Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 161 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Jonah 4 today and our focus is The Wonderful Mercy of God!  We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in  Thanks for listening!  Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\

Today we continue the story of Jonah, and we’ve skipped chapter 3, so allow me to summarize what we missed. Jonah went through the streets of the mighty city of Nineveh with a very simple message: In just a few days, Nineveh will be overthrown! I’ve always sort of visualized Jonah preaching that message half-heartedly, but since Jesus at least mentions the preaching of Jonah, it may be that he put all his heart into it. We don’t know, but we do that something unexpected and astonishing happened: Nineveh repented of their sins, at least for a time. They tore their clothes and humbled themselves and God had mercy on them. Mission accomplished, Joney, right? Well, Jonah is NOT happy with Nineveh being spared…in fact, he is downright angry and petulant and whiny about it, and in the midst of Jonah’s pouting, we learn some wonderful truths about the character of God. Let’s read our chapter!

Why was Jonah so angry? Here’s pastor Tim Keller with an answer:

“And Jonah was exceedingly displeased …” and he says, “I am angry, ‘… angry enough to die.’ ” Come on! Wait a minute here! Do artists get exceedingly angry when their art is chosen for display at the Met? Do musicians get exceedingly angry when they’re asked to do recitals at Carnegie Hall? Do ball players get exceedingly angry when they’re promoted to the majors? Well, why would a preacher get exceedingly angry when, as a response to his preaching, he’s actually turned a culture away from violence, oppression, and wickedness to the living God?
The answer is  the love of God. The whole chapter is about God’s love. As a matter of fact, you see, that’s what Jonah says he is so angry about. He says, “ ‘O LORD … That is why I was so quick to flee … I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love …’ ”
What is he doing? He says, “God, I do not understand how your love operates. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).

What do we learn about God’s love and compassion here? We learn that God is gracious and compassionate and abounding in mercy for the lost – those who don’t know Him…AND for sinning saints who do know Him like Jonah! Again, pastor Tim Keller helps us see the patience of God towards believers:

Jonah’s life depends on the patience of God’s love. Jonah has fallen back into the very same sin that God spent the whole rest of the book trying to deliver him from, and he admits it! He says, “Yep! That’s really what I was doing to start with. I’m mad at you, God.” He falls right back into it.
The only thing keeping Jonah from oblivion at this point is the patience of God.  
What do we learn about the patience of God? Simply this: The key teaching of the book of Jonah (at least in this chapter) is that fruitful Christians, prominent Christians can fall back into old patterns of sin and self-deception so that only the patient love of God stands between us and oblivion. God’s patient love is such that he will always bring us back. We’re taught about the patient love of God here because Jonah is a perfect example (and this is the teaching).
Hear this teaching? Here is the point: Prominent and fruitful Christians can fall back into patterns of sin and self-deception. Now Jonah is a perfect example of it. You have to remember not only has he gone a tremendous spiritual accomplishment in Nineveh, but he also had a narrow experience just a couple of verses ago. He was saying, “I’ve almost died because I denied my God and almost destroyed everything. My racism, how I hated Nineveh, my foolishness, my self-righteousness … All of these things almost destroyed everything. What a narrow escape! I repent, O Lord. I’ll never do that again. I’ll never do that again.” And here he is back.

Timothy J. Keller, The Timothy Keller Sermon Archive (New York City: Redeemer Presbyterian Church, 2013).


Bible Memory verses for the month of June: Daniel 6:23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to take Daniel out of the den. When Daniel was brought up from the den, he was found to be unharmed, for he trusted in his God.

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