Sermon Recap from 7/5/2020:

JONAH: God’s Great Mercy   

Title: A Compassionate Mercy 

Passage: Jonah 4:1-10 

Scene 1: Jonah’s response  (vs.1-4) 

Scene 2: God teaches (vs.5-9)

  • Jonah’s heart exposed (vs. 10-11) 
    • Jonah is self-righteous 
      • Self-righteous people have a hard time extending grace and mercy to other although they demand it for themselves.  
      • Self-righteous people present themselves as the standard. 
      • Self-righteous people judge others and assume God will measure up to their expectations. (Crawford Loritts) 
    • Jonah is self-centered  

Two Questions: 

  1. Who do you reflect more–Jonah or God? 
  • If you are not reflecting God… 
    • Repent 
    • Remember His mercy on you
    • Request His help to reflect Him 

 

2.       Who are your Ninevites? Who do you not want to see mercy poured out upon?  

Thoughts:

Matt’s message this past Sunday really hit home for me.  Unfortunately, when it comes to extending mercy and forgiveness to others I see myself reflecting Jonah more often than I would like.  For example, I’ve gotten mad at Mike when he didn’t respond to one of my “very important” texts right away, but then expect I him to be gracious with me and “let it go already” when the tables are turned, and I overlook one of his texts.

This brings me to something I learned in the Minor Prophets Bible study.  About a month ago, Mike taught an overview of the book of Jonah, and he drew our attention to the Hebrew word chara

Is this you?

This word appears several times in the book. It usually means to become hot or kindled, but it can also mean angry.  This pairing of heat and anger in the Hebrew word chara is similar to how we pair the idea of being hot and angry in English when we use phrases such as, “He is so hot-tempered!” or “I was hot when I found out the mechanic over-charged me for the repair.”  

In Jonah 4:1, when Jonah reacts to God’s mercy on the Ninevites, the verse reads “But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was chara.”  So we can read that as Jonah was hot, angry, or some combination of both. And after Jonah finishes ranting about how he knew the Lord would relent and have mercy on the people of Nineveh in verse 2, the Lord says, “Do you do well to be chara?”  In other words, “Is it good for you to be hot/angry over this?” and Jonah does not respond.  (Side note: Was this one of the first instances in the Bible of giving someone giving someone else the “silent treatment”?  Perhaps!  Beware–it didn’t end well.)

Then we read that Jonah sulks away and climbs a hill which overlooks the city of Nineveh.  God–in His grace– appoints a plant to grow and give Jonah some shade.  The plant dies and Jonah begins to suffer from the heat.  So much so the Bible says “that he [Jonah] would faint.”  Here’s the interesting play of words: God again says to Jonah in verse 9, “Do you do well to be chara—hot/angry for the plant?” And Jonah said, “Yes, I do well to be chara. Chara (hot/angry) enough to die.”  The irony is that he was both angry that the plant had died and he was really hot—like sitting in the mezzanine section at the old Globe Life Park hot.  It’s as if God was saying, “You might have thought you just were just hot (as in angry) before.  Let’s see how you fare when I take away your shade and turn up the temperature.” 

God used the plant to teach Jonah a lesson. Jonah already knew God is “a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster (4:2).”  God extends mercy and forgiveness to all—even to those we think don’t deserve it.  Jonah needed to learn a lesson about his heart’s temperature.  He didn’t realize he needed to “chill out” and extend the same cool shade of mercy to the Ninevites that God had extended to him through the plant.

Bottom line: the hot anger of self-righteousness cannot coexist with the cool and refreshing forgiveness and mercy that God provides.  We can’t hold on to anger when we are wronged because God Himself extends the ultimate mercy and grace to us.  While we were still sinners.  With no strings attached.  And like Corrie ten Boom said when the prison guard who tormented her sister asked for forgiveness, “Was I going to ask for more?”

I went and did some more research into Corrie ten Boom and found another quote that was interestingly relevant.  She wrote, “Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.”  So the next time you find your heart hot with self-righteous anger, remember Jonah.  We, too, have turned and gone the opposite way God was calling us at times.  Yet, God extended us forgiveness, grace, and mercy to us through Christ—nothing else required.  Let’s not let the temperature of our hearts get the better of us when He has called us to forgive.

Noteworthy

MBC at-large:

MBC Students:

  • MBC Students will be returning to Wednesday night meetings in host homes starting this Wednesday, July 15th.  Look for an email from Leah Austin for locations of meeting because some group locations have changed.  Be sure to register for “ONE Weekend” in Realm.  If your family is interested in providing housing to a small group for this event, please let Leah, Zeke, or Corbin know (click here).

Fitness & Fellowship

  • Our free Fitness & Fellowship classes for ages 14 and up will begin again on Monday, July 13th.  Come at 4:30pm Mondays or 9am Thursdays for Cardio/Step/Interval training and 9am Tuesdays for a Strength and Stretching workout.  Contact the church office by clicking here for more info.

Christmas in July

  • July is traditionally the month we collect a special offering to support Bill Curry and the Venus Prison Ministry.  Last year, Bill and members of MBC provided over 1000 Christmas gift bags (which included a clear presentation of the gospel message) to the inmates at the Sanders Estes prison in Venus.  Those gift bags cost approximately $3500.  Please consider donating a special gift for this important outreach ministry by giving online and selecting “Christmas in July” or by sending in a check to the church with “Christmas in July” in the subject line.  Click here to email Chaplain Bill Curry for more information.

Blankets for BESTWA

  • While we had to cancel our Women’s sewing event for July 12th, we will still be collecting new or gently-used receiving blankets (flannel preferred), twin sheets (cotton preferred), quart-size Ziploc bags, rubber gloves, single-use Neosporin/antibiotic ointment sachets, hotel-size bars of soap, stethoscopes (new or used), or blood pressure cuffs for some time.  Call ahead (972-723-0002) and then drop off your items in the church office.

Thank you again for showing us grace as we seek the best ways to minister to you all during these strange times and circumstances.  

In service to Him and to you,
Heather Hogue

Isaiah 8:11-12 For the Lord spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying: “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. 

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.