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Jonah 4 – The Unloving Men and the Loving God 约拿书 4 – 人不爱 神爱

Jonah 4 – The Unloving Men and the Loving God

Friday, 3rd March 2023

Rev Daniel Xi An Poon

Jonah had such extraordinary experiences that nobody might ever had, he almost drown in the sea, he spent three days and three nights in the stomach of the fish, he preached for one day and the whole city repented… God was pleased, Jonah’s mission was fulfilled, the city of Nineveh was saved… we thought this was the happy ending, so why is there a 4th chapter? It was not only the people of Nineveh that were stubborn, but Jonah was also very stubborn. He experienced so much miracles, yet he still ran away and quarrelled against God.

Section One V1-3 Live in Little Dramas

V1-2 ‘But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.”’ Jonah did not give thanks for the repentance of the city of Nineveh, instead, he was upset about how God did not destroy the wicked city. Even though Jonah did so much for God, but inside his heart, he still had a lot of his own voices. He knew who God is and he knew what God can do, but Jonah still ran away, he was still angry, because God did not allow him to do what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go.

V3 ‘Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!’ Jonah did not see what God was doing, he only saw the little dramas he was playing inside his own mind, and he only believed in these little dramas. God saved Jonah’s life again and again, God even used Jonah greatly to preach the words of repentance, but Jonah only saw himself. Jonah knew God’s attributes, he knew God was merciful, he knew God hears the prayers of people, and from the Books of Moses, Jonah knew well that God has mercy for His people Israelites.

A lot of times, we also know God in our head, but our lives don’t know God, we still live in our own little dramas playing inside our hearts, so we reacted rebelliously and stubbornly. Sometimes we can be so attracted to our little dramas, that we chose to stay in unforgiveness, in our anger, in our bitterness, and in our rebellious. We magnified our emotions, we tried to justify our actions, and we stop loving God.

Section Two V4-9 Rather Die Than Repentant

V4 ‘Then the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?”’ God was questioning Jonah, because everything he did only harmed himself and pulled himself away from God. God’s Will is always good for us, just like Deuteronomy 4:40 says, ‘You shall therefore keep His statutes and His commandments which I command you today, that it may go well with you and with your children after you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which the Lord your God is giving you for all time.’ When we follow God wholeheartedly, He will bless us and our children. God rules over everything, when we let God reign in our lives then God’s blessings will also come to us.

On the other hand, when we decide to be our own god, just like what Jonah was doing, to stay in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, then we would never receive blessings from Him, because we block this channel of blessings when we turn away from God. V5 ‘So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city.’ When we allowed our little dramas to take over our mind, then we would choose to run away, away from the presence of God and the blessings of God. Jonah pulled himself away from the Work of God, he became a spectator, he sat there and wanted to see what God would do.

V6 ‘And the Lord God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.’ When Jonah was setting up the tent, God allowed the plant to grow higher than Jonah. It was another miracle God was revealing to Jonah, another sign of love from God, but Jonah did not see God, he only saw the plant. It’s like us, very difficult to see God’s love for us, but very easy to complain to God about the problems we are facing.

V7 ‘But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.’ Why did God prepare the worm? Because He did not want to allow the plant to become Jonah’s god. When there is something that will stop us seeing God, then God will take it away. Our job, our money, or even people around us, might all become our gods. Job held onto God when everything else was taken away from him, what about us? Is there anything in life that has become our gods? God will take away the things that stop us worshipping Him and stop us coming to Him.

V8 ‘And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”’ Do we see that God has prepared everything for us? Or do we continue to complain about everything that happens to us? Psalms 61:7 says ‘He shall abide before God forever. Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!’ God prepares for us so we will not fall into the death trap. Do not think that we don’t need God, do not think that we can do everything by ourselves, but to see God’s Hands with us no matter what.

V9 ‘Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”’ Jonah was still stubborn; he was giving himself an excuse for being angry. But God reminded Jonah that there’s no blessings if he stayed in his anger. We don’t know what happened to Jonah afterwards, but here we see that Jonah chose to stay in his angry even to death.

Section Three V10-11 God Releases Mercy

V10 ‘But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not laboured, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night.”’ God was still talking to Jonah, because he could not see God’s power in the living and dying of the plant. Furthermore, Jonah was angry not because he was merciful to the plant, but because he did not have the plant to shadow over him. A lot of times, we choose to love those we love and we give ourselves excuses not to love those we don’t want to love. We are rebellious, we are stubborn, and we think we are ok with our status quo.

V11 ‘And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?’ God revealed His great love, He continued to show His love to His people and to show mercy to all His creations. Do we also have the same love and mercy as God? We should not only love those who are good to us but also those who are not good to us. We must have the same heart as the Father, to enter the flow of God, the flow of church, and the flow of our authority. We think that love is difficult, but God says His love is abundant. Let us learn to love, repent for our unloving heart, and love from the Father’s heart.

约拿书 4 – 人不爱 神爱                                                        

2023年3月3日 星期五



一、v.1-3 活在小剧场里

V1 约拿没有因为自己传福音有果效而感恩,反而“大大不悦,且甚发怒”- 这就是他心里的小剧场。他虽然愿意祷告、传福音,但他里面有很多的“我”- 他以为自己“知道”神。约拿心里很不服气,因为神没有按照约拿的期待去行。约拿一直靠着自己的感觉而活,看不见神的真光真理和大作为,因为他看重的是自己里面的小剧场。

V2-3 神之前拯救了约拿,但约拿没有珍惜这一切,只活在自己的小剧场里。约拿知道神是会转意(“后悔”)的神,就是会听祷告而转意的神。他头脑知道这些,却不明白这背后的缘故。我们没有紧紧抓住神,却抓住自己的小剧场不放手,认为自己不开心、生气、不听从神是对的。当我们活在小剧场里的时候,我们其实就是顽梗,因为我们不爱神,只爱自己。

二、v.4-9 宁死也不悔改

V4 “合乎理”原文是“得福”(申命记 4:40)。神对我们所怀的是要我们“得福”的意念。神说天上地下唯有他是神,他主宰一切(申命记 4:39)。然而约拿没有看到神是他的神,只想做自己的“神”,主宰自己前面的道路。当我们像约拿这样生气的时候,我们会“得福”吗?我们容许自己发怒,就是离开神本来要给我们的祝福。

V5 约拿“观看”尼尼微城,就是要看神是否说话算话。约拿知道神就算说了要降灾的话,他也会转意,因为神是有丰盛慈爱的神。

V6 虽然约拿态度恶劣,神仍对他施恩典。当约拿搭棚坐下的时候,神立刻让蓖麻为其长出,“救他脱离苦楚”。然而,约拿看到的不是神的爱,他只看到“蓖麻”。我们平时是否也是这样很难向神感恩?我们会觉得自己日常生活中经历的一切都是理所应当的,我们或许会为一件事情的发生而开心,却没有感谢背后成就事情、保守我们的神,因为我们里面有太多顽梗。

V7 神是忌邪的神,他安排虫子,因为他不要这蓖麻成为约拿的神。我们的生命里有什么阻挡了我们看到神,是金钱、地位、或是家庭、儿女?我们要学习约伯 – 他没有让自己所拥有的东西高过神,即使失去一切,他仍紧紧抓住神。我们若让任何人事物成为我们的神,或阻挡我们敬拜神,神就会将他们拿走。

V7-8a 神是“预备”的神。有时我们期待神给我们预备好的东西,但神也会预备环境,让我们真正经历他。

V8b 约拿当初在鱼腹中三天三夜的禁食祷告并没有处理自己求死的生命。圣灵来让我们为罪为义为审判自己责备自己,就是帮助我们处理生命深处阻止自己蒙福的问题。

V9 约拿觉得自己生气是对的,他以为自己这样做还能得福。他不愿意相信神的话 – 生气是会阻止人得福的。约拿选择的却是自己的想法。

三、v.10-11 神释放怜悯

V10 神彰显他的大爱。约拿选择不爱和不得福,是他自己的问题。他没有从蓖麻这件事上看到神,反而因为没有蓖麻而不开心。我们是否只用自己的喜好来主导自己的生命?平时是否只找自己喜欢的人一起吃饭?神要我们出去门训列国,可我们是否只跟那些让我们觉得舒服的人在一起,不愿意踏出去爱那些我们爱不下去的人?

V11 神对自己的创造物是有怜悯的,但约拿没有。我们是否有进入到神的水流 – 就是神的心意里?爱是辛苦的,但神知道爱是不容易的,在他有丰盛的预备。我们要为自己的不爱责备自己,悔改、回转,以神的眼光和心肠去爱周围的人。