1 CHRONICLES 17 ETC. – THE FORGOTTEN FACE OF A MAN WITH AN ATTITUDE – FORGOTTEN FACES #8 OF 8
We have all met people with good attitudes.
We have all met people with bad attitudes.
Have you noticed that good attitudes are contagious?
Have you noticed that bad attitudes are contagious…and that there are people who always have an “attitude”? Those are the people that we try to avoid.
The truth is, however, that we always have some sort of attitude.
It might be good or bad, active or passive, but we approach life with an attitude every day. And our attitudes are changeable. If there was ever a man with attitude in general and changeable attitudes in particular it is the Prophet Jonah. Jonah was a prophet of God who was called to go Nineveh and to prophesy against it. As you know, Jonah didn’t go at first. I believe that the little book of Jonah shows us at least four different attitudes that the prophet had. We can learn some lessons from Jonah about our own attitudes.
A REBELLIOUS ATTITUDE – Chapter 1
Vs. 1-2 – Jonah is a very honest prophet. He might not always have a good attitude, but Jonah does tell us the truth about his attitude through God’s inspiration of His Word. Jonah’s name means dove. Jonah is called to Ninevah, the capital city of Assyria. God called Jonah to go and preach against the city. As a prophet he had God’s message and was to deliver it.
Vs. 3 – Jonah makes his first mistake. Nobody can flee from the presence of the Lord, but he certainly tried. Jonah was rebelling against the clear will of God. We who have tasted the grace of God, should not rebel against the perfect will of God. Yet, we as Christians do it in big ways and small ways.
Vs. 4 – God does not let us get away with rebellion. He loves us too much. Proverbs 13:15
God makes the way of transgressors hard because He loves the transgressor. Proverbs 3:11-12
Vs. 5 – The storm was obviously the worst that any of these mariners had seen. They desperately called on their Gods. There was only one person who was sleep. That was the prophet of God who had a hardened heart and become insensitive. When we rebel against God, we are likely also to develop a hard heart which is not longer sensitive to or cares about the things of God.
Vs. 6 – The shipmaster was incensed that Jonah would be sleeping at such a time.
He should have been seeking God like the others.
Vs. 7 – There is no doubt that God is in the situation. He caused the lot to fall on Jonah.
Vss. 8-10 – They asked Jonah for a confession and he gave one.
He told them who he served and that he was running from his God.
The mariners were shocked. People are usually shocked when we do something they perceive as dumb. They aren’t as shocked if they do it themselves.
Vss. 11-12 – Although Jonah was running away from God, he didn’t seem to want to hurt others. He understood that God disciplining him, and that he was the one to be punished. He didn’t try to jeopardize everyone else because of his folly.
Vss. 13-14 – Give the mariners credit. They still tried to save Jonah. It was only when they realized that there was no other way that they threw Jonah overboard. And before they did, they prayed
Vss. 15-16 – You can imagine the shock of the mariners when they saw how quickly the sea settled down. This caused them to fear and to offer sacrifices and to vow vows.
Vs. 17 – It is interesting to note that the great fish was prepared by God for Jonah. I am reminded that even when we rebel, God is in charge of taking care of us, and he lays out just the right amount of discipline for us.
A REPENTANT ATTITUDE – Chapter 2
Vs. 1 – Jonah did not pray when he ran from God. It does not appear that Jonah prayed in the midst of the storm. But in the bottom of the fish’s belly, Jonah prayed.
Vss. 2-6 – We learn something important from Jonah.
Most of the words of Jonah’s prayer were not Jonah’s words. They were quotes from the Psalms. Jonah knew the Word of God. Jonah was evidently saturated with the Word of God. When Jonah started thinking on God and God’s Word, that’s when he began to pray.
He acknowledged that God was there, and that God was responsible for his care.
Vs. 7 – Jonah remembered the Lord. Jonah cried out to the Lord. When we have rebelled against the Lord and the Lord spanks us, this is what we need to do as well.
Vs. 8 – Jonah is showing repentance in this verse. He is admitting that he had rebelled against God, and that rebelling against means forsaking our own good.
Repentance is very important. Jonah would not have been spared unless he had repented.
We must realize that although we may pay a high price for rebelling against God, it is better to repent than to remain stubborn.
Vs. 9 – Notice Jonah’s faith. He believed that God heard him. He also promised to pay his vows, and true deliverance came from the Lord.
Vs. 10 – God delivered Jonah
A RESPONSIVE ATTITUDE – Chapter 3
The biggest miracle in this book is not Jonah being swallowed by the whale. The biggest miracle in this book is not huge gourd that grew in a day. The biggest miracle in this book is the greatest revival in the history of mankind.
Vss. 1-3 – God again called Jonah to go to Nineveh. This time Jonah did not hesitate to do as he was told. Nineveh was a huge city, perhaps numbering as high as a million people. It would have nice if Jonah had gone to Nineveh the first. But the important thing is that he went. The important thing for us to remember is that the most important thing we can be to God is readily, and joyfully obedient. We know according to Romans 12:2 that the word of God is good and acceptable and perfect.
Vss. 4-9 – Although Jonah was finally responsive to God, the people of Nineveh were more so. The repentance started even before the King called for repentance. I think the key is Vs. 5 in all of this. The people of Nineveh believed God. Can you imagine what changes would be made in America if Americans started to believe God?
Vs. 10 – Because the people responded to the preaching of Jonah, God did not bring judgment at that time. God’s warning of destruction was conditional. They would have been destroyed if they hadn’t repented. They chose to repent. At a later date, Nineveh was destroyed because it went back to its old ways.
A REPULSIVE ATTITUDE – Chapter 4
Vs. 1 – I know if a whole city turned back to God under my preaching, I would have been delighted. Jonah was not delighted. Some people would rather see them destroyed than saved. Such was the case of Jonah.
Vs. 2 – Jonah was a loyal Jew. He was very nationalistic The Assyrians had been very cruel to the Jewish people. Jonah, knowing God, as He did, was afraid that Nineveh would repent and that God would spare them. That’s why he didn’t want to go to Nineveh to preach.
Vss. 3-4 – Jonah became angry with God. That doesn’t make sense, but so often people, including Christians, get angry with God because God doesn’t do what they want Him to do.
In Vs. 4 we are reminded that it is never good to be angry with God.
In verses 3-8 Jonah goes out of town, setting up a watch to see if just maybe God might destroy Nineveh anyway. He builds a shack and God miraculously provides a gourd that provides shade. Jonah is very happy.Then God destroys the gourd. Jonah again wished that he could die. He was upset about the gourd.
Vs. 9 – Jonah even thinks that he has a right to be angry.
Vs. 10 – God makes his point. Jonah was concerned for the gourd for which he did not labor or make grow. It came and went in two days.
Vs. 11 – How much more should God care for Nineveh, a city that had 120,000 small children, and much cattle. God had more right to compassionate on Nineveh than Jonah did on the gourd.