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TEXT: Jonah 4:5-11

Q: Why did we plant Grace City Church 3 years ago? 

“Over and over and over and over again, God says to his prophet, “I want you to go to and I want you to love that great big, huge, dangerous city.” See, what he is doing is he is calling Jonah out of a homogenous place where everybody looked like him and believed like him into the big city. He is calling Jonah out of a safe place, a comfortable place, a familiar place, into the big city. Over and over he does it. That’s the call of God. “Go to the great city. Love the great city.” – Timothy Keller

 

Three parts to the story are…(1. A Bitter Prophet 2. A Powerful Illustration 3. A Compassionate God)

 

  1. A Bitter Prophet (v. 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.”

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

 

  1. A Powerful Illustration (v. 6-9)

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. 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 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.” 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.”

 

“The word Jonah 4:6 translated ‘discomfort’ or ‘grief’ or ‘misery’ is the same Hebrew word which was used of the wickedness of the Ninevites in Jonah 1:2, and of the destruction which God had threatened in Jonah 3:10. Just as God protected Jonah through the plant, he had shown the same protection to Nineveh through his compassion and grace.” — Sinclair Ferguson

 

  1. A Compassionate God (v. 10-11)

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?”

 

TAKEAWAYS: Let’s ask three questions…

 

  • Will we own our bitterness before God?

 

“Salvation belongs to the LORD.” – Jonah 2:10

 

“…in all the Scripture there is not one condemning word spoken against a poor sinner stripped of self-righteousness…Let sin break your heart, but not your hope in the gospel.” – Thomas Wilcox

 

  • Will we see the value of people over possessions?

 

  • Will we join God in His love for the city?

You get to the very end, and this is the last time God comes to Jonah. He says, “Look, Jonah. I asked you once, and you blew it. I put you into a fish. I asked you twice, and you blew it. Now I’m asking you one more time. Will you come with me in my project of spreading the city of God into the human city, spreading the city of love and service into the city of power and selfishness? Will you come with me in doing that?” – Timothy Keller

 

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” — Matthew 23:37-39