Jonah's Anger and the Lord's Compassion
Passage: Jonah 4:1–4:11
The overall theme of the book of Jonah: the manifestation of God’s unmerited grace to those who have sinned against him.
Big Picture: While Jonah welcomes deliverance for himself, he does not welcome it for others, especially for those whom he perceives to be his enemy. To put this another way, Jonah is not able to accord God the sovereignty to pour out his grace on his fallen image-bearers without discrimination. This is closely connected with another fault: Jonah wants to receive God’s grace without being changed by it, and at the same time to snatch it away from those whose lives are in fact changed by it.
Jonah’s anger against Yahweh (1-3)
- The root of Jonah’s anger: God’s gracious character
Yahweh’s first response to Jonah’s anger (4)
“Is it right for you to be angry?”
Jonah’s anger over his discomfort (5-9)
- The hut goes up
- The plant goes up and Jonah’s joy peaks
- The plant comes down and Jonah’s anger mounts
Yahweh’s second response to Jonah’s anger (9-11)
“Is it right for you to be angry about the plant? . . . You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
The sign of Jonah (Matthew 13)
- The first point of comparison between Jonah and Jesus is that they were both delivered from death — a deliverance that attested the trustworthiness of their preaching.
- The second point of comparison is the different responses of the hearers.