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REACHING THE WORLD FOR JESUS

May God bless the Pastors and Bible Teachers all over the world, we thank God that Sermons to the World is now reaching 148 countries and all 50 States and The District of Columbia in the U.S.

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Mission: To be a resource to Pastors and Bible teachers in spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ around the world. – Sermons to the World

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Vision: To reach the world on the internet to fulfill the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19-20 – “to go into all the world and teach all nations”.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

JONAH AND THE WORM



By Pastor Mark Taylor

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9

Jonah is an incredible book about the grace of God to receive back to Himself those who have fallen and then returned to God.  

“Jonah builds himself a little shelter against the sun and the hot wind, and God is gracious to him and he “provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 
But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"  "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city.” Jonah 4:1-11

Nineveh prays for deliverance; Jonah hopes for destruction.  Jonah goes outside the city, builds a private retreat and becomes a spectator waiting for God to destroy the city.  When God has mercy, Jonah becomes very angry at God.

God goes to incredible lengths to communicate to Jonah.  God provides an additional shelter to Jonah’s.  It is a kind of vine with broad leaves and it is a comfort for Jonah.
For the first time in this narrative, Jonah is happy. He is absolutely delighted.
He is perfectly happy to be the beneficiary of God’s concern.  It is a wonderful relief!

But just as soon as God provides the vine, he also provides a worm that destroys the plant.  Then the heat of the desert comes, a blasting wind out of the east with severely hot temperatures.  Jonah is scorched and dehydrated.  And once again Jonah is angry…and ready to die.

But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.”

This is Jonah’s problem, for he is not seeing the world as God sees it.  And Jonah is not seeing himself as God sees him.  Feelings become more important than faith. Jonah got his feelings hurt.  Feelings can control you and defeat you.

Jonah values a plant, but does not care about a whole nation. He is angry about the death of a plant over which he never had any control. He is absorbed in a self-centered pettiness while watching a lost nation on a one way track to destruction.
As far as he was concerned, mercy was all right for him to receive, but not for that city.
So while God was into reconciliation, Jonah was into retaliation.

Maybe God has not answered all your prayers like you have wanted, and you have become angry at Him.  Maybe you were comfortable in your life and a worm came and destroyed the thing or things that were making you comfortable.  Possibly God has blessed someone that you do not feel deserved His blessings.  

“God is loving and compassionate to all of us: It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.”  Lamentations 3:22.  But sometimes God has to send a worm to eat our shade tree to show us that we are wrong in our thinking and in our life decisions.

“The Lord is merciful and gracious,  Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:8

Some important lessons God is trying to show us in this Chapter of God’s Word are:

GOD’S LOVE IS FOR ALL PEOPLE.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES, EVEN WHEN I AM ANGRY WITH HIM.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES EVEN WHEN I DISAGREE WITH HIM.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES EVEN WHEN I AM SELFISH.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES EVEN WHEN I STOP COMMUNICATING WITH HIM.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES EVEN WHEN I AM CONSTANTLY “UP-AND-DOWN” IN MY LIFE.
GOD’S LOVE NEVER CHANGES EVEN WHEN I AM DEFENSIVE AND REFUSE TO CHANGE.
GOD’S LOVES ME EVEN WHEN I SELFISHLY CHOOSE NOT TO LOVE OTHERS WITH THE SAME LOVE GOD LOVES ME.

Try to see God from His viewpoint and understand that worms that destroy things in our lives should drive us toward God and not away from His loving care.  We don’t know what happened to Jonah or if he ever got over his anger.  But we do have an opportunity each day to ask for God’s forgiveness and allow Him to create new vines for us to rest beneath.

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