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The Heart of God in the Heart of the Sea

Devotion Twenty One

April 29, 2024

The Exceedingly Displeased Prophet

Daniel Barta

Often times those who speak up, those who are not afraid to point out the truth or call out the sin, do so with no interest in the one ensnared. This was the sin of Jonah. After failing the first time to preach the message. Jonah failed the second time to preach it with compassion. He disconnected the message of God from God’s merciful heart.

The news that they were sinners under the judgment of God and awaiting the impending destruction that would certainly come upon them was detached by Jonah from its intended end. He detached the announcement of sin and the warning of judgment from God's desire and design to show mercy.

How do we know this about Jonah? He tells us.

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

What so displeased Jonah that he was exceedingly displeased? Why was he so angry? Again, he tells us in the next verse.

And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. - Jonah 4:2 (ESV)

Jonah preached all while hating those to whom he preached. He pointed out their sin and announced the judgment of God upon them all while content to see them remain in their sin and under wrath.

God Finds No Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked.

Jonah possessed a cold, indifferent, and callous heart toward the citizens of Nineveh. He desired their destruction. He anticipated the day such evil men and women would get what they deserved. But God's heart did not share the same sentiments.

As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; - Ezekiel 33:11a (ESV)

With a heart set on sinners ready to show them mercy and spare their lives, God amazingly goes to great lengths to persuade them and win them. With a heart full of pity towards the world, He pleads,

turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, - Ezekiel 33:11b (ESV)

More than merely pleading with them through His messengers, God came to earth Himself to offer salvation to all the world. Being a greater prophet than Jonah, God's Son went further than faithfully delivering a message. He also delivered Himself up to a cruel and brutal execution at the hands of the wicked and evil people He came to show mercy to. He died for them, so that they might be spared. He took the judgment of God, so they might know the mercy of God. This God finds such displeasure in the destruction of the wicked that He endured the destruction of His Son in order that they might be spared. He confronted them and warned them and worked for them because He finds no pleasure in their ruin.

Confront Sin with a Heart of Compassion for the Sinner

If Jonah lived today in our culture, if he was a Christian and a member of a local church in Greenville County, he most likely would have not belonged to the liberal church who proudly plastered rainbow flags on their church’s windows and hosted drag queen story hour for children as a statement to the culture that they are on board, they are tolerant and inclusive. Jonah probably would not have attended one of those churches. He would have shouted at them.

Jonah would have been happy to start a controversial blog and write with moral clarity about all the evils in our world. He would certainly be prepping a series of tweets and posts to combat Pride month which is just around the corner. He would’ve been happy to point out that laziness leads to poverty, or that God finds lying, sexual immorality, and pride an abomination. He would be quick to call the abortionist a murderer. He would’ve been enthusiastic to slap on a bumper sticker that said "turn or burn" all while indifferent as to whether or not those in the car behind him actually turned.

We must not fail as Jonah failed. We must faithfully deliver the message. We must, without fear, confront sin and warn of the impending judgment that is to come. But we must do so with hearts full of pity and compassion for those to whom we carry the message.

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