Text: Jonah 4
Summary: Happy Father’s Day! Our Heavenly Father is full of compassion, pity and mercy toward His children.
Happy Father’s Day. I want to recognize the people on the zoom as well. It’s a very special Father’s Day for Daniel. Your first Father’s Day! We are so happy for you. What a great gift from our Heavenly Father. I also want to recognize brother Abraham. He’s my older brother but he’s been like a spiritual father and a mentor for me since 1998. He helped me through many difficult years to know that I wasn’t crazy and that we’re still on the right path. And especially the last few years, he helped point me to Jesus and so I am eternally grateful for him. So we just have some fantastic fathers here. The best fathers that I know. Brother Matthew, brother Dongyoon, just some great fathers and fathers-to-be also in our midst. I just praise our Heavenly Father. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we want to remember you most of all on this Father’s Day. You’ve been so merciful to us. You’ve shown us so much compassion and so much pity. Yes, there’s been some discipline along the way. But for the most part, our experience of you has been one of such mercy, compassion, and steadfast love. So we want to celebrate you. We want to remember you today. I pray that you would teach us your heart toward your children, and toward the remnant of God scattered around this world. What is your heart toward us and what kind of father are you for your children. I pray that you reveal that today in your Word. In Jesus Name, Amen
Please turn with me to Jonah 4:1
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 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. 11 And should not I pity 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 cattle?”
Maybe with the exception of Luke 15, I don’t know if there’s a chapter that better captures the heart of our Father toward His children. And all of us, we’ve had different types of fathers. You might have had fathers that were all about justice and rules, and there was a harshness in your home, and there was a lot of discipline, a lot of anger, a lot of yelling.
You’ve had other types of fathers who were all grace. You could do no wrong. They let you be and there were no limits, no regulations, no curbing on some potential problems, and no warnings and no discipline. That is the other extreme. And there’s a third type of father, which is the absentee father, who was just passive, and just let you be. And they were just too busy chasing after some other agenda that was more important than you.
It is so important to know who our Heavenly Father is, because I think for the most part, we live in the shadow of our earthly father. And especially in cases where the father was absent, there is so much damage done to that child. And they reap the consequences of decades of fatherlessness or maybe the wrong type of fatherly example of harshness and discipline, and we project that to our Heavenly Father. It took me so many years for the Lord to gently shed the wrong image I had toward the Heavenly Father and to establish a true picture of who our Heavenly Father is.
And Jonah 4:2 describes in Jonah’s own words who our Heavenly Father is. That He is gracious, and He is merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster. This is our Heavenly Father. He is gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. Yes, there could be disaster for the unrepentant sinner. But God relents. He shows more pity. He shows more compassion. He shows more grace. He extends the time, the season of grace. He gives us more time to repent. And I pray that today, may the kindness of the Lord lead us to repentance.
Jonah is a very odd prophet. First of all, it’s odd that a prophet is angry at the graciousness and the compassion of the Lord, that led to the entire city repenting, a city that this prophet preached to. Most prophets would be thrilled that the entire city repented, but this prophet is so angry. He’s an odd prophet. We know that he’s disobedient. We know that he’s depressed. We know he’s full of anger and self pity.
And in this case, we see that he is angry at God for showing grace, compassion, pity and steadfast love. These days we hear a lot about Just Mercy. That there is justice or injustice, and we as people of God should be talking about racial issues and trying to bring about in our Mercy Ministries, a caring for the poor and the oppressed and the marginalized, and this is the talk of most churches across the world.
But if you look at Jonah, he is an example of somebody who represents why we cannot get the balance right. For the most part, we tend to go to one extreme or the other. That you will be in the Justice camp. And you will look at the evil upon this world, you might be looking at the evil in America, and you might want swift justice. You might say, God what is going on? Why are you letting such evil people rise to power and deceive the people and oppress the people and lie to us, and steal our money and make us sick? Why are you allowing such injustice? And you could be in the Justice camp. And you want God to be just and you want God to punish evil now. God, you’re too slow to pronounce judgment on America.
You got others who say there is no problem. It’s all grace. You can just keep sinning and God will keep showing you grace. There is no judgment on America because we are God’s promised, chosen people for this generation. There’s no such thing as judgment upon America, it’s all grace. God loves America. God is an American God. That’s the other extreme. We cannot get the balance right.
So people who try to talk about Just Mercy, as if we could get the balance right, they should look to the person of Jonah. There’s an interesting verse in 2 Kings 14:25. This is Jonah, who is prophesying and preaching to Jeroboam II, one of the most evil kings of Israel.
2 Kings 14
25 He restored the border of Israel from Lebo-hamath as far as the Sea of the Arabah, according to the word of the Lord, the God of Israel, which he spoke by his servant Jonah the son of Amittai, the prophet, who was from Gath-hepher.
So God spoke to Jonah, and through Jonah, God gave counsel to this evil king to establish and to restore the original border of Israel and He names it, from Lebo-hamath all the way down to the Sea of Arabah. We have to know that Jonah is speaking and prophesying to one of the most evil kings of Israel.
And there is nothing listed here of Jonah, as a prophet of God, calling this evil king to repentance. Because Jeroboam II is a fellow Israelite. He is a countryman. Jonah is loyal, this is his tribe. And so his spiritual discernment toward this evil king is so skewed. He should have been preaching justice and the judgment of God against Jeroboam II, when instead he told him, expand your territory. And God gave the word to Jonah but Jonah was not seeing the picture correctly. He was not discerning because he was favorable toward the king.
You look at another fellow prophet, Amos, who also lived in that day.
14 “For behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel,” declares the Lord, the God of hosts; “and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the Brook of the Arabah.”
It’s the same border, from Lebo-hamath to the brook of Arabah. And Jeroboam thought this was God’s blessing to expand the territory. What he didn’t know was that God was inciting the anger and the hatred of the nations and they would attack and destroy Israel. Jonah is an example of somebody who just cannot get the balance right of justice and mercy. We either swing to one extreme or the other. And so we look to our Heavenly Father and He gets it right. We look at Jesus Christ and He gets it right.
And I want to say, it’s not 50/50. It’s not 50% justice and 50% mercy. Thankfully, God our Father and Jesus Christ our Savior and our Elder Brother, they lead with mercy. They lead with grace, and it is heavily weighted on that side. And then there’s judgment. Then there is justice, but not before there is ample grace and warning. May the kindness and the compassion, and the pity of the Lord compel us and lead us to repent.
Jonah is all about justice. He looks at evil and he wonders why God doesn’t punish them. He sees the Assyrians, and Nineveh is the capital city of Assyria, he sees the wickedness of these people, and he wonders why God is not wiping them out. If you look at Nahum, because Jonah was written in 760 BC, Nahum was written in 697 BC, some 60 years later. And Nineveh was destroyed by Babylon and 612 BC, 70 years after Jonah wrote it. And so we see that there is justice for the remnant of God, there is compassion, there is grace, there is mercy, and also for the entire city for a season, even though they may have quickly reverted back to their evil way and their evil ways.
There is a 60-70 year period of God showing grace, compassion, and pity and sending prophets, even a wicked and disobedient prophet like Jonah. God sends messengers. In order to even save one more person, that is the heart of God, even if one more person turns and repents and is added to the remnant, God will do it. God will wait another year, God will wait another decade. God will wait several decades for one more person to turn, that is the heart of our Heavenly Father.
I encourage you to read Jonah and Nahum together because both books are talking about the same city. They are first shown grace. And then they are shown justice and judgment. The mercy, compassion, pity of God always precedes. It’s heavily weighted in this area, and God waits longer and longer. God waits until the very end to judge. And I’m so thankful that God our Heavenly Father is like that and he’s not like me. If I was a heavenly father and I saw evil, I only see a fraction of the evil that’s happening in our world. God sees it all. I see just a fraction and I get so upset. And I’m so impatient. Thankfully, I am here as an earthly dad and not up there as a heavenly dad.
Imagine if the Heavenly Dad looked upon me, and we switched places and I was up there and I was looking at myself. I would say, Ray is such a disobedient, hard-headed, prone-to-wandering child of God. He thinks I’m harsh when I’m gracious. He doesn’t see me correctly. I would be so frustrated at Ray. Thankfully, I’m here, God is up there. And we have not reversed the roles. God is so gracious.
3 The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
So like Jonah, Nahum is saying, yes the Lord is slow to anger. But he also sensed that the judgment of God was coming. And so he adds. the Lord will by no means clear the guilty. And sure enough, a short decade or two later, Nineveh is destroyed. We have to see the whole picture. God’s heart toward Nineveh is one of an amazing amount of patience, an amazing amount of pity, and an amazing amount of compassion. He showed this wicked city of so much evil, he showed so much patience, pity, and compassion. You have to see that God showed this also to Jonah.
15 Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace!
We might think that we as ministers of the gospel, or as missionaries sent out to the ends of the world, we may think we have put on the sandals of the gospel of peace and we are the ones bringing peace and establishing peace on the earth. But clearly, when you look at Jonah, we are not the ones who bring peace. Jesus is the one who brings peace, and Jesus is the one who was foreshadowed throughout the Old Testament. And Jesus is full of grace. Yes, there’s truth. But in everything he leads with grace. Jesus is full of grace.
In Jonah 1, God tells this prophet to go to Nineveh to preach against this evil. What does Jonah do? He flees the opposite direction. He’s in his hometown of Gath-hepher and Nineveh is in modern day Iraq, that is 500 miles to the east. But what does Jonah do? He goes the opposite direction. He goes to Tarshish, which is 2500 miles to the west. He is going as far as he can from the presence of the Lord. And while it’s true that the presence of the Lord is everywhere, what we should see is God’s presence was moving toward Nineveh. And God wanted Jonah to be there with him in Nineveh. It’s true God is with all of us wherever you are, but there are times when God is present in a special way in a certain location. And there are other places where He shakes the dust off His feet and says, this town has no faith, I will never return here.
We just have to know that God is in charge of the whole world. And there’s a remnant scattered in every corner of this world. But there are times when He moves to certain locations and He’s there in a special way. And He’s moving toward Nineveh, and Jonah should have been following Him and being close to Him, and he should have been witnessing what God’s going to do. But instead he’s fleeing the other direction to Tarshish.
God comes against the ship that Jonah is in and through the casting of lots, everyone on board realizes that this storm was caused by a disobedient prophet and this prophet is sleeping in a time of a severe storm. It’s reminiscent of Jesus, who is sleeping during a storm, and Jesus is sleeping because He is the Prince of Peace, and He could be in a storm but He is at peace. Jonah is sleeping not because he’s at peace but because he’s depressed.
Jonah is a picture of Jesus who is the new Jonah, but here he is falling far short of Jesus Christ. He is a depressed prophet, trying to sleep away his depression. Jonah is thrown overboard. What we should see here is that Jonah is not repenting. He wants to die. And he knows he cannot commit suicide but he hopes that the people will throw him overboard so that he can die so that he won’t have to fulfill the mission of God. That’s how much he hated the Assyrians, he does not want to do what God asks him to do. He cannot commit suicide, he cannot take his own life, but he’s asking for these people to throw him overboard. He is unrepentant.
In the midst of that, there are these crewmen and they are repenting. These pagans, these people who worship other gods, they’re repenting. You see the compassion of the Lord toward these crewmen, toward Jonah, and toward Nineveh. Our Heavenly Father is rich in mercy. He’s full of compassion and pity.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
Jonah 2 records his prayer from the belly of the fish. He’s on the verge of dying. He sees the gates of Sheol closing upon him, he’s in the last moments of his life, and if he doesn’t turn, he’s going to end up in hell. This is how serious a condition he’s in. But thankfully, at the last moment, he remembers the Lord. He repents and he praises the Lord from the belly of the fish. When he’s at the bottom of the ocean floor about to enter Sheol, he repents, and God relents.
Do you see the mercy of God? Jonah should have been wiped out. God should have chosen somebody else, but God wanted to choose Jonah with a task that he knew Jonah would hate to do. Because he’s trying to save Jonah. It is the compassion, the grace, the pity of the Lord, which precedes His judgment. And then, recorded is his prayer in Jonah 2:9.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord! 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.”
And this time, Jonah obeys. But he is dragging his feet. He really doesn’t want to obey the Lord. He only preaches one line, at least that’s what is recorded, a five-word sermon. And the entire city from the king all the way down to the lowest servant, and the youngest person in the kingdom, all of Assyria, 120,000 people from top to bottom repent. And we have to wonder why did they repent? Is it because of Jonah?
On the one hand, it is because of Jonah. Matthew 12 and Luke 11 describe Jonah as a sign. And I don’t know how the Assyrians knew that he was a sign. But if you’re underwater and if you are bathing in stomach acid for three days and three nights, maybe he’s pale. Maybe his skin is all shriveled up. There’s something about Jonah just looking upon him and not even listening to him, just seeing him as a sign, there’s something that softened the hearts of the listeners.
So you could say yes, it is partially because of Jonah. But Jonah’s heart isn’t it. God’s heart is there, God is present, and it is because God is present, that is why 120,000 people repent. God wanted to use Jonah, not because he is the most qualified person. He’s actually the most disqualified and unqualified person. But God is interested in Assyria and God is interested in Jonah. You see, all over this story is the compassion, the mercy, and the pity of the Lord for Jonah, and the Assyrians.
8 Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. 9 Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.” 10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
And I want you to notice that two times here, the Bible mentions evil way, singular, evil way. The people know that there is an evil way and they also know that there’s violence. But God only pays attention to the evil way, that their way was evil, their manner of doing life was evil.
And it’s just such an obvious thing. But you have to clean up your way before you can clean up your ways. Many people today are talking about America and all of its evil ways with racism, inequality and whatever you want to say about America in 2020. There are many things that are evil, and yes all of us agree that there are many things that are evil. We can have a long list of evil ways. And that’s what the Church of God is highlighting the long list of evil ways, but they ignore the evil way, singular. Because how can a country turn? They have to repent of their evil way so that their ways may become good.
Can we fix racism, greed, or inequality by just calling them out and asking them to repent of these ways? Or do we have to as the Church of God call out America for their evil way for turning their back on God? That is what God calls evil. You have no faith in me, you turned your back on me, therefore you became violent. Therefore you became immoral, therefore there’s injustice and oppression.
There are many evil ways that you can list, but first you must repent of your evil way, and for whatever reason, the Church of God in America has lost its way. And we’re calling the non-believing people in America to repent of their ways, without calling people to repent and turn to God first. Since when did the gospel become a social gospel? Shouldn’t we be preaching people to turn to God and repent of their evil way, that there may be goodness that flows in all of their ways?
What happened to the church in America? When did we lose our way? We’ve become so political, so trendy. When did we lose our way? We should be calling America to repent, before the judgment of God comes upon America. We need to be preaching, for as long as God allows for us to, for America to repent of our way, for people to repent of their way, to turn back to God. That is the only thing that the Church should be preaching at a time like this. Your way is evil because you do not believe in God.
Don’t focus on the ways. Of course, it’s a natural consequence that flows, if you have an evil way that there will be many evil ways. We should be calling people to repent of their evil way, that is all that God focuses on. He doesn’t even focus on the violence, the violence comes with the territory of having an evil way. You repent of the evil way which means you return to God. You repent and you return to God. That is what we should be telling people. Return to God. He is gracious and merciful.
It doesn’t matter the sins that you’ve committed. It comes with the territory. Of course, you’ve committed many sins, but God will embrace you. He will accept you. He is full of mercy and compassion. Repent of your evil way and God will help you. He will forgive you for your ways and goodness will flow. There will be many good things flowing from your life. Repent of your evil way. That is all God looks for, not even the violence that the king and the Assyrians may be highlighted in their repentance. God only looks at their evil way.
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.
What we don’t realize is that we look at Jonah 1 as the beginning, but it’s not the beginning. Even before God calls Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah and God have been having an ongoing discussion in his hometown, Gath-hepher. Jonah and God have been going back and forth for some time. We don’t know how long, but in his own country, it says his hometown, they’ve been discussing this topic of God’s mercy toward his enemies. And maybe even specifically highlighting the possibility of an assignment down the road, that you might be going to Assyria to preach.
The last place on Earth that you would want to preach because in your mind these people are beyond saving. And Jonah may have been saying, they are so wicked, God, you cannot show mercy to these people. You don’t know what they’ve done. So Jonah is all about justice. He wants God’s judgment upon evil. He wants to wipe out all the enemies of God so that only the true people of God remain.
3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” 5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city.
Do you see Jonah? After the amazing preaching that his heart wasn’t really in it, but he was a sign. And so the people were frightened and they had fear of the Lord come upon them. God’s presence was there because God was there in Nineveh, and all of the people, even the cattle it says, repented. I don’t even know what that means but even the cattle repented. God has a heart for the cattle. And Jonah is now setting up a booth looking over the city. And he’s wondering what’s going to happen. Do you see Jonah’s heart? He has no compassion towards Nineveh.
He’s wondering if God would change his mind, or he’s wondering if maybe tomorrow, they will fall back into their evil way and their evil ways, that this is a short-lived repentance, that it’s just emotional. See Jonah, he is just looking and waiting for them to fall, so that the hammer can come down. The hammer of justice. And he wants to tell God to his face, I told you these people are no good. He is that kind of an angry, judgmental person with no compassion, no pity toward Nineveh, the city that repented. 100% repentance in a city. I don’t know if that’s ever happened.
And if you take Jonah with Nahum side by side, with Nahum preaching, yes, the Lord is slow to anger. But the Lord will not clear the guilty. There is judgment for the guilty. And after Nahum prophesied, judgment did come two decades later to Nineveh at the hands of Babylon. And so, maybe Jonah if he saw the whole picture, he could say, I told you, God, I told you this city would fall. I told you that the city is evil. Why are you showing them grace and mercy? You see the heart of Jonah. He could maybe even declare how right he was about this city.
But you see if God’s heart, He wants to save them, even a remnant. And He will show them grace and pity, even if tomorrow, they fall away. That is God’s heart. Of course, in 60-70 years they fell away. Yes, but still for those 60-70 years, He’s going to show compassion and mercy.
I would say if even seven days later, or six days later, they fall away again, still God is the one who will show compassion, mercy, and pity because He’s hoping even one will stay true to Him, even one will become a remnant. And we know from Jesus’s words that the men of Nineveh will stand at the judgment. At the judgment of the nations, God will bring some Ninevites there, the remnant that God saved. So there is a remnant.
If you had it Jonah’s way, there would be no remnant. Even if one person in that city repented, you know God’s heart is that He will withhold judgment for seven years, to save one person? That is God’s heart. And that one person, or that 100th person, or 1000th person, whatever number of remnants, in the last days they, will rise up in the judgment, as a demonstration of a people who repented before others who did not repent. God is going to use this remnant in Nineveh as an example of His graciousness, His pity, His compassion, that all the nations had available to them. Yet they didn’t repent, but these Ninevites repented.
6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
You see the mercy of God again, toward this person Jonah who does not deserve mercy. While Jonah is stewing in his anger toward this city that he wants to see obliterated, God shows him mercy. A plant comes out of the ground and Jonah shows such pity toward this plant. This plant was a symbol of the mercy of God extended, even for one day toward Jonah. And then the worm comes which is a symbol of God’s judgment upon Jonah who is not repenting. And then a scorching heat, judgment of God.
See the mercy of God always precedes His judgment. If you look at Jonah for four chapters, God is showing him mercy after mercy after mercy. It’s like God is dragging him to Nineveh against his will. He’s just putting him there. He just needs somebody to speak, and then God does all the work. Because did Jonah do anything except show up to Nineveh? Did Jonah do anything except show up as a symbol of his disobedience and God’s mercy, as he turned in the last moment? Did Jonah do anything? Can he claim any glory, or take any credit for even one ounce of what happened in Nineveh?
No, he can’t. And it’s no different for any servant of God. We cannot take credit even for one ounce of good that comes out of our life. God does everything. God does everything, that’s why He gets all the glory. All we do is show up. We just have to hear His voice and say, He’s sending me there. I should go with Him there and all I’m doing is showing up. And God does all the work. God gets all the glory. We should never be proud. We should never feel insecure. We should never feel like it’s about me. No, it’s all about God. He gets all the glory and all we do is show up. Jonah didn’t do anything for Nineveh. All he did was show up. Jonah didn’t do anything for this plant to grow up. It was just God’s mercy. God’s mercy in Nineveh, God’s mercy for this plant to provide shade for a day.
8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
The mercy of God always proceeds judgment but Jonah is not getting it. He’s been shown so much mercy. Like if I was in the belly of a fish for three days, I would hope that I would come out of the belly of the fish, being obedient to God, and having a heart that is soft toward God, and a heart that wants to see people being saved and the remnant of God being added and expanded. I would hope that that would be my heart when I was on the verge of going to Sheol. Even with the plant. Because of the worm and the scorching heat, you see right away Jonah’s heart. He is so angry.
And so God has to show him some judgment. The justice does come to Jonah. Because the mercy of God and the kindness of God and even the judgment of God is supposed to cause us to repent. Hopefully, we repent during a period of mercy and pity, when He’s showing us so much compassion. But some people, it does not happen until they’re in judgment. I think in Jonah’s case, it’s judgment. I think many people in America, it will not happen until they feel the weight of this judgment that is upon this country.
9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 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. 11 And should not I pity 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 cattle?”
God has so much pity upon Nineveh. And He shows them 60-70 years of mercy, compassion, and pity. God has so much mercy, compassion, pity and steadfast love towards Jonah. If we were God, how would we treat someone like Jonah? Wouldn’t we be so frustrated? Wouldn’t we be so angry? Wouldn’t we just leave him in the belly of the fish to be dissolved of stomach acid and to descend to Sheol? Isn’t that what he deserves? Look at this person, even after that incident, he’s still so hardened of heart. He still has no pity. He’s so self-centered. Yet God, look at how He tenderly deals with Jonah.
That shows us what kind of Heavenly Father we have. He is so steadfast. He shows so much steadfast love toward the remnant of God. Toward the children of God, even in our disobedience, even in our anger, even in our judgmental hearts, even when we want to punish enemies now, and we have that type of a heart, God shows us so much pity. And He shows us so much compassion. And may the kindness of the Lord this morning lead you to repentance. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, this Father’s Day we remember you. You’re not like our earthly fathers who had a short fuse, or had a temper, who were quick to punish, quick to discipline. You’re not like other fathers who more resembled a grandfather, who would say it was all grace. There is no punishment on the guilty, no punishment for sin. All is forgiven. Just do your life and I will bless you.
Some fathers that we grew up with were absentee fathers. They’re so busy with their career, or maybe they just weren’t around. Maybe they left us at a young age. Whatever kind of earthly father we had, we shed all of those things. We don’t project that kind of picture toward you. We pray right now, Lord Jesus, that you would demolish all the wrong pictures that we have about our Heavenly Father. You are a God who does judge. There is punishment for guilt, but Lord, that judgment is preceded by so much grace, so much mercy, so much compassion so much pity.
Even Jesus came initially to show grace. He is full of grace before He’s full of truth. Grace precedes the truth. Lord Jesus, when you come back a second time, yes, you are the judge. The truth will be revealed. And it will matter what side of truth we’re on. That will be the only thing that matters when you come back as Judge. But Lord right now, we’ve been under 2000 plus years of grace. We know that time is running out. May your kindness lead us to repentance this morning. We look at Jonah, he is so undeserving of mercy, and yet you showed him so much pity. You were so steadfast in your love toward him.
That is how you look at all of us, your children, the remnant of God. Thank you that you’re not like us, you’re slow to anger, you’re quick to show mercy. Thank you, Lord. We rejoice in you. We rejoice in Jesus Christ who came, who is full of grace and truth. I pray that Jesus, you would minister to us. During this particular the Lord’s Supper, we pray that you would meet us and cover us and cleanse us by our blood. Thank you, Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen