The Compassion of God – Jonah 4:1-11 – My notes from a Tim Keller sermon. iTunes

Photo. Pacific ocean.

The big idea: God teaches Jonah about His great mercy and compassion, showing us Jsesus Christ.

Point one. God’s compassion
A. Gods heart is voluntarily attached to us. V9-10 we see his broken heart is grieved. Jonah’s heart is grieved because it is attached to a plant AS Gods is attached to this city of Nineveh. Humans have to attach to something but. Not God – he voluntarily attaches to us.

B. God is not moved by us in general but by our condition.
Vs 11 the phrase no knowing their right hand from their left is a reference to spiritual blindness. This is what has God concerned.

C. God forgives readily.
He does not work to get them formally in the covenant first, nor join as allies of Israel. He only says for them to not be so violent.

Point two. Christ’s compassion
The climax expression of Gods compassion is Jesus on the cross. Jonah was outside the city weeping that they were not going to get destroyed. Jesus wept outside the city and desires to save Jerusalem as a mother fird protects her young. Jesus died in grief outside the city. When water and blood came out from his heart when the spear pierced him, it meant that he died of a broken heart. A heart broken from compassion.

Point three. Our compassion. How do we get some?
How can we be compassionate as Christ was compassionate?

A. Don’t enjoy or avoid giving criticism.
Unlike jonah, don’t shirk from speaking the truth but do so with huge compassion and tears.

B. love cities.
We are to love people and not have the same love for plants like Jonah did.

C. Forgive readily.
Don’t make people gravel when they are asking your forgiveness. Mark 11:35 and chapter 2. The lowered man did not have time to repent verbally. Jesus just forgave him because he knew his heart’s cry God readily forgave these Ninehvites.

D. Expect trouble in your life.
God won’t let you go off and be stupid. He shows us his pursuing love with Jonah. God blasts Jonah’s gourd. The quick growing plant was Jonah’s pleasure and comfort. Why does God scorch it and kill it? Because he loves jonah. It’s unloving to leave him there in the shade waiting for the fires how of God to destroy the city. He makes him uncomfortable to have him hold tighter to God John Newton wrote a hymn on this story (see below).

E. Go out of your way to make time to weep.
Get involved with pain in friends and the poor. Attach yourself to others until you weep. God did for me in Christ! 🙂

“I asked the Lord” By John Newton, rerecorded by Indellible Grace, 2008I asked the Lord that I might growIn faith, and love, and every grace;Might more of His salvation know,And seek, more earnestly, His face.’Twas He who taught me thus to pray,And He, I trust, has answered prayer!But it has been in such a way,As almost drove me to despair.I hoped that in some favored hour,At once He’d answer my request;And by His love’s constraining pow’r,Subdue my sins, and give me rest.Instead of this, He made me feelThe hidden evils of my heart;And let the angry pow’rs of hellAssault my soul in every part.Yea more, with His own hand He seemedIntent to aggravate my woe;Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,Wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?“’Tis in this way, the Lord replied,I answer prayer for grace and faith.These inward trials I employ,From self, and pride, to set thee free;And break thy schemes of earthly joy,That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”


    • Great! What a super way to see a favorite story point beyond Jonah to the true, perfect Jonah, namely Christ. Hugely encouraging to me too!

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