Jonah’s Gourd


Jonah’s Gourd

(Jonah 4:4-8)

I. Introduction

A. There is much speculation as to what this vine or gourd really was. Some say it was a castor bean plant.

1. That’s a fast-growing plant that can reach a height of 10 ft.

2. But to be truthful, we don’t know what it was for the simple reason it was prepared by God.

B. In watching Jonah’s situation and his attitude toward God we really are looking at ourselves.

1. We are in reality watching God the master Psychologist deal with his patient.

2. Anyone interested in psychology would do well to study how God deals with Jonah.

B. We will discover how a minister should deal with his people.

1. How a parent should deal with a child.

2. We will focus on God’s dealings with his angry pouting child.

II. God’s Patience

A. The first thing to be noted is God’s patience.

1. We have all heard of the patience of Job but I want you to hear about the patience of God.

2. Paul calls Him the God of patience in Rom 15:5.

3. John refers to the patience of Jesus Christ in Rev. 1:9.

B. when theologians discuss God’s attributes, they often overlook this one.

1. We know that God is holy and gave us His law.

2. We know that He is just and must punish sin.

3. But He is also patient – slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.

III. Counseling People.

A. There are three ways of counseling people.

B. One approach is used by secular psychologists

I. They talk with a person overcome with hostility and anger and say; You are right to be angry, its okay.

2. That’s the existential approach – it’s called indirect counseling or non-directive therapy.

3. A person is being told – Get it out of your system you are right to be angry.

4. This person goes on his way feeling justified in his anger.

C. Another approach is for a counselor to say- you are wrong to be angry. You shouldn’t be like that.

1. That is moralizing which heaps more guilt upon a person already feeling guilty.

2. There are some Christians who thrive on that.

3. Example – woman loses her husband to cancer she feels angry because God has taken him.

4. She expresses this hostility to a Christian friend – the response goes something like this – you shouldn’t feel that way, that’s sin, you need to go to God and confess how wrong you are.

5. Some people want to be told how wrong they are they somehow feel they should feel the guilt they are experiencing.

D. There is a Third approach (Jonah 4:4) Doest thou well to be angry.

1. A free Hebrew translation would be this – You are feeling very angry aren’t you.

2. When our children get extremely angry, a good way to deal with it is as God does right here.

3. You’re really angry, aren’t you? Even asking such a question shows that you understand their feelings.

4. You are not condoning – not condemning, but you are revealing the fact that you understand.

5. This approach that God takes toward Jonah is an expression of God’s patience.

6. James describes the wisdom of God as being, pure, peaceable, gentle, full of mercy and easy to be entreated. (James 3:17)

7. That’s the way the great Psychologist deal with Jonah.

8. I am amazed at the patience God exercised toward Jonah. God had every reason to ditch Jonah! Cutting Across the Grain

A. This cuts across our popular pietistic thinking that God only communes with the really godly.

I. But if God only communed with the perfect, He would have no fellowship with anyone.

2. Does He commune with you? Is it because you are so godly? Or is it because of the blood on the altar of sacrifice.

B. Some people worry about new converts when they don’t see a great change in them.

1. You know what worries me is old converts who still have the same old maladies.

2. Oh, how I identify with Jonah in his anger. Have you evidenced it lately?

C. Remember Mary and Martha blaming Jesus after their brother died (John 11:21,32)

1. Lord if you had been here my brother wouldn’t have died.

2. You could have been her but you weren’t.

3. They were angry – What did Jesus do? He wept.

4. Are you out there angry and hurting – you can’t share your real feelings because you feel someone will say; “shame on you” you

shouldn’t think like that.

5. So you just go on suffering inside.

IV. Jonah’s Recalcitrance

A. God had asked Jonah a question- Doest thou well to be angry.

1. Jonah recalcitrance is evidenced by the fact that he didn’t give God the courtesy of an answer.

2. We are just told he went outside the city to wait and see what would happen.

3. He could have been dining with the King -maybe even proclaimed a national hero.

4. But Jonah’s pride and self will keep him in a state of despair.

B. How did God deal with such a petulant character?

1. God give him a gourd to cover him from the heat.

2. I don’t think we would have dealt with him that way. We would have rebuked him, given him a sermon about a bad attitude, but

God gave him a gourd or vine to cover him.

3. God knows how long we can take discouragement he also knows how long we can take encouragement.

C. I ask you are you like Jonah getting your joy from a gourd, some material satisfaction that is your source of encouragement.

1. But what are you going to do when God withers the vine.

2. What are you going to do if you lose those material possessions?

3. What happens if God hides his face?

4. Some old hymn writers knew this song – On Christ the Solid Rock I stand.

5. We must trust Christ even if He hides His face from me.

6. I must preach the gospel whether there are converts or not.

7. Thank him for the worm and the vine.

8. The worm is to bring us to the place where we see our need and flee to him.

9. The vine is to bring the comforting grace of God to our hearts. We need both the worm and the vine.

10. What is your worm today? Have you failed in the test God has brought into your life

11. Flee to the rock that is higher than you!

God bless
Sister Phyllis

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