Jonah, chapter number 3. This morning I preached on Jonah, chapters 1 and 2, and so we're picking up the story where we left off, in chapter 3 here. The Bible reads in verse number 1, "And the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, 'Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.'" So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey, and Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, "Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown." So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them, and word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Now, this story really tells us about two people that are being corrected, Jonah is corrected by God because he was told in chapter 1, "Go preach to Nineveh." He refused to do it, so then God brought punishment to Jonah in the form of the storm that came upon his ship, him being thrown overboard, swallowed by a whale, being in the belly of that whale for three days and three nights, and then being vomited up. Now that Jonah has gone through that correction, through that chastening, now he's obeying the Lord and going to Nineveh, as he was originally told to.
Now, the other man who's being corrected in this passage is the king of Nineveh, the one who was a very wicked and sinful man, and he was the leader of a sinful nation, but the difference between the way these two men receive correction is huge, because Jonah is corrected and his heart is still not right. He goes and goes through the motions and preaches just because he's afraid of what God's gonna do to him, since God already put him in the whale for three days and three nights. As we read in the story, you're going to see that his heart hasn't changed at all. Whereas, the king of Nineveh actually has a real change of heart, and he actually is a good example of how to receive correction. Whereas, Jonah is a bad example of how to receive correction.
The Bible says, in verse number 6, "For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes, and he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king, and his nobles, saying, "Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing. Let them not feed, nor drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God. Yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?"
One of the ways that the king of Nineveh shows his humility and his change of heart is by proclaiming a fast and putting on sackcloth. Now let me read for you some scriptures on this. If you would, flip over to 1 Corinthians, chapter number 11. While you're turning to 1 Corinthians 11, I'll read for you Psalm 35:13, the Bible reads, "But as for me, when they were sick my clothing was sackcloth. I humbled my soul with fasting, and my prayer returned into mine own bosom." We see this statement in Psalms, "I humbled my soul with fasting. In Psalms 69, verse 10, the Bible reads, "When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach." Of these two scriptures in Psalms, one says "I humbled my soul with fasting," and the other says, "I chastened my soul with fasting."
Now, look down at your Bible there in 1 Corinthians 11, verse 30, "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep, for if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged, but when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord that we should not be condemned with the world." Notice, he says, if we would judge ourselves we would not be judged, but when we're judged we're chastened of the Lord. One of those ways that we can judge ourselves, or chasten our own soul, is through fasting. That's a way that we can humble ourself before the Lord. Of course, fasting is when we abstain from eating food. Sometimes fasting also involves abstaining from food and water, but that's a more extreme fasting that would be done for a shorter period of time.
The Bible talks about fasting as a way to humble oneself before God, and the Bible says that if we would judge ourselves then we would not be judged. A lot of times the reason why God has to come down hard on us and chastens us is because we don't discipline ourselves, we don't chasten ourselves. Obviously, I'm not talking about beating yourself like a Catholic would do. The Bible never teaches that nonsense of self beating. The Bible does teach prayer, supplication, fasting, and afflicting our souls before God.
Go to Joel, chapter 2, the book of Joel is another one of the minor prophets, just a few pages to the left of the book of Jonah. Joel, chapter 2 talks about this in verse 12. It says, therefore, also now sayeth the Lord, "Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning." We're in Joel, chapter 2, verse 13, "And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God. Rend means to tear. People would tear their garments and put on sackcloth. Here he says, "Rend your heart, and not your garments." He wants then to be humble. He wants them to weep over their sin. What does He want? For them to feel bad about the bad things that they've done, to feel sorry about what they've done.
He says that they should fast, that they should mourn, and that they should rend their heart, and not your garments, He said, "And turn unto the Lord your God, for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil." Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him, even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God? What's the Bible saying? When God's going to judge us for our sins, when we've done wrong, when we've committed sin and God's angry, if we will humble ourselves, if we will fast, if we will pray, rend our hearts and turn unto the Lord God, He will be merciful to us, He will go easy on us, he'll turn away from the fierceness of His wrath, He will repent of the evil, the Bible says. Evil means harm. It's saying that He'll repent of the harm that He was going to do unto you.
Whereas, if we are stiff-necked, prideful, and arrogant, He's going to cloud up and rain on us and punish us severely. As the Bible says, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Here the Bible continues in verse number 15, Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast. Call a solemn assembly, gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts. Let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them." Wherefore should they say among the people, "Where is their God? Then will the Lord be jealous for his land, and pity His people.
Over and over again the message of the Bible is that if people would actually feel bad about the wrong things that they've done, actually acknowledge their sins, be sorry for it, repent, turn unto the Lord God, then He will be merciful unto His people, and he'll go easy on the chastening, and He will repent of the evil that He had thought to do unto the people, and He'll do it not. Look at 2 Chronicles, chapter number 7, famous scripture. In 2 Chronicles, chapter number 7, because remember, "If we would judge ourselves then we should not be judged, but when we're judged we're chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world."
The Bible says in 2 Chronicles, chapter 7, verse 13, "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people, if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. You see, when we know that we've done wrong, when we know that we've sinned, we need to go to God, confess it, and forsake it, and we need to go to Him not with a cavalier, flippant attitude of, "Well, I sinned but so what, everybody sins." No, we need to go to Him broken. We need to rend our heart. We need to feel bad about it. We need to weep before the Lord, maybe even fasting, mourning, depending on the severity of what we've done, and take our sin seriously, because it's a big deal to God.
This is how we find mercy from God. Not only on just an individual basis as believers, but this is how a nation gets mercy from God. When He looks at a nation and says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves." That takes place in the heart and that's evidenced by the fasting and the sackcloth, etc. He says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." The only way that our land tonight is going to be healed, in the United States of America, is if we turn from our wicked ways tonight.
Pastor Anderson: That's what needs to happen. Singing God Bless American, praying unto the Lord God without turning from our wicked ways, God's not listening, because God said, "When they turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, then will I forgive their sin and heal their land." If we want God to heal the United States of America, we can't just continue walking in sin, and filth, and iniquity and just expect, "Well, if we talk a lot about God and Jesus, and if we talk a lot about the gospel, that's going to fix things. No, it isn't, you have to turn from the wicked way in order to salvage the physical nation. Now this is where people get confused between personal salvation, spiritual salvation in the sense of going to heaven, versus physical temporary salvation upon this earth. What do I mean by that?
Well, our nation is not one organism that has a soul, is it? It's a great group of people, okay. Within that nation there are people that are saved, and there are people who are not saved. Whether-or-not those people are saved is based upon whether-or-not their faith and trust is in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. That's the only thing it's based on, because the Bible says, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Bible says, "He that believeth on Him is not condemned, but He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
So many scriptures talk about the fact that, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." Our salvation in the sense of going to heaven, in the sense of having eternal life, is based on one thing, faith in Jesus. It's not based on our works. It's not based on our deeds. We've all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but we are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. That term, justified, a good way to remember it is, just as if I'd never sinned."
Pastor Anderson: "Blessed is the man," the Bible says, "to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and and whose sins are covered." Just as if I'd never sinned. Justified, declared righteous in the eyes of God, by faith through grace, not of works, lest any man should boast. Just to make sure that we're clear on that, that's personal salvation, but when it comes to a nation being blessed by God, believing in Jesus isn't enough.
Pastor Anderson: When you believe in Jesus Christ, you're saved, and you're going to heaven, but does that mean God's going to bless your life if you continue living in sin? No, because the Bible says, "Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. You can be a son of God, have eternal life, be saved by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, but that doesn't mean that you're going to be blessed by God. If you're living a life of sin, you're going to be chastened by God, right? Now, here's the thing. A nation doesn't have a soul that's going to heaven or hell. It's filled with individuals, and they have souls that are going to heaven and hell, respectively, but a nation is just either judged in this life to be a nation that God can bless, or it's judged as a nation that God is going to curse, and chasten, and bring discipline upon, okay. When it comes to straightening out a nation, it's by works.
Pastor Anderson: It's by turning from the wickedness, turn from the evil way and do what's right. When it comes to you getting the blessings of God on your life, it's all based upon your deeds. It's based upon you turning from the evil way, humbling yourself, okay, obeying the commandments of the Lord, that's how you get the blessing, okay. People are mixing up sometimes salvation and eternal life. They're mixing that up with blessings in our life, or blessings upon a nation. If every single person in this nation said, "I believe in Jesus, and even if every person in this nation truly believed in Jesus in their heart, but if the abortion continued, if the drunkenness continued, if the fornication, God would not bless it. In fact, He'd judge it even more harshly because He'd say, "You should know better, you're Christians, you're saved, you're believers." We have to understand the difference between a nation being spared physical judgment and an individual person's salvation, where they're spared hell and they're going to heaven. Two totally different things.
Pastor Anderson: We need to differentiate that. Now go, if you would, to Jonah, chapter 3, with that in mind, Jonah, chapter 3 where we were. We are going to see in a moment another major difference between these two men that are being corrected. The first difference we see is a difference in heart. The king of Nineveh he rended his heart, he was really sorry, he was really humble, he really chastened his soul with fasting, and that's why he and his nation were spared physical judgment. Jonah, on the other hand, although he did go through the motions and do what God told him to do, his heart is still not right, and I'm going to prove that to you in a moment. Look, if you would, at the book of Jonah, chapter number 3. The Bible says, in verse 9, "Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" Almost the exact wording from Joel, chapter 2, when we talked about fasting, and being sorry, and humbling yourself.
Look what it says in verse 10, "And God saw their works." So, what did God see? Their works, okay. Now, yes, if we go up a few scriptures here, a couple verses here in the scripture, it does say in verse 5, "The people of Nineveh believed God." Okay, that's their faith, right? Now, faith is what gets us into heaven on a personal individual basis, but is that going to spare their nation from judgment if they continue in lies, robbery, blood, murder, and deceit, the things that God had said about Nineveh? No. That's not going to fix it. God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them, and he did it not.
Why did God not judge Nineveh? Because He saw their works, okay. He saw that they straightened things out. They turned from the violence, they turned from their evil way, and they got right with God. Now, a lot of people, again, will try to mix this and here's what they'll say, "In order to be saved you have to repent of your sins to be saved," they'll say. But wait a minute, what does the Bible say here? The Bible says, "God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way." According to the Bible turning from your evil way is works.
Congregation: Yeah. Right.
Pastor Anderson: It doesn't say, "God saw their faith, that they turned from their evil," no, no, it says, "God saw their works," because turning from your evil way is works. If somebody tells you, "Hey, salvation is by turning from your sins and believing on Jesus," here's what they're saying, "It's works and faith." That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says we're saved by faith, not of works. The Bible says, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness, even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works."
We see here that when it comes to the nation physically being spared it took works, okay, but don't try to mix works with salvation or you're not saved because you have to believe that it's by faith. You can't trust your own works and your own deeds to save you. Salvation cannot be earned by our deeds. It's purchased by the blood of Christ, and it's received as a free gift by grace through faith. If somebody says, "Hey, you got to turn from your sins to be saved, you're bringing in works now, you just added works. That's what the Bible says here in Jonah 3:10. Now, flip over if you would. Keep your finger in Jonah, we'll be back there. Go to Matthew 12, because Matthew 12 is the scripture that mentions the story. We looked at it this morning for a different reason when we were talking about the scripture about the Son of Man being three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Let's back up a little bit in the story and see another major difference between Jonah and the king of Nineveh. If we back up just a few verses in chapter 12 to verse 38. Matthew 12:38, the Bible reads, Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, "Master, we would see a sign from thee." But he answered and said unto them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas, for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonas, and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here."
What's he saying here? They're asking for a sign. They want to see a miracle and they're basically saying, "If we see the miracle then we'll believe." He said that it's an evil and adulterous generation that seeketh after a sign. If you would, go to 1 Corinthians 1. He says, an evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas, for as Jonas," in the same way as Jonah, "was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it." It says, "They repented at the preaching of Jonah, and, behold, a greater one than Jonas is here."
You see, the men of Nineveh, they didn't see Jonah perform an amazing miracle, did they? Jonah walked into town and he preached unto them the Word of God. That's where their faith was. Their faith was in the Word of God. No miracle was performed by Jonah. We don't know the exact details, because Jonah's a very short book. It's possible that Jonah might have looked pretty rough from coming out of the belly of that whale. We don't really know how he looked, but we can assume that he probably looked pretty rough. We can also maybe surmise that perhaps he brought up the fact that he had been swallowed by a whale. He might have even told that to them. That might have been part of his preach-
We're only given one sentence of his preaching, one sentence. We don't know what else he preached, okay. He walks in and he's preaching and it's possible that he talked about the fact that he had been in the belly of the whale. Here's the thing, if he did mention that, which we don't know, and if he did look really rough as a result of that, which we don't really know, they're still taking his word for it, because they didn't see him actually go into that whale, and they didn't see him vomited out of that whale, so they would have had to just take his word for it. In the end, it was all by faith, it was just faith in the Word of God that Jonah preached. That's it.
In 1 Corinthians, chapter number 1, the Bible reads, in verse number 18, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us which are saved it is the power of God." If you jump down to verse number 21 it says, "For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." So, what's God's method for saving those that believe? Preaching. Preaching is how we get the faith, because the Bible says, "Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the word of God." As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things. Look at the next verse. "For the Jews require a sign." What's that mean? What's that say about them, that they're evil and adulterous?
Pastor Anderson: What's the Bible say? "An evil and adulterous generation, seeking after a sign." He says, "The Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach." Do you see that? The Greeks would be sort of like down at ASU, or something, in the science department where they think they're all real smart, and professing themselves to be wise, they become fools. He says, "They're seeking wisdom, not God's wisdom, but the wisdom of the world. The Bible says, "When the world," It's kind of a tongue twister, so let me read it here. Verse 21, "For after that, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God." See, that's not the path to God, seeking philosophy and man's understanding of logic and all these different equations. You think of guys like Plato, who were trying to figure out whether God exists using rationale and philosophy. No, no, that's not how the world's going to know God.
The Bible says, "That it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe." The Jews require a sign." Why? Because they're evil and adulterous. "The Greeks seek wisdom," but it's the wisdom of the world, which is foolishness with God. "But we preach." We give them neither. We don't perform a miracle, and we don't try to logic and rationalize what they're scientific philosophies and so forth. No, no, no, we preach "Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness, but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God, because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
What do we see here? The men of Nineveh, they're going to condemn the generation that Christ lived in that was seeking after a sign, because they repented at the preaching. They just heard the Word of God preached. Faith cometh by hearing, hearing by the Word of God. The Word of God was preached by a man of God, and they believed the Word. No miracle, no sign. Here's the thing, God didn't even have to punish them. Did God have to punish them to get their attention. Did He start rolling out the judgment on Nineveh and then partway through they repented? No, no, it was just all through the preaching. They just heard the rebuke, they heard the preaching, and they got right.
Now, let's compare that with Jonah, because here is a great scripture from Proverbs, chapter 17. The Bible reads in verse 10, "A reproof," a reproof is when you tell someone that they're wrong verbally. "A reproof entereth more into a wise man than a hundred stripes into a fool." Here we see the king of Nineveh, he just gets a reproof, he just hears a sermon preaching against him, and it enters more into him than three days and three nights in the whale's belly entered into Jonah. Okay, look down at the Bible in Jonah and I'll show you what I mean.
Let's see the difference with Jonah. The Bible says in verse 10 of Jonah 3, "And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way, and God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them, and he did it not." Chapter 4, versus 1, "But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry, 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?'" Whoa there, Buddy, why are you saying the same stupid stuff that you were saying before you were in the whale for three days and three nights? Listen to what he said, "Hey, isn't this what I said back then?" You idiot, that's why you just got punished severely and had to spend three days and three nights in the whale, because what you said back then was stupid. "But, wasn't this what I said."
You know what this shows? No change of heart here. Still saying the same stupid stuff that he was saying before he got punished, right? The reproof entered more into the wise man, the king of Nineveh, than 100 stripes, or the equivalent of a 100 stripes, into Jonah. He's being a fool. Backslidden Christians are always acting a fool, and this is no exception. It says he prayed unto the Lord and said, "Was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled," trying to justify his sin now. "Well, here's why I did the sin that I did in a previous chapter." Whoa, Buddy, why don't you rend your heart. Why don't you put on sackcloth, why don't you mourn and weep and say, "God, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you. You were so right about these people. Look how they've turned unto you."
No, there's been no change of heart, even though he went through the motions, and even though he went and did the preaching, because he was supposed to, out of fear. Still in his heart he thinks he's right. He still doesn't have a change of heart. He's still not humble. He says, "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. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." I mean, this is just stubbornness. "Just go ahead and kill me, God." Then said the Lord, and the Lord is patient with him at this point. He said, "Doest thou well to be angry?"
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. He still hasn't given up on the fact that God's going to destroy Nineveh, okay. Think about how ridiculous this is. The king of Nineveh has gotten right with God, the people of Nineveh, they got rid of the violence, they straightened things out, they cleaned up the city, and that makes Jonah mad because he wanted them to be destroyed. He didn't like these people. We talked about it all this morning, everything behind that. He says, "Well, I'm just going to go watch. I want to see what God does here," like he's going to try to still convince God to still destroy it, or something, or like he's just hoping that somehow God's going to wipe this city out. He just sets up a little booth and just stubbornly sits there. "I'm want to see what God's gonna do. I'm gonna see what's gonna happen to the city."
He builds himself a little booth in the shade. It says in verse 5, "So Jonah went out of the city. He 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." Verse 6, "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." Apparently this little booth that he built was not the ultimate shade option, okay. Basically, God blesses Jonah by sending him a gourd. Now when the Bible says a gourd, what a gourd is it's probably what we would call, in our modern vernacular, like a squash or something. When you think of a gourd, it's that type of a vegetable, okay. I'm not an expert on fruits and vegetables, but that's basically what a gourd is.
Well, the thing is, the word gourd in the English language can either refer to the fruit of that plant or the plant itself, okay. Obviously, it's the plant itself that's providing the shade here, the plant that produces gourds. The only other mention of a gourd that I've seen in the Bible is where they shred that gourd into the pottage in the days of Elisha and it ends up poisoning their whole soup, right, because it was just some wild gourd, and it messes up their food when they shred it into the food. Basically, this plant you could kind of just refer to it as a weed, because it's kind of a worthless plant in the sense that it produces some kind of a fruit that's not really something that is super useful, right. Basically, it's a weed.
Also, we see here that the Bible says, a few verses later, at the end of verse 10, that it came up in a night and perished in a night. That's how weeds are, aren't they? They kind of grow fast and then there gone. Easy come, easy go. They don't have a big deep root or anything like that. Anyway, God sends this gourd. God prepared a gourd and He made it grow really fast to where just in one night he wakes up the next morning he's got a better booth. I guess God's looking down on Him like, "Okay, you want to sit here and watch the show, here let me give you some better shade, you can sit and watch nothing happen." He's real happy about the gourd and he sits there. "Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd," it says at the end of verse 6, "but God prepared a worm, when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd, that it withered." God gives him this real nice, "Here, let me help you with that shade," and then He just destroys it, okay.
The next morning when it starts getting hot it starts dying and withering, the sun's coming through, and he's really putting the heat on Jonah now. It says in verse number 8, "It came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind."
First He destroys his gourd, then He sends this real mean wind coming in and just causes the sun to beat down upon him. It says in verse 8, "The sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted." He's passing out, it's so sunny and hot, and the wind is just blowing that hot air on him making it worse. It says, "He wished in himself to die, and said, 'It is better for me to die than to live.'" 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." Then said the Lord, "Thou has had pity on the gourd for which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night, 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?"
The book of Jonah ends a little bit abruptly, because we don't really find out, did Jonah listen to reason at the end of that rebuke, or not? My guess is he probably still didn't just go, "Oh, yeah, I guess I'm wrong." He probably just stubbornly had a bad attitude to the bitter end. That's my guess, because there's no recording of him getting right with God. What's God saying here? Why did God go through that whole thing with the gourd, and the worm, and the wind, and the sun? What's he showing him. He's basically showing him that he loves a plant more than he loves people, more than he loves these human beings. He's saying, "You had pity on the gourd and you don't even pity hundreds of thousands of people, and they're dying and going to hell, and you don't even care. You're more worried about a plant." You know what, the sad thing today is there are people today who are more worried about a plant ...
Congregation: Oh, yes. Yeah.
Pastor Anderson: ... than about soul winning. They are more worried about gardening. There are people that are pretty into gardening.
Congregation: Oh, yeah. Yep.
Pastor Anderson: They're really into having their garden real nice, but they're not out working in the Lord's vineyard.
Pastor Anderson: They're not out winning souls. They're not out reaching people with the gospel. They're not involved in the work of the church, no, no, no, but their garden looks fantastic, it looks amazing. Their gourds are really great. What do you do with a gourd? You put it in a horn of plenty around Thanksgiving and take a picture of it? Put it as the centerpiece? You know what I mean? That's pretty much what they're good for, a decoration, right. It's not really the best food ever. We see here in this story a man who doesn't care about people anymore, because he's so self-absorbed, he's so backslidden that he's just only caring about himself. What's he caring about? His personal comfort. He wants to just have it made in the shade, nuts to everybody else. This is a terrible attitude. We need to make sure that we always keep others in mind, and especially the lost, and especially getting the gospel to the lost.
What's the difference between the chastening in these? If you would, go to Deuteronomy, chapter 21. What's the difference? First of all, the king of Nineveh he rended his heart, he was really humbled, he really had a change of heart. Whereas, Jonah, even though he did what he was supposed to do, he was only going through the motions. His heart was just as messed up at the end. Here's another thing. Number one, it was a difference in the change of heart, but number two, with Jonah God's Word wasn't enough for him. God had to beat him into submission and beat him down, then he finally got it right. Whereas, the king of Nineveh just responded to the Word of God, which should be enough for us.
What's it going to be in your life? Is it going to take God bringing some pain, harm, evil, and suffering into your life in order to wake you up and get your attention and get you to do what's right, or is it enough to just come to church and hear the preaching of God's Word and say, "You know what, that reproof is going to enter into me more than 100 stripes into a fool." If you're wise, you just hear the reproof from the pulpit and you apply it to your life and you get right with God. You don't wait for the pain, and the suffering, and the harm, you don't wait to be tortured for three days and three nights, you just get right with God because the Bible said so.
Now here's the thing about it, when we look at the story, the people who respond to preaching, they have a better change of heart than the people who have to be beaten into submission, because the people who have to be beaten into submission, sometimes they're just going through the motions, because they don't want to get the next beating. It's not that they really have the heart for it. Truly the Bible teaches us to discipline our children, because of the fact that the Bible says over and over again, "He that spareth his rod, hateth his son, but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."
The Bible says, "Withhold not correction from the child, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shall deliver his soul from hell." The Bible says, "Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying, for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod and shall deliver his soul from hell." The Bible does teach us to use physical discipline, but here's the thing, there has to come a point in a child's life where it's not just physical discipline as the only reason why they're doing what's right.
Pastor Anderson: Think about it. If it's just because they're going to get spanked and that's the only reason why they're doing what's right, then what's going to happen when they leave the house and go out on their own? Then, they would do everything wrong at that point, because they were just doing it because. There has to be a transition where it's not just the spanking that gets them to do what's right, but they actually love God and love their parents, and want to do what's right, because it's the right thing to do. As they get older they're still going to get spanked from time-to-time, but hopefully it's less and less. Hopefully the spankings are not just constant, because as they get older they should need less and less. Another thing, if they still need them, keep doling them out.
Pastor Anderson: You say, "Well, what's the age when the spankings, there's no limit.
Pastor Anderson: You're living in my house. You rebel against me, you're getting a whipping. I don't care how old you are. You want to be exempt from spankings, move out of my house. Period. It's like with people today they think it's wrong to spank your kid if they're above 11, above 12 no more spankings. Here's the thing about that. If your kids are doing what's right, okay. You know what, a lot of teenagers need a whipping. I'm going to give it to them in my house, if they need it. I don't delight in it. Honestly, hopefully by that age it's going to be infrequent, but you know what, if it needs to be frequent, it's going to be frequent, because of the fact that that is something that is needed to train up a child in the way he should go, according to Scripture, over and over, whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth and scourges every son whom He receivith.
There has to be a heart in the person who's being disciplined that wants to do what right. Otherwise a child could be like a Jonah, right? Mom and Dad tell them not to do something and then they do it and then Mom and Dad bring down the chastening, and then they do it right now but in their heart they're thinking, "I was still right. My parents don't know what's going on. They're a bunch of old fuddy-duddys, or whatever." That's the Jonah attitude. God's going to have to scorch you, and blow wind on you, and send worms to eat up your gourd, and everything else. God's just going to keep doing it.
Here's an example in Deuteronomy, chapter 21 of a situation where somebody's being disciplined and they're just not getting the message, okay. This is like that scripture said in Proverbs, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Now, this is one of those passages that the atheists love to bring out, because they're idiots, because the Bible says, "The fool has said in his heart, 'There is no God.'
Pastor Anderson: Fools, that believe that there's no God. Say, "Oh, you believe the Bible. Well, the Bible says to stone a disobedient child." No, it doesn't. The Bible says to beat a disobedient child. This is the passage that they're referring to, because in the hardness of their heart, and in the wickedness of their reprobate mind, they can't understand this scripture. This scripture makes perfect sense to me. In fact, I like it. In fact, I'm preaching from it right now. See, I'm not going to go hiding from it, it's Bible. It's the Word of God. It's perfect.
Pastor Anderson: Look what it says. Deuteronomy 21:18, "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them, then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place, and they shall say unto the elders of his city, 'This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is a glutton, and a drunkard,' and all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die, so shalt thou put away evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear, and fear."
Now, a couple things about this story here, or this law rather. First of all, the Bible's not just saying, stone your disobedient child, because every child's disobedient. No, this is a stubborn, rebellious child that is being disciplined and still refuses to hearken, no matter what discipline they bring. He won't hearken, and he's a glutton, and a drunk, and he's worthless to society. That's what the Bible is saying. Not only that, it's not the parents just killing their child. Is that what it says, "Just kill him. Just kill him." No, they bring him to the elders of the city, and all the men of the city come together and say, "Look, this our son is a drunk, he's a glutton, we beat him, he won't listen, he won't get it right, he won't obey," and then they say, "Okay, stone him with stones then." What does this mean? Then he says in the last phrase there, "All Israel shall hear and fear." See, this isn't something that they constantly had to do.
Pastor Anderson: They probably had to do this like once. That way all Israel would hear and fear. I'll take it back, they probably had to do it once in every generation, just as an example, just make an example. What the real moral of the story here is, that we have the state, as it were, backing up the authority of the parents. That's what we have in this passage. We have society, we have community, we have government, the elders of the city, backing up the parents on their discipline. Where the parents say, "Hey, we've disciplined him and he won't listen," they're backing up the parents. They're on the parent's side. They're not saying, "Whoa, you chastened him? Let's take him away and stick him with a couple of sodomites, as a foster child."
Pastor Anderson: See what I'm saying. This passage is actually a great passage, and it actually makes sense. If you have a guy who's just that bad where he's being beaten. They're telling him, "No," and he just won't listen, and they're even saying, "We're going to take you down to the elders of the city. They might kill you." "Shut up, I'm gonna do what I want." "Okay, let's go." I mean, it makes sense to me, because, you know what, people like this that are just whipped, and won't listen, and won't obey, and they're drunks, and they're gluttons, this could become a dangerous criminal anyway. They got to get rid of this guy. He won't listen.
See, everybody in this world is so much smarter than God is, so they mock this scripture. They mock it. They laugh at it. There's nothing stupid about this. It's great. It's right. Do it in every generation and then other people could hear and fear. You know what, It'd be great if parents today could rely on the government to back them up in their leadership, but today it's quite the opposite, the government wants to undermine the leadership of parents in the home, and tell them not to discipline. This scripture is just also symbolic, it's also symbolic of God's chastening that's saying, "If you don't respond to God's discipline, He might just kill you eventually, okay, if you don't respond." He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Eventually it will be too late and, obviously, when this kid is killed, you know what, it's too late for him, okay. Again, we're not talking about some tiny child here, because he's old enough to be a drunk, you know. I don't think this is like a 10-year-old that's just a total drunk, or whatever. Obviously, we're talking about an older. it's one of these adult children that's still at home and he's just a drunk, and whatever, and acting a fool.
Bottom line of the story, when we finish out the book of Jonah, chapters 3 and 4, is that we see two men here, both being corrected by God. One of them the Word of God's enough for him and he gets his heart right and he's really sorry, and he feels bad about it. The other guy, the Word's not enough. He needs a beating in the form of being in a whale for three days and three nights, and then he still comes out with an attitude of, "I still think I was right back in my home country," still attitude, still no heart that's right. Look, how is your heart toward the Lord when you sin or when you're rebuked for sin? Do you have a tender heart where you're pricked at the heart, you feel bad about it.
You know, the Bible says, "Let your laughter be turned to mourning. Let your joy be turned to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord that He may lift you up. We need to get back to a Christianity amongst God's people that mourns over sin and weeps over sin, that feels bad, and it doesn't just have this flippant attitude of just, "Well, I sin but so what." That's the way our society is about sin now. It's just like, "Well I sin, whatever." No, we need a broken heart, a contrite heart. Look, how your heart is will determine how hard God comes down on you. You want God to go easy on you, confess and forsake and be sorry, okay. You want God to come down on you like a ton of bricks, well then just harden your heart and say, "I still think I was right. I still don't think I did anything wrong."
Again, this is not about salvation. This is talking about after you're saved, or this is talking about on a national level, okay. When it comes to our personal salvation, that's only through believing in Jesus. It's not our works. It's not works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy he saved us.
Let's bow our heads and have a word of prayer. Father, we thank you so much for the story, Lord, and help us not to be like Jonah at this stage in his life, Lord, where he's just hard-hearted, rebellious, doesn't love. He's lost the first love. Help us to have a tender heart, like the king of Nineveh, and when we hear preaching, Lord, help us to respond to it. Help us to have real sorrow for our sin, not just one time but every time we sin, Lord, help it to grieve us, like we know that it grieves the Holy Spirit when we sin. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.