Chase Day 5 Chasing Entitlement: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days...are a pretty big deal at GT!

We search God's Word together, ask questions as we read, dig around to find the original intentions at the time of writing, and then make some applications to our everyday lives.
Along the way, we hope you'll pick up some new tools to study Scripture and you'll see truth in a new and accessible way!
Dig In!

The Passage

Fridays are 2-for-1! Check out the other Journey Post, Chasing Entitlement!

Jonah 4 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

1 Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. 2 He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I thought while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. 3 And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

4 The Lord asked, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

5 Jonah left the city and found a place east of it. He made himself a shelter there and sat in its shade to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God appointed a plant, and it grew over Jonah to provide shade for his head to rescue him from his trouble, Jonah was greatly pleased with the plant. 7 When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered.

8 As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head so much that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

9 Then God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“Yes, it’s right!” he replied. “I’m angry enough to die!”

10 So the Lord said, “You cared about the plant, which you did not labor over and did not grow. It appeared in a night and perished in a night. 11 But may I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”

The Questions

1) Why was Jonah displeased & angry with God’s response to Nineveh?

2) What was the point of the plant God caused to grow & die again?

3) Is that really the end?

The Findings for Intention

1) Why was Jonah displeased & angry with God’s response to Nineveh?Although we see Jonah grow in his understanding of God’s true character in chapter 2, Jonah’s spiritual elitism prevents him from having a heart that is willing to extend the same grace and compassion toward others he believed to be unworthy.  In short, Jonah doesn’t believe the people of Nineveh are deserving of God’s love and forgiveness.  Nineveh was a city in Assyria, which played a major role in conquering the people of the northern kingdom of Israel.  Not only that, they were one of the most brutal and ruthless of those conquerors.  So although Jonah was thankful to God for his compassionate redemption from inside the giant fish, he would have chosen death over seeing God save the Ninevites.  Jonah was willing to have God save and rescue, as long as the recipients of that grace were “good enough” in his estimation.

2) What was the point of the plant God caused to grow & die again?
When God first asked Jonah if he had the right to be angry in verse 4, Jonah doesn’t answer, but instead stomps off indignantly and settles himself in a place to watch for what he is sure will be the end of Nineveh.  After that juvenile response, God decided to take another tactic to expose Jonah’s heart to the light.  He employed the strong illustration of the plant to call Jonah to account for his attitude; God used the everyday to show Jonah the greater tragedy of his own heart condition.  God made it clear to Jonah that he had allowed himself to care more about a thing and comfort than he did about people and life and those who are lost.

3) Is that really the end?
And scene.  Ummmm….where is 2 Jonah?  Or at least chapter 5??  Did Jonah realize his shortcomings?  Did Jonah get that God loves all people, not just some?  But those answers never come.  Instead of focusing on what seems unfinished, the reader of Jonah must look at what is there.  The conclusion of the book is like the original mic drop by God.  He called Jonah on the carpet for his heart of judgement and prejudice.  God made clear that as the Creator of all people, He loves each one.  He forced Jonah to see the embarrassing fact that he cared more about a plant that gave him shade than he did about the thousands of lives that would have been lost if God had chosen the alternative to destroy Nineveh.  The abrupt end forces the reader to process and think about God’s heart for all people and His greater story of redemption.  If the book had continued, the focus would have likely ended on Jonah and what a great example he turned out to be.  Instead, the reader is left with the unending depths of God’s love and is pushed to analyze the truth of his own heart in contrast.

The Everyday Application

1) Why was Jonah displeased & angry with God’s response to Nineveh?
It’s much more comfortable to consider Jonah and his shortcomings than it is to consider how I might be just like him.  How often do I struggle with a similar attitude?  Who have I encountered who walked away not wanting to come to church because they might encounter people like me?  Or you?  Can you fathom the number of people who have been turned off to the things of God as a result of religious, self-righteous church goers?  It’s an embarrassing reality, but each of us would be foolish to believe that we are exempt from the guilt.  We all have that line in the sand we like to draw.  We’re comfortable with some sin, but we make comments like, “well, at least he never…” or “she’s not as bad as….”  Within those comments lie the truth that we do have limits to the grace we are willing to extend on our own as we set up some sins as being worse or less forgivable than others.  Yet the reality is that we are all sinners, and sin is sin is sin.  It all separates us from God.  And it all requires a Savior to bring us back to Him.

2) What was the point of the plant God caused to grow & die again?
How often do we get worked up over trivial, minor things, yet we have zero heart for the world around us that is dying…in the moment or for all of eternity?  We let causes, politics, long lines, bad service, social media posts from others with opinions different than ours, cracked phone screens, and technology that doesn’t work right ignite passions inside of us that we feel the need to rant and stomp our feet about in a very Jonah-esque manner.  With those we see as “less than” or “too far gone” we jump to condemnation and frustration, without taking account of the lives that are represented in any given situation.  We don’t give God the chance to speak to our hearts and change our perspective to see what truly matters, to care about what He cares about.  Is there any part of your life where you sense God’s whisper that you are acting a bit too much like Jonah?  Take some quiet moments to reflect on the things you allow to consume your passion, and then the people in your life to whom you struggle to offer compassion.  Is there any disconnect in your own heart toward people?

3) Is that really the end?
Seeing how Jonah allowed himself to care about the trivial over the eternal, the spiritually deserving over the spiritually struggling, should leave us asking one simple question – how do I need to refocus my own heart to reflect what matters to God over my own preferences?   Micah 6:8 provides a great starting point to what God considers to be worthwhile when it comes to our heart attitudes and actions:  do justice, love kindness and walk humbly.  These three conditions of our heart, paired with action, bring us closer to the holiness of God and what He considers to be good.  When you consider those areas of focus, which stands out to you as the one you need to work on the most?  Is it a heart attitude you need to develop?  Or do you need to engage in putting any of the attitudes into meaningful action?

Don’t miss today’s other Journey Study, Chasing Entitlement
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I Can Do That!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read through it (always more than a verse or two).
3) Write down your questions as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you other related verses!). (
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God in your everyday!

The Community!

Thanks for joining us today as we journeyed into Chase Week One!
Don’t miss out on the discussion – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

The Tools!

We love getting help while we study and is one of many excellent resources.  Just type in the verse you’re looking at and Boom! It’s right in front of you in English and Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), which are the original languages the Bible was written in.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Find super awesome stuff like “origin”, “definition”, and even all the different ways that single word has been translated into English! If you want to be geeky, you can even click the word and hear its original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want to get more background on a word or phrasing or passage? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

The Why!

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus.
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Looking for other journeys from this theme?
See all past studies in Chase!