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We have here a sad view of the mind of Jonah; the Lord's grace to Nineveh excites the Prophet's displeasure. he is reproved by the Lord under the figure of a gourd.
We have not a similar instance in scripture, of a minister of the Lord being displeased at the success of his labors; and it is hardly possible on common principles, to assign any cause. Did Jonah dread being found a false prophet more than being made an unsuccessful preacher? Reader! what a character doth Jonah here appear in? Pause over the view!
Is this Jonah, who offered such a lovely prayer but a little before? Can it be, the same man? Alas! Reader! what is Jonah, what is any man, if for a moment left without the influences of grace?
Oh! precious, precious Lord Jesus! do we not see thee here, in this gentle tender expostulation? Reader, pray turn to Luke 9:51-42.9.56 .
I cannot sufficiently admire, nor adore, the condescending benignity of the Lord, in the tender method the Lord took to recover the Prophet from his petulance. Reader! look at the Lord in those gracious acts, and then say what a blessed proof is here given of his own character; the Lord, the Lord God! merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth. Exodus 34:5-2.34.6 .
Was there ever an instance of grace so recompensed with open contumacy? Was there ever an example of impudent rebellion more pointed than this?
Reader! behold the conclusion! and say shall we not in the view of it cry out with the Prophet, Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of thine heritage? Micah 7:18-33.7.19 .
HERE, Reader, let us pause as we finish the history of Jonah, and gather together into one view the wonderful subject, as it relates to the Lord's servant, and as it relates to the Lord himself, in his abundant grace manifested to such a wayward and rebellious frame of mind. We shall read the account of Jonah's preaching to Nineveh, and his displeasure at the Lord's mercy to little purpose, if we do not learn from the whole to bring the subject home to our own hearts, and under divine teaching discover that the seeds of the same sins, as we find in the Ninevites, and the Prophet, are in our nature also. What (saith the Prophet) are we better than they? No! (saith he) in no wise. For we have before concluded all under sin. And to whom, or from what cause do we ascribe the whole of salvation, but to Jesus and his wonderful undertaking in our nature? Chiefly let the people of God from this history learn, what man in his highest attainments is, if for one moment left to himself. Though like Jonah we have cried from the deep of affliction, when the wormwood and the gall of sin hath been bitterly drank by us; and though from the very belly of hell we have been brought to know the Lord, yet the withering of a gourd will open a-fresh our rebellion, if that thwarting providence, be it what it may, is not sanctified. Precious Lord Jesus! cause both him that writes, and him that reads, to live under the unceasing teachings of thy Holy Spirit, that a spring of humblings and sorrow may be constantly kept open in our souls. Lord, keep from us, as the most dangerous of all evils, every thought of anything and everything in ourselves as righteous; that a sense of the daily workings of corruption, however graciously restrained by thee from breaking out into actual commission, may cause us to go humbly and softly all our day. And above all, dearest Lord, let the daily consciousness of our need of thee, and of thy greatest salvation, make thee daily, yea hourly, more precious to our souls.
Farewell Jonah! I bless my God and Saviour for the profitableness I find under his blessed Spirit's teaching of thy ministry. Even the frailties of my Lord's servants, so faithfully recorded in his holy scriptures, afford instruction to my soul. Men of like passions with ourselves, are better suited in my Lord's service than angels of light. But oh! gracious Lord Jesus! what shall I say, or what shall I offer of thankfulness in beholding thy wonderful condescension in causing a Jonah, amidst all his unworthiness, to be a lively type of thine own person, when accomplishing the purpose of redemption. Here surely Lord, as in a thousand other instances, thy thoughts are not our thoughts, nor thy ways our ways. I bow, Lord, to the dust before thee, and thankfully acknowledge, that both in thine unequalled humiliation and exaltation, thou hast a name above every name, and all creation shall confess that thou art Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Jonah 4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent