The Sulking Servant
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The Sulking Servant

From Series: Man Overboard

Jonah 4:1-11  (ID: 2176)

One might think that Jonah would have celebrated after Nineveh’s miraculous revival. Instead, he bitterly sulked. Having been the recipient of God’s compassion, he still found fault and became angry with God for displaying the same divine grace to those he felt didn’t deserve it. As the Bible reminds us, though, God does not play favorites. His grace is for all—which, as Alistair Begg warns us, means that Christians are not free to choose “worthy” and “unworthy” candidates to receive it.


Jonah's Anger and the Lord's Compassion

1But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,1 and he was angry. 2And 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. 3Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

5Jonah 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. 6Now the Lord God appointed a plant2 and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.3 So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8When 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.” 9But 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.” 10And 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. 11And 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?”

Copyright © 2020, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.