Seeing through God's View

Perspective  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings

After delivering the message to the Ninevites to repent from their evil ways, Jonah goes East of the city and examines to see if God will carry out destruction upon the people. Jonah cries out in frustration and tells the Lord why we fled to Tarshish, for he knew God is full of grace and truth. In this message, God's people empowered to embody the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ and spread it to everyone in their community.

Welcome to our final message from our series Perspective from the book of Jonah, if you have been with us for the last four weeks, hopefully, you’ve learned that it must better to listen and obey God rather than running away. My prayer in this series is for church to begin the process of swapping out our earthy, worldly vision for a heavenly one.
Speaking of vision, I had a dream last week that I couldn’t see, everything surrounding me was like a foggy haze and I believed it was God’s way of saying to me. Go get your eyes check, and then I scheduled an appointment with Walmart in Caro on Monday. After doing a 30 minute examination, the docter Steve said, “I’m going to write you up for a pair of prescription glasses.” So now I want to apologize to everyone I ever made fun of for wearing glasses especially for the first Sunday I made everyone swap out your glasses with their neighbor. But now wearing them for myself, I do believe glasses are a gift from God. Taking off my glasses everything is fuzzy and not as clear and once I place them on my face I can see and the same happen when the church is seeing through God’s view then we truly start focusing on what matters.
My prayer in this series is for church to begin the process of swapping out our earthy, worldly vision for a heavenly one. Speaking of vision, I had a dream last week that I couldn’t see, everything surrounding me was like a foggy haze and I believed it was God’s way of saying to me. Go get your eyes check, and then
Continuing the story of Jonah, we read last Sunday of the power of the word of God has on penetrating the hearts of Ninevites to change them, because once Jonah obeyed God’s command to began his prophetic ministry in the great city of Nineveh the people embraced the message. Everyone who heard responded to Jonah’s message, “Yet in forty days, Nineveh shall be overthrown,” by believing God and coming to a heartfelt repentance from their violence. Then the whole city by the order to the king of Nineveh, made a decree for every living thing to fast, no food or water and in hope everyone would call out to God for receive mercy.
When God saw their violence overthrown by their own free will, he then decided to relent from the disaster upon Nineveh. The people of Nineveh has a new God, and it was the God of Israel. Now, we witness the Jonah’s response to God’s decision to spare his Israel’s enemies from destruction. If you have your bibles you can open to Jonah chapter four.
Jonah 4:1-
Jonah 4:1–4 ESV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
Jonah is livid, “I can’t believe God is sparing my enemies.” In his frustration Jonah tells God why he never wanted to go to Nineveh in the first place. “It’s because I know who you are!”
I think we all have felt like Jonah, there are certain people we avoid because we know who they are, like our co-workers, that weird uncle that everyone has, or possibly a person from the community. But for Jonah he knew who God was and that he is perfect. Not like us flawed individuals, but full of grace, mercy, and slow to anger, and steadfast love.
That is why he fled away from the presence of God and in his anger we wanted to die. This isn’t the first time Jonah wanted to die, because we read earlier Jonah proposed to the sailors to throw him overboard and for him to be swallowed up by the sea.
This isn’t the first time Jonah wanted to die, because we read earlier
Then the Lord, said something that all husbands hear from their wives. “Do you do well to be angry?”
But we have to ask the question, “How did Jonah know that God is what he said he was?” Couldn’t he be wrong about the Lord? Maybe God is full of wrath and wields the sword on everyone who disobeys him. How could Jonah be sure?
Jonah and the church can be confident in knowing who God is through the Lord’s encounter with Israel back when he delivered his people from bondage of slavery. Roughly four thousands years ago, God led a nation of Hebrews out of the back breaking nation of Egypt ruled by a tyrant called Pharaoh. Who cared nothing about the Hebrews well being, only for him to build his nation and become one of the most powerful men in the world.
Once God lifted up his servant Moses from the land, he called his people to be released and find freedom in the promise land of Canaan. Where God would then establish a covenant with his people. At mount Sinai, Moses arises to the top of the mountain and God gave him the law. But during that time of caring for the people, God comes to meet Moses and declares this.
Exodus 34:5–7 ESV
5 The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
Ex 34:5
This is how we know who God is, by his words and action to free the Hebrews from the bondage of Egypt. Then we see God grace and mercy revealed not to much later because the people of God at the foot of the mountain become impatient with Moses and soon rebel and mold a golden calf idol to worship. God in his steadfast love, forgives them and extends his grace and mercy to his the people who he just recently saved.
And the same God who is gracious and full of mercy comes to us through fully revealed to humanity through the incarnation, he is Emmanuel - God with us. God in the flesh demonstrates his grace and mercy by giving them what they didn’t deserve. His love which we find this in gospel accounts.
Matthew 9:3
Matthew 9:35–36 ESV
35 And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.
That is why we can have confidence in knowing who our God is through his love, grace, and mercy throughout the OT and NT.
With that in mind, Jonah is burning with anger because of who God is and he is hoping in his heart that perhaps the Ninevites would return to sin and violence.
And Jonah rather being exceedingly glad for knowing who God is,he is angry to the point of death. So the Lord plans a teaching lesson for Jonah.
Jonah 4:5–11 ESV
5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. 6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” 9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 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. 11 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 4:5-
Construction a shelter from the harsh heat, Jonah awaits the Ninevites to be destroyed by the hand of God, but God raises up plant to cool Jonah and eventually sends a worm to kills it plants, bring out Jonah’s frustration because of the heat of the day.
Jonah yells out again that he wishes for death and God in his wisdom explains teaches Jonah chose to have favorites because of his love for plant but hatred for the Ninveites. And the story ends there, we have no idea what happens next is Jonah changed his perspective. But I believe the point of the story, “What are we doing to do if were Jonah?”
Are we going have pity on God’s creation? Even the people who do not know their right hand from their left? Would we choose to become like our God who is gracious and full of mercy, and filled with steadfast love or will hold onto our bitterness and resentment towards those outside of God’s will, who are lost and without hope?
For if we the church have the perspective of Christ, we see people as they are harassed and helpless and without a shepherd. We will value them even if they are enemy. We will choose to love them unconditionally and show compassion to them. If they are naked, we will cloth them, hungry, we will feed them, thirsty, we will give them drink, sick and in prison, we will visit them. Our heavenly perspective will recognize all people are made in the image of God and because of that we will go out of our way to show them our God.
In this world today, outsider don’t need more Jonah like prophets wishing for all sinners to be destroyed, they need Jesus people - people who care about their well being and point them to the God who can redeem them from their lifestyle of sin and death.
What the world really needs is for the church to show Jesus' grace and mercy by living a life exampling the character of God. The church needs to be a living representation of our God in the flesh. That comes with doing ministry of reconciliation and letting them see our transformed heart. Like the old cliche goes, “They won’t care what you say, until they know that you care.” For the church to really make a difference in the world we need to become like our God.
Jesus shows us what mercy and grace looks like, it’s self dying to ourselves and serving and loving others. Christ ultimate expression of mercy and grace is found at the foot of the cross. As Christ hung on the tree, he cried, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Out of who God is, he gave us a gift that none of here has earned. The Ninevites recieved a second chance because of who God is and did we who have followed Jesus by believing, repenting, confessing, and been baptized into water. This is God’s heart of everyone Christian, for we extend mercy and grace because we have recieved it from God first.
The week, what extending mercy and grace could look like in your life.
(1) Forgiving others (2) Holding back vengeance (3) Offering up your money and time (4) Loving the unlovable (5) Putting others before ourselves

Spread God's grace and mercy in your community.

Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more