Dave Burnette's Commentary

Jonah Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Jonah
Date Penned: BC 785-760
Overview: Jonah's calling shows God's Sovereignty (c 1-4)
Theme: Jonah Fulfills His Mission (c 2-4)
Message: God's Mercy Makes Jonah Angry (v 1-11)

Jonah: Chapter 4 Commentary

(4:1) Why did Jonah become angry when God spared Nineveh? The Jews did not want to share God's message with the Gentile Nations in Jonah's day, the Jews also rejected Gentiles in Paul's day (1 Thessalonians 2) as the Jewish nation they had forgotten their original purpose - to be a blessing to the rest of the world by sharing God's message with other nations (Genesis 22) Jonah thought God should not freely give his salvation to a wicked heathen nation. Yet this is exactly what God does for all who come to him today in faith. Jonah's gratitude for his deliverance was short lived and was now angry that God forgave Nineveh. His attitude should have been of rejoicing that sinners came to repentance. (Luke 15)

(4:2) Jonah reveals the reason for his reluctance to go to Nineveh. He didn't want the Ninevites forgiven but destroyed. Jonah did not realize that the God of Israel is also the God of the whole world. Are you surprised when someone unexpected turns to The Lord? It is possible that your view is as narrow as Jonah's? We must not forget that, in reality, we do not deserve to be forgiven by the Lord.  

(4:3) Jonah had to be delivering God's Message of destruction to Nineveh. Now he wanted to die because their destruction wouldn't happen. How quickly Jonah had forgotten God's mercy on him when he was in the fish. He was happy when God saved him, but angry when Nineveh was saved. But Jonah was learning a valuable lesson about God's mercy and forgiveness. God's forgiveness was not only for Jonah or for Israel alone, it extends to all who repent and believe. Jonah may have been more concerned about his own reputation thean Gods',  He knew that if the people repented, none of his warnings to Nineveh would come true. This would embarrass him, although it would give glory to God. 

(4:5-8) God ministered tenderly to Jonah just as he did to Nineveh and to Israel, and just as he does to us, He could have destroyed Jonah for his defiant anger, but instead he gently taught him a lesson. If we will obey God's Word he will gently lead us. His harsh judgement is reserved for those who persist in rebellion.

(4:9) Jonah was angry at the death of the plant but not over what could have happened to Nineveh. Most of us have cried at the death of a pet or when an object of sentimental value is broken, but have we cried over the fact that a friend does not know God? How easy it is to be sensitive to our own interests than to the spiritual needs of people around us.

(4:10) Sometimes people wish that judgement and destruction would come upon sinful people whose wickedness seems to demand immediate punishment. But God is more merciful than we can imagine. He feels compassion for the sinners we want judged and he devises plans to bring them to himself. What is your attitude toward those who are especially wicked? Do you want them destroyed? or do you want them to experience God's Mercy and Forgiveness?

(4:11) God spared the sailors when they pleaded for mercy. God saved Jonah when he prayed from the belly of the fish. God saved the people of Nineveh when they responded to Jonah's preaching. God answers the prayers of those who call upon him, God will always work his will, and he desires that all come to him, trust in him, and be saved, We can be saved if we heed God's warnings to us through his Word. If we respond in obedience, he will be gracious, and we will receive his mercy, not his judgement

Dave Burnette's Life Application

A Loving Father

 Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue with the book of Jonah with Chapter 4. In our text today we see Jonah being angry at the mercy that God showed the enemies of Jonah grace. God loved Jonah too and lovingly discipline him with the gourd and the worm. In making application we see how the Lord is our loving father giving us discipline and grace according to the need in our life. How about you? Do you see how the Lord loves you just as a loving father deals with his children. Let us learn from our text today and see how the Lord loves us and ministers to us in grace and discipline according to our need just like a loving father. 


Jonah 4

Jonah 4

 1But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

 2And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

 3Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.

 4Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?

 5So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.

 6And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.

 7But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.

 8And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.

 9And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.

 10Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

 11And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?