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?”
Jonah 4:1-11 (ESV)
Before we jump into our text this morning, let me share with you a parable of Jesus that I have been thinking about a lot in our short little study of Jonah. This comes from the gospel of Matthew the 18th chapter.
I am just going to read it for us here and then explain why I keep coming back to this passage in my own mind and heart.
23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 And since he could not pay, his master ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the master of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But when that same servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii, and seizing him, he began to choke him, saying, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 So his fellow servant fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 He refused and went and put him in prison until he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their master all that had taken place. 32 Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
Matthew 18:23-35 (ESV)
Now there are some clear differences between Jonah and the parable I just read, particularly when it comes to the theme of forgiveness that the parable is driving us towards. But the reason why I keep thinking about this parable is because of the attitude of the master’s servant who received such mercy, kindness, and grace from his master yet had no such mercy, kindness, and grace towards others.
And I think that has been one of the more personally convicting aspects of the book of Jonah, particularly as we get to the final chapter of this little book today.
Now, just for a bit of a review on Jonah to help set the context for our passage today, let me remind you of all the different places Jonah was on the receiving end of such mercy, kindness, and grace from God.
To start, Jonah was part of Israel, the Old Testament covenantal people of God, who were entrusted with the Old Testament Scriptures. No doubt, Jonah would have been acquainted with these Scriptures from a young age. Growing up around the things of God was a significant grace in his life. As we learned in our first sermon in this short series, Jonah was also a prophet of God, which would have made him even more familiar with the Scriptures.
Furthermore, in the Old Testament times, there seems to have been some kind of school of the prophets where younger prophets were mentored by more seasoned ones. It seems likely that Jonah grew up as a young prophet in that setting. Can you imagine the type of community and fellowship that would have come with being in the school of the prophets? What a grace that would have been for him.
In 2 Kings, we learn how Jonah was used by God in a pretty incredible way to care for the people of Israel. You can imagine how encouraging that must have been for Jonah. I would guess he would have been a real hero throughout the nation. This was another act of mercy, kindness, and grace from God.
Then when we get into this book of Jonah, in Jonah 1, God came to his prophet Jonah and instructed him to go to the great city Nineveh to preach. Nineveh was a great city in terms of size, population, and influence, but it was also known for its great evil deeds. This preaching assignment was another manifestation of God’s mercy, kindness, and grace toward Jonah. It was an assignment that Jonah should have rejoiced in, being counted worthy by God for this task.
However, as we know, when Jonah received this assignment, he rejected God’s clear command and headed in the opposite direction of Nineveh, choosing to go to Tarshish by way of the sea. He did this because he didn’t want any form of mercy, kindness, or grace from the Lord to come to this great city. Instead, Jonah had such disdain for Nineveh that he wanted judgment to fall upon it.
For me, as that opening scene in Jonah started to unfold, my mind naturally turned to the parable that I read for you earlier. It was a great opportunity given to Jonah to be a minister of grace, to show mercy and kindness to a great city – the very things Jonah had received so much of in his own life. Yet, Jonah wanted nothing to do with that type of ministry. So, he fled in the opposite direction from Nineveh, attempting to reach a city called Tarshish by way of the sea.
However, as Jonah was fleeing, as you may recall, the Lord began to chase him. The Lord chased Jonah by hurling a great storm upon the sea. Interestingly, this storm was another grace in Jonah’s life. It was an act of God’s mercy and kindness to chase Jonah, an evidence of God’s love, as if the great hound of heaven was pursuing Jonah with the intention of bringing him back to Himself.
As the Lord chased Jonah on the sea, it ultimately led to Jonah being thrown into the sea, where the Lord graciously appointed a giant fish to swallow him up. Which is where Jonah’s body would lie for three days.
All of this took place in chapter 1. In chapter 2, as Jonah was being swallowed up by the great fish, Jonah repented of his sin. He turned back to the Lord, seeking forgiveness and life. The Lord graciously heard Jonah’s prayer and had great mercy on him. After being in the belly of the fish for three days, the Lord appointed the great fish to spit Jonah back out onto dry land.
As Jonah was put back on dry land in chapter 3, there was almost like a redo in the book of Jonah, another act of mercy, kindness, and grace. The Lord gave Jonah a second chance. He came to Jonah a second time to give him the same command that started the book in chapter 1. However, this time, rather than running from God’s clear command, Jonah obeyed. He went to Nineveh and preached.
In our text last week, as Jonah preached, God moved in an incredible way. A city-wide revival took place, and God showed mercy, kindness, and grace to Nineveh. Throughout the great city, people believed in God, from the greatest to the least, including the heart of the King. This must have been a tremendous encouragement to Jonah – a further display of God’s grace, kindness, and mercy. Jonah had been used by God to preach a great revival.
As we close today, we see that God, in doing that great work, that act of compassion on Nineveh, actually became a source of frustration for Jonah. Why? Because Jonah held such disdain in his heart toward the Ninevites. Sure, Jonah was happy to receive mercy, kindness, and grace from God in his own life. But, much like the servant in the parable I read earlier, Jonah didn’t want that same kind of mercy, kindness, and grace to extend towards others. This is a warning for us.
Throughout this short study of Jonah, we must hear this warning, especially in our own society as it continues to find new ways to disregard God and His Word. Such circumstances may tempt us to hold our own society with contempt and disdain, not wanting God to show mercy, kindness, and grace to those around us, even though we ourselves have received so much of it.
So, let’s begin by looking back together, starting in verse 1, where we read the words, “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.” The “it” in verse 1, which exceedingly displeased Jonah and felt so wrong to him, was the work of God to bring Nineveh into saving belief in Him. It truly bothered Jonah that God would do that. He was exceedingly displeased, angry, and frustrated that God would show mercy, kindness, and grace to that great city.
In verse 1, we can sense that in Jonah’s heart, there was murmuring, complaining, and bickering towards the Lord. This wasn’t just a low level of frustration or a minor irritation; rather, verse 1 presents Jonah as being hot with anger towards God. It was like an inferno raging in his heart against the Lord, and Jonah was overflowing with passion in how wrong all of this felt to him.
In verse 2, we see that in his anger, Jonah prayed to the Lord. However, this prayer doesn’t feel like one where, in his frustration, Jonah was seeking to find understanding and help, praying for God to help him in his unbelief. Instead, this prayer feels like Jonah came to the Lord in prayer so he could point an accusing finger at God.
In our text, Jonah says, “O Lord, is this not what I said would happen when I was still back in my country of Israel? I just knew you were going to do this. I knew you were going to show mercy and compassion on those Ninevites. God, if you actually knew what to do, if you were running the world properly, you would have brought judgment to Nineveh. But no, you screwed this up and actually saved them from judgment.”
“This is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish because I knew it. I just knew you would screw this up. I know that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. So, I knew, Lord, that you would make an unwise decision and pour out your grace and mercy, treating evil Nineveh with kindness.”
“So, Lord, clearly I was right in chapter 1 when I tried to flee your presence. I was right; you would do wrong. And because of that, clearly, Lord, you can’t be trusted,” Jonah says in verse 3. “Therefore, please just take my life from me. I can’t handle this anymore. The way you are running this is just not right. Having to see you pour out mercy, kindness, and grace to people like the Ninevites is just too much for me. It is more than I can handle. So it would be better for me to die than to continue to live through this.”
Friends, this is a bitter murmuring, complaining, and bickering heart. This is Jonah proving that his bitterness was not directed towards Nineveh; rather, it was towards the Lord. Jonah is putting his finger in God’s face with such anger that he is making incredibly harsh accusations against Him, accusing the Lord of doing wrong.
By the way, verse 3 and Jonah’s prayer for his life to be taken stand in contrast to Jonah’s words in his previous prayer in chapter 2. In that prayer, when he was walking in repentance and faith, he sought the Lord to find life. But now, in a sense, he is seeking the Lord to find death. This brings things full circle back to chapter 1, when Jonah was trying to flee from the presence of the Lord. This book ends with Jonah once again wanting to flee from the presence of the Lord and head to the grave in verse 4, with the prophet’s finger pointed at God.
We see that God responded back graciously, and the Lord said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry? Is this really how you want to act right now? Do you truly think you are doing well in this prayer?” Clearly, God could have been just in wiping Jonah off the face of the earth; God had every right to do so. However, in our text, the Lord didn’t choose that path. Instead, He chose to respond with a soft question that should have turned away Jonah’s anger. “Jonah, do you do well to be angry? Is this really what you want? Do you truly understand what you are saying? Can you not see the disdain in your heart that has you all twisted around?” God showed great graciousness to His prophet.
However, in verse 5, even though God was once again gracious to Jonah, and even though God’s soft answer should have softened Jonah’s heart, we read that Jonah, after finishing his prayer, left the city of Nineveh. He went just east of the city and set up a tent or booth for himself, where he would sit in his misery, further observing what would happen to the city. It’s apparent that Jonah was hoping that the tongue-lashing he just gave to the Lord would wake God up from being so gracious and kind. Perhaps God would finally rain fire from heaven on Nineveh, and by sitting just outside the city, Jonah could have a front-row seat to witness the judgment he wanted Nineveh to receive.
As Jonah sat in misery and pouted, we see the Sovereign Lord back at work. He graciously appointed a plant to grow and come over Jonah, providing him some shade to save Jonah from some of the discomfort he was experiencing as he sat in his tent. The word “appointed” is significant here, just as it was in Jonah 1 when the Lord appointed the great fish to swallow up Jonah. Now the Lord is appointing the plant to provide shade for Jonah.
As Jonah felt the coolness of the shade, some of his bitterness subsided for a while. He became exceedingly glad because of the plant, and the word “exceedingly” also came up in verse 1 of our text today, highlighting how fickle Jonah was in this book. He was all over the board emotionally, experiencing highs and lows.
As mentioned in verse 6, in the roller coaster ride that is Jonah’s emotional state, he was exceedingly happy because of the shade. However, that happiness didn’t last long because it was a very shallow happiness. In verse 7, when dawn came the next day, the Sovereign Lord once again made an appointment. This time, He appointed a worm to attack the plant that was giving Jonah shade. The worm was able to gain victory over the plant, causing it to wither and taking away the comfort of shade, which would have been really nice for Jonah to have at this moment, as we see in verse 8.
As the sun rose that day, God continued to make appointments. He appointed a scorching east wind to rise up, which blew the heat of the sun right at Jonah. The sun’s heat began to beat down on Jonah’s head to the point where he was becoming faint. We should see this as once again the Hound of Heaven chasing and disciplining Jonah, who was trying to flee from His presence once more.
In the text, as Jonah was being beaten down by the scorching heat, he once again prayed that he might die, saying that it’s better for him to die than to live. The Hound of Heaven was back in pursuit of Jonah, not to be cruel but to teach him a lesson. In verse 9, God asked Jonah, “Jonah, do you do well to be angry for the plant?” It’s a very similar question to what God asked in verse 4. This is God being gracious towards Jonah, showing patience with his pouting prophet.
God essentially asks Jonah, “Is this really where you want to be today? Sad, angry, and frustrated over the death of this plant?” Jonah responded with a snippy tone, “Yes, I do. I do well to be angry. In fact, I do so well to be angry that the dying of this plant has me angry enough to die. This plant dying is just further indication that you have no clue about what to do, God. You even screwed this up.”
And this here, by Jonah, this is a first-class pity party that Jonah is throwing himself. He is acting like a toddler who didn’t get his way and is now throwing a massive temper tantrum. But as Jonah was throwing his big dramatic pity party, we see that the Lord didn’t lose His cool. God was still patient, still showing His pouting prophet mercy, kindness, and grace.
Which we see in the text, He does by extending His teaching lesson. Clearly, Jonah was having a hard time learning his lesson, which we read in verses 10 and 11. Verse 10, Jonah, do you see what you are doing here? Do you see the irony, the hypocrisy that is taking place in you right now? You are pitying the plant. You know the plant that you did not labor for, the plant that you did nothing to make it grow. You know the plant that I appointed over, that came into being that night, and I appointed it to perish in a night. That is what you are throwing this dramatic pity party over. And if you think you are in the right to throw the plant a pity party, are you really suggesting that I am in the wrong for showing pity, mercy, kindness, and compassion to Nineveh, that great city of Nineveh that has over 120,000 persons who live in it? This great city is so far off course that they don’t even know their right hand from their left. Jonah, let’s take a step back and think about what is happening right now. Do you see any hypocrisy here?
Are you telling me that I am wrong to show pity towards those people, to give them mercy, kindness, and grace? Jonah, did you forget all that I have done for you? Do you see the false sense of entitlement in your own heart? Do you think somehow you earned all of the mercy, kindness, and grace? Do you believe you deserve the patience I have shown you? Yet, you think I am wrong for showing compassion to others? What pride in Jonah.
Finally, our text ends with the Lord showing Jonah how irrational he is being by asking him, “And Jonah, if I was wrong to show pity to them, what about all the cattle? If you are so torn up over this plant, shouldn’t you be happy for the cows, how they were spared from disaster?”
This last teaching lesson by the Lord towards his prophet kind of abruptly ends the book. God calls out Jonah and puts him on trial, in doing so, I think God is putting on display the difference between His good heart and Jonah’s fickle, hypocritical, judgmental heart. It’s a reflection of our own hearts where we, who have been on the receiving end of such mercy, kindness, and grace from God, far too often stand in judgment of others. We can be angry if others receive that same mercy, kindness, and grace.
This leads to how I want to close out our time here today and this short sermon series. I want to take a little more time just to think about hypocrisy.
Now when it comes to hypocrisy, we know we can be hypocrites in so many different ways. But for this time here, I want to talk about hypocrisy as it relates to our text and the hypocrisy of Jonah. He was willing to receive so much mercy, kindness, and grace from the Lord, yet he did not want others to receive that same treatment.
As we close, I want to give us three warnings about this type of hypocrisy, warning against false hopes that might tempt us to be blind to or overlook or justify hypocrisy in our own hearts. Then, after doing that, I want to give us the one true hope, which is the only hope we have, including when it comes to our hypocrisy. From there, a few quick thoughts on how to walk in that one true hope, in ways in which we fight against hypocrisy.
Let me start by giving a few warnings—warnings that could be false hopes for us. False hopes that might tempt us to be blind to, overlook, or justify hypocrisy.
1. First, right theology by itself does not eliminate hypocrisy. Obviously, we want right theology. Right theology is critical. Right theology, when rightly applied, is necessary to fight against hypocrisy. However, if not rightly applied, right theology by itself could become a false hope. Scripture tells us that even the demons believe. Even demons have, in a sense, right theology. But just simply having, in a sense, right theology doesn’t mean that hypocrisy in our hearts is eliminated.
At times, we can understand right doctrine and theology yet be overflowing with hypocrisy. There are plenty of examples of this in the Scriptures and throughout church history where people could communicate right theology but be overflowing with hypocrisy. Jonah’s story serves as one of these warnings.
Jonah knew the right things about God; he had the right theology. Jonah would have passed with flying colors on any theological exam given to him. In Chapter 1, as Jonah fled from the presence of the Lord because he knew that God was one who was mighty to save, even though he didn’t want that to happen, his theology was right.
In Chapter 1, Verse 9, as the storm raged and the sailors on the ship started to ask Jonah who he was and where he came from, Jonah shared his testimony, rightfully declaring God to be YHWH, the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who made the seas and the dry land. Jonah was right; he got that theology correct.
In Chapter 2, in Jonah’s great prayer of repentance and faith, Jonah had the right theology to turn to the Lord in his distress. He rightly understood that the Lord is the one who dwells in His holy temple, and it is the Lord who brings us out of the pit. It is the Lord alone who is worthy of our thanksgiving and praise because it is the Lord, the Lord alone, who is able to give salvation. All of that is theologically correct; that is indeed what the Scripture teaches.
In Chapter 3, Jonah gave a theologically correct sermon to Nineveh that was used by the Lord to cut to the heart, leading people both great and small from the city to turn and believe in God. In our text today, in Chapter 4, Verse 2, Jonah was theologically correct in stating that the Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting in disaster. That is exactly who God tells us He is in the Scripture.
In Chapter 4, Jonah also was theologically correct in understanding that God is the one who is over both life and death, as he turned to the Lord to take his own life.
Friends, all throughout the book of Jonah, we see some serious problems with Jonah, but theology was not one of them. He had the right theology. So yes, friends, we should be striving to have right theology; it is so important, critically important. However, being able to communicate right theology is not enough; it also needs to be rightly applied. Because if not, what can quickly happen is that theology could become a source of real pride and arrogance, and hypocrisy, giving a false hope, where we start to beat our own chests while looking down at others.
2. Second, having a righteous understanding and anger towards sin by itself does not eliminate hypocrisy. Scripture does tell us that there are things in life that we should be angry towards with a righteous anger. Scripture even tells us that we are to be angry but not sin.
So, sins should anger us, but we all know how it is to be angry and sin. In our anger, we can be angry about the speck in someone else’s eye while having no anger about the hypocritical log in our own eye. For Jonah, I don’t doubt that he had some righteous anger toward Nineveh. It seemed like he had the right spiritual discernment to see that this was a city great in evil with a past history of showing evil towards Israel.
But in Jonah, that righteous anger seemed to be swallowed up by sinful, prideful anger. In his anger, not only did Jonah not want to keep others from receiving mercy, kindness, and grace from God, but he was actually exceedingly angry at the Lord for giving mercy, kindness, and grace to others. Friends, if all we ever see and talk about revolves around the sins of others, if we are always angry towards those around us, always and only discern the sins of others, and only find happiness when others we don’t like are miserable, there is probably something going on in our hearts that we need to examine.
This anger that we need to further examine could be a real indication that we are actually angry against the Lord and how He is at work in the world around us. In our anger, we might be sticking our finger in God’s face, accusing Him of screwing things up, and having the audacity to think that we know better than Him.
Third, a successful ministry in itself does not eliminate hypocrisy. So, even that, we can’t hope in. Over the years, this has been one of the sober realities that continues to be seen at popular levels. Seemingly, over and over again, there are stories of people who seemed to have an important, influential ministry where they have had a real following, and where people seemed to greatly benefit from their teachings. Only, in time, different levels of hypocrisy have come out that have greatly stained or even disqualified them from ministry.
This is not just on popular levels but even in local levels as well, where people who seemed to be so solid on the things of Christ, only for information to come out later that points to almost a double life. Where they don’t come close to practicing what they teach or promote. In fact, even this week, I was with a number of pastors for lunch where I learned of a few other pastors in the general area who disqualified themselves because of hypocrisy that came out.
Friends, having an in quotes “successful ministry” doesn’t, by itself, eliminate us from falling prey to hypocrisy. In fact, at times, it feels like success can lead us into deeper levels of pride and hypocrisy as the ministry becomes about us, not about the Lord.
For Jonah, he was part of at least two known great works of God. As mentioned earlier in 2 Kings, Jonah’s ministry led to Israel turning back to the Lord in ways that they received some sweet blessing from God. In Jonah 3, Jonah was just used by the Lord to minister a great revival.
Yet even as seemingly this revival was still taking place, we get his hypocrisy in chapter 4 where Jonah was angry at the Lord for extending his work of salvation.
Friends, as important as it is to have right theology and doctrine, to have the ability to discern sin, and to desire to have an impactful ministry to others, in the end, those things can’t be our hope. In themselves, they don’t wash away our hypocrisy.
There is only one hope that we have who can do that. Which is the second thing I wanted to mention before we close, which is our hope.
2. God is on a mission to save his people. That really is the emphasis of this entire little book. That God is on a mission. Who is indeed gracious and merciful, and slow to anger, who abounds in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Even towards hypocrites.
Friends, that’s our hope. Our hope is nothing in us, nothing that perhaps we might get right. Our hope is only in the Lord. That is where our right theology, right understanding of sin, is meant to lead us. That is where any ministry we might have should bubble out from. It is from the hope in the Lord. Who is on a mission to save.
In chapter 1, as we remember, the God on a mission came to save pagan sailors who, as the storm first hit, were just praying to their pagan gods. In chapter 3, as we remember, the God on a mission came to save the great city of Nineveh, who was known for their wickedness. Throughout the book, the God on a mission came to save, to continue to save, for His disobedient, proud, hypocritical prophet Jonah. Where over and over again in this little book, the Lord was gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Friends, that is hope in this book. And that is our hope. Our only hope. That God will be faithful to His promise to His people even when we are unfaithful to Him, being captured in whatever type of hypocrisy we might gravitate towards. God is our hope because God is the one who comes to His people on a mission to bring us to Him.
Which we know ultimately God did by coming to us through His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Who came and lived as one of us without any hypocrisy at any level. Where Jesus Christ came on a mission to fulfill God’s Word and to put God’s grace, mercy, steadfast love on display for all eternity. Which Jesus did by taking on the anger of God that burns over our sin. Which Jesus bore for us on the cross. Where Jesus died for all who come to Him. Including all here today.
So that by grace through faith in Jesus, Christ all who trust in Him, who call on His name, who believe that Jesus died for them only to rise again, the eternal disaster that awaits sinners would be relented. Because through Jesus, God forgives us, even our hypocrisy. Because in the end, God Himself is the master of the parable I read at the start, who has pity on His servants and forgives their debts.
Friends, may our theology of God, our understanding of sin, and whatever ministry we might have, all be grounded in this hope—the hope we have in Jesus Christ, which is our only hope in this life. That God, in His mission, sent to us Jesus, who by His mercy, grace, and kindness came for us and our salvation.
Which leads to how I wanted to quickly close out this sermon series. In light of the mission of God found in Jesus Christ, I wanted to give you just a few practical thoughts on how we might fight against the type of hypocrisy we see in Jonah in our text, that we might put to death our hypocrisy by nailing it to the cross.
1st, continue to rehearse the evidence of grace that you see in your life, including the grace in your life that led you to first believe. One of the examples I was thinking about this week was the New Testament example of the Apostle Paul, who a few different times in his letters wrote about his testimony. How he was the chief of sinners, a persecutor of the church, but God was merciful and kind and gracious to him, opening up his eyes to Jesus.
Friends, keep looking for and talking about the evidence of God’s grace in your life, including going back to the evidence of grace when you first believed. It helps us remember how gracious God was towards us, which hopefully helps us to be more gracious towards others.
2nd, pray and ask the Lord to search your heart, to reveal hypocrisy, and where you see it in your life, repent and seek forgiveness. Which was really the sermon we had from chapter 2 and the normal Christian life of living in repentance and faith. Friends, confess and turn from hypocrisy, trusting that indeed God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins.
3rd, pray to the Lord to grow you in this area of your life. Pray for yourself that God would grow your heart to be more and more like His heart. Pray for others, particularly those that you are most judgmental towards, that God would indeed be merciful, kind, and gracious towards them.
4th, be very careful with what you say. Ephesians 4 tells us this: “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Friends, if our conversations always have a negative spin, where the only things we ever talk about are how bad everyone around us is, those conversation seeds in time will reap a harvest in our hearts where we can start to look a lot like Jonah in the text. So rather than letting your conversations run to corrupt talk, use your words for building up, for wanting the best in others.
5th, live on mission because God is a God on a mission, and we, His people, are to live on mission. Friends, live on a mission in ways that you are actually getting to know others around you. Spend intentional time to get to know your neighbors, your coworkers, your classmates well enough that you know some of their stories, struggles, insecurities, and pain. Do that because it is God’s good command for His people. As mentioned, we are to live on a mission, seeking to share the gospel with the world around us. But also take time to get to know others because what happens when you actually know people in real ways is that you start to have compassion on them, in ways that the Lord has compassion on Nineveh. And as you get to know others around you, you start to want for them what you have for yourself: the mercy, kindness, and grace of God.
Red Village Church, God has been so good to us, from sending Christ to us, to calling us to Himself, to continuing to be so patient with us. May we not take any of that for granted, may we not feel entitled to any of that. But may the mercy, kindness, and grace of God capture our hearts in such a way that we reflect that with how we treat others who God has placed around us.