DIFFERENT RESPONSE

  1. (:1) God Calls His Prophet a Second Time – Service is a Privilege
  2. (:2) God Commands Faithfulness in Proclaiming His Message
  3. (:3) God Casts a Big Vision of Great Challenge and Great Compassion

B. (:4) THE MISSION — PROCLAIMING MESSAGE OF IMPENDING DESTRUCTION

  1. Tackling the Scope of the Mission – Hardest part is actually beginning
  2. Conveying the Urgency of the Mission
  3. Proclaiming the Message of the Mission – Unpopular and Dangerous

C. (:5-9) THE MOVEMENT – HUMBLING THEMSELVES AND PETITIONING GOD FOR HIS MERCY

  1. (:5) Response of the People
    1. Faith – The essential starting point
    2. Humbling themselves before God
  2. (:6-8) Response of the King
    1. (:6) Personal Response – Same as that of the people
    2. (:7-8) Public Response – Issuing Mandate
  3. (:9) Fear of God coupled with Hope in His Mercy

D. (:10) THE MERCY – RESPONDING BY AVERTING EXECUTION OF WRATH

  1. Awareness of Fruits of Repentance
  2. Averting Execution of Wrath

IV. (Chap. 4) JONAH’S FAILURE – BEGRUDGING GOD’S MERCY AND COMPASSION TOWARDS THE UNDESERVING – WHO ARE YOU TO COMPLAIN AGAINST GOD’S SOVEREIGN DISPOSITION OF MERCY AND GRACE?

THOSE WHO BENEFIT FROM GOD’S COMPASSION HAVE NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN AGAINST THE SOVEREIGN EXTENSION OF MERCY TO OTHERS (NO MATTER HOW UNDESERVING)

A. (:1-3) ANGER AGAINST GOD IS ESSENTIALLY COMPLAINING AGAINST SOME ASPECT OF GOD’S CHARACTER

  1. (:1) Venting Displeasure — Reformed Actions — But Same Judgmental Attitude
  2. (:2) Justifying Rebellion — Preferring Personal Agenda
  3. (:3) Throwing in the Towel – Self Pity Party

B. (:4-8) SHADE PLANT OBJECT LESSON DEMONSTRATED: DO YOU HAVE GOOD REASON TO BE ANGRY?

  1. (:4) Fundamental Question
  2. (:5) Safe Vantage Place
  3. (:6) Shade Plant Provided – Liking the Circumstances
  4. (:7-8) Shade Plant Removed – Hating the Circumstances

C. (:9-11) SHADE PLANT OBJECT LESSON EXPLAINED: DO YOU HAVE GOOD REASON TO BE ANGRY?

  1. (:9) Fundamental Question / Defensive Answer
  2. (:10) Object Lesson of Shade Tree Reviewed
  3. (:11) Application to Lord’s Compassion on Nineveh