In the first post of this short series, we looked at Moses and how he took on responsibility upon himself that God didn’t give him; and how it brought discouragement. The second post we looked at Elijah and how thought poorly and acted foolishly following the showdown at Mount Carmel and how that brought discouragement. Today, the final post, we will look at Jonah and how he decided to listen to man rather than God.

Jonah

This is the first time I have ever seen anyone get angry when God saved someone. Jonah is such a small book – a good one to study: 4 chapters, 48 verses total. Most of you know the story: Jonah is told by God to go to Nineveh and preach. Jonah decided not to, fled to Tarshish on a boat. God sent a storm, and Jonah was tossed overboard. He was then swallowed up by a large fish. Jonah prayed, God had the fish spit him up on shore. God told Jonah a second time to go to Nineveh, and he did. Jonah, came preached, and they repented. “God relented concerning the calamity.” But, Jonah was not happy.

A Brief explanation of Nineveh:

Ninevites were the enemies of Israel. They were heathen people; idolaters. If they possessed any knowledge about the true God, it was both slight and remote. Ninevites were very cruel people. They were particularly cruel to victims and prisoners of war whom they often tortured to death for sheer pleasure. So, picture with me what it might have looked like with all of the prophets assembled together discussing WHO went to Nineveh to preach? Can I put this into sports analogy? It would be like a Michigan football fan going down to preach to an Ohio State football fan. The nominal fan might, but those die-hard fans would see this as treason.

But we must remember this: God never provides salvation for the goodness of man.

It seems as thought Jonah was more worried about his patriotic duty, rather than his spiritual duty. Jonah was not pleased with God for granting them forgiveness, and he was literally “hot” with anger towards God. He felt they deserved no mercy – but through studying it was probably because of his worldview and influence of fellow countrymen. When you start to listen to other men and do what they want, without listening to God – you are on the road to discouragement.

Conclusion:

Ways to Deal with Discouragement:

  1. DON’T take a responsibility upon yourself that God didn’t give you.
  2. BE realistic.
  3. DON’T develop the poor me syndrome.
  4. GET your rest and you won’t be tired.
  5. HAVE fellowship with other believers.
  6. DON’T start fruit counting.
  7. STOP Listening to men and listen to God.

I pray that this short series can be a help to you as you serve God. Being a pastor for some years, I know what it means to be discouraged, but most times it is because I didn’t follow the above list.

-jeff

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