Change of Plans

Change of Plans

Passage: Jonah 4
Service Type:

joke: If you need 144 rolls of toilet paper to survive a 14 day quarantine, you should probably have been seeing a doctor long before the virus epidemic.

“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3 


This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. (NLT)



I’m going to try and change it

Why was Jonah angry? Because he wanted Nineveh destroyed.

He went out of his way to control the outcome. (Tarshish)

Example: My friend’s Dad buying him a truck to break up with a girl.

Jonah resented God’s grace to the Ninevites…

1. Resentment is self-destructive.

Picture of prodigal - tell the story

…he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’“ (Luke 15:29-30)

Same as Jonah: He resented the fathers love for the disobedient.

Jonah was disobedient to God and received compassion, but apparently had already forgotten.

“But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah 4:4

Jonah had a human anger, a selfish anger.

“…Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20

Review: Resentment is self-destructive.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” Matthew 5:44-46

- From an AA member's story, "Freedom from Bondage"


“If you have a resentment you want to be free of, 

if you will pray for the person or the thing that you resent, you will be free.

If you will ask in prayer for everything you want for yourself to be given to them, you will be free.

Ask for their health, their prosperity, their happiness, and you will be free.

Even when you don't really want it for them, and your prayers are only words and you don't mean it, go ahead and do it anyway.

Do it every day for two weeks and you will find you have come to mean it and to want it for them, and you will realize that where you used to feel bitterness and resentment and hatred, you now feel compassionate understanding and love.”

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live 9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead. Jonah 4:5-9

(ESV) But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?

"...angry enough to die

I want to BE RIGHT more than I want to live. 

The physical effects of anger on a person

• high blood pressure

• colds and flu

• coronary heart disease

• stroke

• cancer

• gastro-intestinal problems.

Review: Resentment is self-destructive.

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. 

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 4:10-11

Jonah pitied the plant, but not the people.

2. The temporal represents the eternal.

God used Jonah’s circumstances having to do with the plant as an allegory to show him how he should be seeing all these dying people. 

  • He publicized his own faults as a younger prophet.

WHAT IS MY PLANT? (Work? Money, Plans?)

How is MY relationship with the people I love?

Show me your schedule and your bank statement and I’ll tell you what you love.

Review: God uses the temporal to teach about the eternal.

3. God does not want damnation for anyone.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

An invitation to the Assyrians was a ploy to make God’s rebellious people jealous.

The Jewish view of the book is the envious Jew.

Paul was a Jew

I am talking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch as I am the apostle to the Gentiles, I take pride in my ministry in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

Romans 11:13-14

Review: God loves our enemies

What’s your plant?

Who are your Ninevites?

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