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Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, a Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.

However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.

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May 28, 2017


SCRIPTURE: Jonah 4:1-11


KEY VERSE: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle? (Jonah 4:11)


INTRODUCTION: We have been looking at the life and experience of the Old Testament prophet Jonah.


A. All of us should be able to identify personally with Jonah.


1. God called Jonah to complete a specific task, and he chose to rebel against the Lord.


2. God wasn't satisfied with Jonah's answer.


3. God began to pursue him…


4. Even though Jonah tried to get as far away from God as he could, God loved him and pursued him through (1) the storm, (2) the sailors, and (3) through the fish.


B. When Jonah repented (turned around in his thinking and in his action) he obeyed God's will and went to Nineveh to preach just as God had originally told him.


1. In chapter one, we saw Jonah running FROM God.


2. In chapter two we saw Jonah running BACK to God.


3. In chapter three we saw Jonah OBEYING God.


4. Now in chapter four we see Jonah LEARNING from God.


Ø Our view of God has been:


1. His great PATIENECE.


2. His abundant PARDON.


3. His mighty POWER.


4. Now His compassionate PITY.




A. Jonah was very upset and angry. (Jonah 4:1)


(Jonah 4:1) But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.


1. You would have thought that he would have been happy.


2. Many of the prophets wept as they delivered their message and no one responded.


3. Jonah witnessed one of the greatest events ever recorded in history.

4. He saw an entire city repent of their evil ways!


B. Jonah complained about the results. (Jonah 4:2)


(Jonah 4:2) And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.


1. Many preachers tend to complain a little when they seemingly have no results from their preaching.


2. Noah preached for 100 years or more and only eight folks entered the ark.


3. Jeremiah proclaimed the message of God for over 40 years and saw no visible results.


4. Jonah reveals here the real reason that he attempted to flee to Tarshish.


a. He knew God was a gracious and merciful God.


b. He knew that God was patient with the sinful and disobedient.


c. He knew that God would change His mind about destroying the city if they repented from their sins.


d. He was aware of the character of God because he was a Jew.


e. God had proved Himself over and over to the nation of Israel.


C. Jonah begged God to let him die. (Jonah 4:3-4)


(Jonah 4:3-4) Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry?


1. He simply could not reconcile himself to the gracious will of God.


2. He would rather die than see God spare this enemy of Israel.


3. The language here is much the same as we have seen before.


a. From Moses when he was burdened by the unbelief of the nation of Israel.


b. From Elijah when he was burdened and weary because the nation of Israel had forsaken God.


c. From Jonah comes not an attitude of despair over a nation turning away from God, but an attitude of regret that a people turned to God!


II. A CARING GOD. (Jonah 4:5-11)


A. The gourd and the worm. (Jonah 4:5-7)


(Jonah 4:5-7) So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.


1. We find Jonah sitting down outside the city.


a. He went out there still hoping that God would destroy it.


b. He made himself a shelter out of branches and vines to keep out of the hot sun.


2. God prepared a gourd to come up.


a. This was probably a castor oil plant that is native to the area and has very large leaves, which would have provided plenty of shade.


b. This made Jonah very happy.


c. Notice that seeing an entire city repent and turn to God did not please him -- but this trivial plant made him “exceedingly glad.”


3. God prepared a worm.


a. The worm apparently ate through the stem of the vine causing it to wither in the hot morning sun.


b. Notice that God was the one who prepared both the gourd and the worm that destroyed it.


c. It was none of Jonah's doing.


B. The wind and the sun. (Jonah 4:8)


(Jonah 4:8) And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.


1. God prepared the wind.


a. It was 'vehement' or strong and harsh.


b. It was from the east which was known for its scorching heat.


2. Jonah had lost his shelter.


a. The sun beat down upon his head as the scorching wind blew.


b. It was so hot that he fainted.


c. Again he tells God it would be better if he would just die!


3. We see Jonah feeling sorry.


a. He felt sorry for himself.


b. He felt sorry for the vine that withered and died.


c. But he felt no sorrow for the souls of the people of Nineveh.


INSIGHT: God used a preacher, who didn't care for the people, to bring salvation to a lost and dying city-God will bless-the message of His Word.


C. God explains the “object lesson.” (Jonah 4:9-11)


1. God reveals Jonah's anger. (Jonah 4:9)


(Jonah 4:9) And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.


a. He asked Jonah if what happened to the gourd was making him angry.


b. Jonah said he was so upset over it he wanted to die!


INSIGHT: When God asks questions; it isn't because He is looking for information…He uses questions to reveal things to us!


2. God reveals Jonah's shallow concern. (Jonah 4:10)


(Jonah 4:10) Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:


a. Jonah had pity upon the gourd.


b. Jonah had no part in the development of the vine or in the destruction of it.


3. God reveals the mind of God (Jonah 4:11)


(Jonah 4:11) And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?


a. If Jonah was justified in being so concerned over a vine that he had no part in, then.


b. How much more was God justified in His concern over the souls of

the people in Nineveh?


c. This was His creation -- and He loved them and pitied their lost condition.


d. The destruction of the city would be devastating for there were over 120,000 children. (who cannot discern).


e. God seemed to say to Jonah, "If you aren't concerned with 500,000 lost souls -- -at least think of the children and the cattle!'


Getting It Right On The Inside
By Joe Stowell


Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? -- Jonah 4:4


·        I love the story of Jonah! It’s full of drama and important life lessons.


After stubbornly refusing to do God’s will, Jonah finally preached a revival service in Nineveh that would have made him one of the most successful missionaries of his time.


When the people repented and turned from their wicked ways -- and when God relented and turned from His anger against them -- you would have expected Jonah to rejoice. Instead, he was angry that God was merciful.


Why? Although he was finally obeying God by doing the right thing in the right place, he was deeply flawed on the inside.


·        Like Jonah, if we are not careful, we can be spiritually “looking good” on the outside, but far from God in our hearts.


He is most interested in what we are like on the inside. His Word is “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit” (Hebrews 4:12).


With it, He performs divine surgery to remove the greed, dishonesty, hatred, pride, and selfishness that live in the deep shadows of our hearts.


·        So the next time the Holy Spirit convicts you and asks you about your bad attitude (see Jonah 4:4) -- listen carefully.


Surrender and let God change you from the inside out.


I confess, heavenly Father, that I know what it’s like
to be more concerned about my outward obedience
my inner rebellion. I want to look good to others.
Forgive me. Change me and make me pure within.


 -- Adapted from Joe Stowell, Our Daily Bread, June 4, 2012


CONCLUSION: Now, today you may be saying to yourself,…


A. "Thanks teacher, that was a great story…shame on that selfish, rebellious, prejudiced, angry, preacher Jonah!"


1. But if you are thinking that or something similar, then you are missing the thrust of this Bible message!


(James 1:23-25) 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.


B. When we look into the Word of God, James says it is like looking into a mirror.


1. We see a reflection of what we are, and of what we should be.


2. We get so concerned and upset over such trivial matters.


3. We'll sit and watch some silly movie and tears will well up in our eyes, but we seem so unconcerned when we look upon the multitudes without Christ.


4. We get so excited over some sports event that lasts for just a few minutes, and are unconcerned over reaching lost souls who will exist throughout eternity.


THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “If God controls you on the inside, you’ll be genuine on the outside.”


* * *


REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.



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