Jonahs bad end

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Major lessons from Minor Prophets

How you end is more important that how you start.

Jonah is, for me, one of the most frustrating books in the bible.
In a wierd way, its one of my favorite books, but also one of my least favorite books.
Jonah had a bad start. God told him to preach to the Ninahvites, sworn anemies of Israel, and he was no intrested. he literally went in the opposite direction.
Now im not upset by his bad start. I get bad starts. I underdtand bad start, i have mad many bad starts.
The bible is full of hearos with bad starts.
Matthew was a tax collector.
Paul was a murder.
Rahab was a prostitute.
The list goes on.
What upsets me is the bad end.
It doesnet help that the book ends with a question without an answer either.
Bad endings upset me.
In all the cases of bad starts i mentioned, the ending is wonderful.
Matthew becomes a beloved disciple and even writes a gospel.
Paul becomes an Apostle to the gentiles and writes multiple NT books.
Rahab changes her life and ultimatly becomes the great, great, great, great gandmother of Jesus.
God has power and grace to change bad starts into beautiful endings.
Perhaps the best known of these is the Thief who was crucufied next to Jesus.
He admits that he is suffering justly for the crimes he commited, but at the end repents and puts his faith in Jesus Christ.
and his story ends with such beautigul words from Jesus:
Luke 23:43 ESV
43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
My problem with Jonah is that it has a 4th chapter.
If Jonah only had 3 chapter and the book eneded with the last verse of chapter 3 Jonah would have gone down as one of the greatest prophets of all time.
Yes he had a bad start, yes he ran from the Lord, but through a series of intervention miracles involing a whale Jonah eventually goes to Ninivah and preaches to them and the results are wonderful.
Jonah 3:10 ESV
10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
But no, it does not end with that because then we have chapter 4 which shows Jonah angry, bitter, misrible, sulking because God showed mercy on the Ninavites.
Jonah 4:1 ESV
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.
He is so upset that he contemplates suyicide asnd wants to die!
Jonah 4:3 ESV
3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Its such an anticlimax. Its so frustrating. I end up feeling like Jonah!
Lets look today at Jonah’s bad ending. Lets learn from his mistake so that we dont end up like him.

Mistake 1: Getting upset when God plans do not agree with your plans

Jonah 4:1–2 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.
Jonah had a plan for the Ninavites.
We dont know exacally what his plan for them was but im positive it involed fire, plagues, swarms of locuts and many, many deaths.
In Jonah’s mind his plan was without a doubt the best plan.
Most people are exacally like this”
Proverbs 21:2 ESV
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
Every single one of us truly belive that we are right in our plans, thoughts and opinions.
We are convinced that our idas are best.
Unfortinuatly God often has other ideas.
Isaiah 55:8 ESV
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
And so we have a problem: we are all potentual Jonah’s.
Because the chances are exceedingly high that the idea’s, plans and opinions you have sitting there right now, are not the same as God’s.
And to add insult, God is not going to consult you when he puts HIS plan into effect.
Isaiah 40:13–14 ESV
13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? 14 Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding?
Psalm 115:3 ESV
3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.
The fastest way to end bad is to not surrender to the will and plan of God.
You can trust his plans church.
Jeremiah 29:11 ESV
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
There is nothing wrong to have plans church, but the mature christians voices his plan, but submits it to ultimte plan of God.
No one showed us this better than the Lord Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus knew that his future would involve unbearible suffering and pain, and he voices his hope to avoid that if posible, but surrended his hope to the purposes of his father.
Matthew 26:39 ESV
39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
And then when it was shown that the Father plan to have Jesus crucified was going to place, Jesus fully submitted to that plan without any complaint.

Mistake 2: Getting your prioraties wrong.

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?”

Lets make sure we see the bizar behavior of Jonah.

He heard God’s voice calling him to Ninivah.
He saw the great storm cause brought of his getaway ship.
He drowned benith the water.
He saw the great whale God sent to swallow him.
He experience the power of God preserving him for 3 days in the fish.
He saw how God made the fish vomot him on the shors of Ninivah.
He saw how God moved through Ninivah bringing about mass repentance and spiritual revival.
And yet dispite all this the only thing Jonah cares about is his pot plant.
Thats it. Thats all he cares about.
No appreciation for his own salvation and prophetic calling.
No thanksgiving for God saving his life.
No joy for the people repenting.
Nope, im mad bercause my new pot plant was eaten by a worm.
So much matters in this book, in this story, yet Jonah is stressing about the very thing matters least,

Do you know how many people miss the good ending of the season because they are worrying and distracted over thing that actually dont matter.

At the moment of their victory, bitterness over trivial things steals it from them.
I have met so many people who i belive make the choice to be misrible.
And i say that because on any given day, they are upset over somthing that is the spiritual equavilent of a Jonahs stupid pot plant.
Couples forsake their happiness by fighting over the preverbial pot plant.
Carears are thron away for the pot plant.
Victory is snached away because of the pot plant.

What is the pot plant?

The pot plant is anyhthing that is not worth worrying, stressing, fighting over that people choose to worry, stress nd fight over.

Let me give you some examples of pot plants:

Your age is a pot plant.
Your weight, so long as you are healthy, is a pot plant.
How you look in geans is a pot plant.
Wheather or not you have vaxed is a pot plant.
The make of car you drive is a pot plant.
If you want to miss out on a good end to a hard season, get preoccupied by the condition of the pot plant.


Jonah was an incredible prophet.
He accomplished his mission and went to Ninevah.
But unfortinuatly, at least from his book, he never got a good ending.
He has the wrong attitude about God’s plan and he got distracted by his plant.
The last time we see this mighty prophet he is sitting in booth wishing he was dead.
I pray you laren from Jonah.
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