Jonah 4, When I Am Self-Absorbed

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from Jonah on Sunday, December 11, 2022 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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This morning as we look at Jonah Chapter 4, I want to talk to you about when I am self absorbed. I want to take this book of Jonah and say forget about Jonah. Let's talk about Jerry because I'm self absorbed this week the Lord gave me a week to help me. Relate to Jonah a little bit here in Jonah Chapter 4 you know many times we are familiar with these passages. We're familiar with these. Years and so we kind of go into them knowing what's happening, knowing what to expect. And I love how the Lord is able to kind of freshen up the scriptures by helping us experience and encounter things that really make us relate to and understand the scriptures in a new and fresh way. Here, Jonah is in a place of just being completely self of. Blurbed and and almost comically so, the extreme and the exaggeration where he is at, and we can read Jonah Chapter 4 and kind of chuckle a little bit about Jonah and his, you know, drastic emotional change here and the the way that he is. And yet at the same time I would suggest to you that we are often not far. From Jonah, and there's many ways that we can follow in his footsteps. When we kind of spiral out of control in our emotional state and in our mood, and our attitude, one of the quickest ways for me to spiral down emotionally. Is when I have worked hard or tried hard at something and failed. And this week at work. Guess what happened? We worked really hard. Me and my team. We were working on a project and it was a tight deadline. Huge important project with one of the you know largest companies doing construction across the the United States. So huge importance, huge stakes. And tight deadline. And so I was stressed I worked hard. I stressed out other people and worked them. 3rd and then on Thursday we found out that what we had produced did not measure up. It did not meet the standards. Essentially, we had failed and now on Monday we have to have a meeting and we're basically going to start over and redo this project from scratch and so it will be doubly extra late for this tight deadline and. Huge impact. Militant project and boy that Thursday as that started to come out and we started to figure those things out. The spiral began and I don't know if you know what I'm talking about there and experienced that but but that spiral of becoming self absorbed, that spiral of being overwhelmed by the emotions that are just focused on and consumed. With self and that freeze kept coming to mind as I was walking through those things that that idea of being self absorbed. Now the word absorbed it means to have your attention wholly engaged. Or occupied on something. And so when you're self absorbed, your attention is completely focused on you're consumed with. And that is how I can often be. That is how Jonah is here in Jonah Chapter 4. I think we can all relate to that to some degree. And it's not a good place to be self absorbed. Consumed with what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what you're going through, focused solely on yourself is a good recipe for misery and disaster. But what's amazing here is the book of Jonah doesn't end at chapter. We of course know Jonah as the reluctant prophet. He didn't want to go to Ninevah, but he ran away. God convinced him to come back a little time in the fish helped him, helped out with that, brought him to repentance. He he goes to Ninevah, the people respond to the message. There's repentance and so the city is saved. At the end of Chapter 3. Because of their repentance to the Lord and the Lord could have ended the book at Chapter 3 and the story was about Ninevah and the story was complete and yay good ending. Everybody survived because they turned back to the Lord but But there was still a little bit more that needed to take place. Pastor were and Wisby puts it this way. If God wanted only to save the city of Ninevah, the book would have ended at Chapter 3. But there is still more work to do, for God wanted to save his servant from himself. You know God is always focused on and interested in not just those big victories. But also the individuals and every individual who is. Was involved and Jonah needed some additional work. He needed some additional attention from the Lord and God is so merciful and gracious to help deal with Jonah and to bring about the reality of the place where he's at. The mindset that he has the condition that he is in. And so God here is going to work specifically with Jonah. And very patiently help him to realize how self absorbed. He really is. And so we're going to walk through four points here about when I am self absorbed and to understand and be reminded of why it's really such a bad thing and why it is so terrible for us to be in this state of mind. And in this emotional state where we are. Just consumed with ourselves point number one. As we look at verse one and two. I'm frustrated by the nature of God. When I am self absorbed. I will be perpetually frustrated by the nature of God being focused on and consumed with myself puts me at odds with the very character and nature of God. Check out verse one and two again. It says this change of plans greatly upset Jonah and he became very angry. Angry, so he complained to the Lord about it. Didn't I see before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarsus. I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God. Slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying. This is an amazing couple of. Verses here because you read verse. Two and you go. Wow, the things that Jonah says about God. Yes, and Amen. We love those things, but here we find Jonah saying these things not because he's praising the Lord and so happy about these characteristics of the Lord. Verse one tells us he is greatly upset. And he became very angry because these characteristics of the Lord are being displayed right now towards Ninevah. Leading up to this in Chapter 3, verse 10, it tells us. When God saw what Ninevah had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction that he had threatened. And so Jonah was sent there to announce judgment, but with the repentance. The Lord. And provided Grace and mercy. To the city of Ninevah and did not bring the judgment that they deserved, and the judgment that he had announced. And here we're learning a surprising truth. The universe does not revolve around me. God does not operate and make all of his decisions based on what I think or what I feel or what I want. And Jonah is upset. Says it greatly upset Jonah. He became very angry the the language here is very strong. He wasn't just a little bit like, you know, unsettled. He wasn't just a little bit concerned about it, he he was livid. He was furious. He was so angry he couldn't see straight. God changed his plans. Because God did not bring the judgment that he had announced to the city of Ninevah. And and again, it's really. Amazing to think about this in the context. Of where we're at because. This is probably. The largest revival in such a short span of time that the world has ever seen historically, even today. The city of Ninevah was huge. Hundreds of thousands of people are responding and repenting and getting right with God and and I think it's interesting to think about it that way, right? The largest revival that the world has ever seen in a short 30 day time span, right? The largest revival the world has. Ever seen took place by a prophet who was reluctant and didn't want to go and didn't care if the people responded in fact preferred that they didn't respond right? Could you imagine if Greg Laurie was like? Preferring like, please don't come like oh, I just want you guys to stay in the the stadiums chairs so that you can be judged by the Lord like what a terrible place to be and a terrible heart to have. And yet God used Jonah to bring about this great revival. And it made Jonah so angry he was so upset. When God announced his judgment, it is always an invitation to repent. And Jonah, the mouthpiece of God. In announcing the judgment. Was faithful to do that part that God had called him to do, but but he didn't have the heart of God in it. He didn't want them to have an invitation to repent, and so he says, look, that's why I didn't want to go in the 1st place. That's why I ran to Tarshish. Because I knew it was an invitation to repent and if they repented I knew you would relent. You would be gracious and merciful and patient. And I didn't want them to be saved. Why did Jonah have such animosity toward the people of Nineveh? Well, Ninevah is the capital of Assyria and the Assyrian army was doing much damage during the time of Jonah's ministry, and conquering nations threatening Judah threatening Israel. That there was really great danger against Israel by the Assyrian Empire. But God laid aside all political concerns and said, these are people. And if they hear my word. They're going to respond and repent. And so God's heart is for. The people of Ninevah. Even though the people of Ninevah were against Israel and Judah. So Jonah complied. He did what God called him to do after some arm wrestling there in the belly of the great fish for a few days. But his heart was not. In line with God. He was still in opposition, frustrated by the character and by the nature of God, Pastor Warren Wisby says the basic problem was that Jonah was not completely yielded to God. His mind knew God's truth and his will obeyed God's orders, but he did not do the will of God. From the heart. He didn't do. He did the will of God. But not from the heart. His heart is still out of line in opposition. To the reality of who God is. And so he's very upset. He's angry and he complains to the Lord about it. Didn't I say before I left home? I knew this was going to. Happen man, this is terrible. That's why I ran away to Tarshish. We hear understand the reasoning. It wasn't that Jonah was fearful of his life. I can't go to them. That's a scary people. They do bad things to people and so I'm scared to deliver the message. No Jonah ran away. Because he knew God. Was merciful and compassionate and slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. He knew God was eager to turn back from destroying people, and Jonah wanted those people destroyed. And so he's frustrated. By the nature of God. Because all he can see is his own self and. What he wants. And how he feels about the situation. The good thing that happens here is that Jonah is talking to God. About this He's talking to God and saying, Lord, this is where my heart's at his heart is wrong. But as I often like to point out, it is important for us. To talk to God about where we're actually at, to be genuine in our relationship with the Lord, Pastor Thomas Constable puts it this way. To his credit, Jonah told God why he was angry. He did not murmur or complain about God. Many believers try to hide their true feelings from God when they think God will not approve of those. Billings, even though the Prophet had been rebellious and still did not share God's compassion, he had a personal relationship with God. It's so important for us. To be able. To have these kinds of conversations with God. Because we will have these emotional states, we will have these times where we're self absorbed and we can't see what God sees. And it's so frustrating. We can't figure out. We don't know why we we don't understand what God is doing. But we need to learn to be able to talk those things through with him still. We need to trust him enough to know that he's able to receive those, and it's good for us to have those conversations with the Lord because it gives the Lord opportunity. To then bring us into alignment with him. When I'm self absorbed, I am frustrated. By the nature of God. These things that Jonah points out here, God is merciful I. Knew it, Lord, I knew. You were merciful and compassionate, God, you're. You're withholding judgment and and you you feel for you. Have compassion for those who are hurting, even when it's because of their vile wickedness and all the evil that they've done. But but you still have compassion for them and you're slow to anger. Ohh, it's so frustrating Lord, how how you don't just wipe them out? How you don't? Why did you give them this opportunity? Why didn't you just judge them? You know, is Jonah's heart but oh Lord, you're slow to anger you delete it another 40 days so that I could deliver the message. What it's so frustrating you're filled with unfailing love? You're you're so faithful in your love and you're you're so unending in your love and it's to such a great degree that it fills every part of your character and and who you are. And what you do? And again, we can look at these things and go. Wow these are awesome characteristics of God. I want all of these in my life. At the same time. When I'm self absorbed I can look at all of these and go man Lord, why are you being like that? I wish you were not that way. Or how come you're eager to turn back from destroying people? They deserve to be destroyed. They deserve judgement. Lord, why are you so eager to let? Them off the hook. And to turn back from that judgment that was announced. That's Jonah's condition. That's Jonah's heart. And we can find ourselves there when we allow ourselves to become self absorbed. It's going to happen. We get our eyes fixated on ourselves, we get our emotions wrapped up around ourselves and and it's all a downward spiral that takes place. And so watch out when you are frustrated by the nature of God. Let it remind you there is some perspective issues here when you're bothered by the love of God and the patience of God and the Justice of God. When you're bothered by the wrath of God or the plan of God. There's there's some perspective issues you. Don't see eye to eye. You're frustrated by the nature of God. It is an indication that I'm self absorbed. That I've had my attention wholly engaged and occupied upon myself. And I'm not seeing what the Lord sees. We need to bring ourselves back into alignment with the Lord, and so here's Jonah. Self absorbed, frustrated by the nature of God, moving on to verses 3 through five, we get point #2 when I'm self absorbed. I'm slow to understand what God is saying. Verse three says just kill me now, Lord. I'd rather be dead than alive if what I predicted. Will not happen. The Lord replied, is it right for you to be angry about this? Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city, and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. Jonah in his. Obsession over himself has really sunk. To a great low. He says just kill me now, Lord. I am so frustrated by this I'm so bothered by this. I'm so upside down emotionally and in turmoil. I'd rather just be dead. Than to see this play out the way that I think it's going to play out if they're not going to be judged, Lord. You should just let me die. I can't stand this. I can't live with this thought I can't live with this understanding. I can't live with this reputation of being the one who. Preserved and saved Ninevah from destruction. Lord, I can't live with this. He's upset, greatly upset. He's very angry. Because he's self absorbed. And so the Lord begins. To talk again, it's good Jonas talking to the Lord. He's bringing these things to the Lord and it's really good, because now the Lord is able to respond. And so verse four tells us. The Lord replied. He he brought. Out the genuineness of where he was at with the Lord and and the struggles that he. Was having and. It was wrong. It was bad. He's upside down, he's. Way far off base. His emotional state. Has led him to some very dark places. But in his conversation with the Lord, the Lord has a chance to speak. And so the Lord replied. Is it right? For you to be angry about this, the Lord replies with a question. God often likes to ask questions because. Well, a lot of times the answers. We need to hear we're not ready to hear. And so the Lord asks questions to help bring us to that place where we are ready to receive what it is that he. Wants to speak to us. When God asks where are you Adam? He knew, of course, where Adam was, but he needed to walk Adam through the process to to become in alignment with the Lord about where he was. And so here the Lord could have scolded Jonah. He could have jumped to the end and told him what the real problems were, but but he is very compassionate and loving and merciful to Jonah. And so he asked him the question, is it right for you to be angry?

About this

Is it right? It was right for Jonah to talk to God about what he was feeling. Was it right for Jonah to be angry? But it was right for Jonah to bring his. Anger to the Lord. And now God is going to challenge him. To let go of that anger. It was right to talk to the Lord about his anger. It wasn't right to be angry, and so now the right thing to do in this place is going to be. To repent. Of his anger, even though he was the instrument that God just used moments ago to announce judgment upon a city, and they repented. The Prophet himself needed repentance. The Prophet himself needed to turn and get right with God. He was so angry. Kind of makes me wonder what his disposition was like. As he was announcing judgment upon Ninevah. For that three day journey to cover the whole city. He wasn't probably terribly broken up over it. His message was quite simple. What's recorded is judgment is coming in 40 days. Not even a promise of if you repent, God will save you, not even that, but just judgment is coming in 40 days. It's what he wanted. And when God was not going to do that because of their repentance because of their change of hearts, he was so. Angry and it and it put him in this place where he was unable. To really hear from the Lord. He's blinded by his anger. God asked the question here. Is it right for you to be angry about this? But then the next verse tells us then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city. Jonah receives a question from the Lord. But he doesn't continue the dialogue. He doesn't. Answer the Lord's question. He's not ready to continue that conversation. He doesn't even have a response. He just goes out to the east side and he's just going to watch the shelter, but that that question from the Lord is going. To be circling over and over and over. In his mind. And going to be helping his heart develop what needs to be developed so that he is finally able to engage with the Lord and hear what the. Lord is saying. But but the Lord's gonna have to take some more steps, and so we'll see that in the next few verses that that he doesn't just say instantly. Hear from the Lord. Oh, you're right, Lord, it's not right for me to be angry about this. And then his heart is turned and then everything is OK. It doesn't end here because. His emotional state has him in this place where he is slow to understand. He's not able to immediately receive from the Lord and allow it to correct his mind and correct his heart. It's gonna take a lot of efforts on the Lord's part. Some time on his part for these things to penetrate to him and to make a real change. He's slow to understand what God is saying because he's self absorbed and I experienced the same thing when I'm self absorbed, I'm slow to understand. But what are you saying there? There's things that come through, and the Lord asks questions. And there's things that the Lord says. And I I hear a good message. And I I. And impacted by, you know, a verse or a passage or a. Song or whatever but. But at the same time, it's a very small, limited impact. Because my heart's not in a place where I'm ready to receive. From the Lord in that way. James tells us in James Chapter one that human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives and humbly accept the word of God as planted in your hearts. For it has the power to save your souls, but don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says, otherwise you are only fooling yourselves. Couple of important things there. Human anger doesn't produce. What God desires to produce now there is a righteous indignation, a an anger that is aligned with. The Lord and the anger of the Lord. But human anger, our anger does not produce good results. And so James encourages us to get rid of it. Here's Jonah angry. But he's not in a position to produce good results. He's not aligned. It's not righteous indignation, he is in opposition to God in his anger. But James tells us here. So what you have to do is you have to get rid of all the filth and. Evil in your lives. To get rid of that human anger, you gotta repent of things. You gotta get stuff out of your life and accept the word of God. But but not just like a little snippet, not just like one question here you you need to have the word of God implanted. To the degree. That you do what it says. Otherwise you're just fooling yourself and continuing on being self absorbed there. There has to be a real change. There has to be a dramatic change. To remove that human anger to get rid of all of that filth, don't just listen to God's word. Don't just hear the question, but you need that question to transform your heart. And when I'm self absorbed I'm slow to understand that I'm slow to let go of those things I'm slow to hear what God is saying to me. God was seeking to help Jonah realize the condition of his heart, but he was too self absorbed to recognize it. Blinded by his anger too upside down by his emotional condition. He was going to need some extra time and some extra work from the Lord to hear what God was saying. I find the same for myself when I'm self absorbed. I'm not ready, I'm not in. A place to receive what God says. Moving on to verses 6 through 8 gives us point #3. When I'm self absorbed. I'm prone to extreme mood swings. When I'm self absorbed, I'm prone to extreme mood swings. Let's look at verses 6 through 8, it says, and the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah's head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful. For the plant. But God also arranged for a worm. The next morning at dawn, the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away. And as the sun grew hot got arranged for a scorching E wind to blow on Jonah. The Sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. Death is certainly better than living like this. He exclaimed. God continues to work. With Jonah and all those. Characteristics that so frustrated Jonah at the beginning of the chapter. God is exercising them toward Jonah, being merciful and compassionate and slow to anger. He's working with Jonah. To deal with his heart, to bring him to a place where he could hear the Lord and receive what the Lord was. Saying to him. So these verses here record. The Lord's work the Lord arranged. And we find the Lord doing this in Jonah's life three times. It says here in Chapter 4 what the Lord arranged. And verse six it tells us the Lord, arranged for a leafy plant to grow. Then in verse 7 the Lord arranged for a worm. And then in verse 8 the the Lord arranged for a scorching E wind. You can also go back to chapter one, verse 17, when you see that the Lord arranged for a great fish to swallow Jonah the Lord is arranging things in his sovereignty. He is orchestrating things to work in Jonah's life. As dark as the place is where Jonah is out right now, the Lord. Is merciful and compassionate and slow to anger and filled with unfailing love. He is persistently working supernaturally large scale big things to bring about. The conditions for Jonah to recognize the condition of his heart, the state of his mind, and where he's at with the Lord. Pastor Warren Wisby says the remarkable thing is that God tenderly dealt with his sulking servant and sought to bring him back to the place of joy and fellowship. Such tenderness God displays here. To Jonah, who is so angry and lashing out, yelling and and for the second time, he's saying. I wish I was dead. I wish I could die. I'm so upset by this situation. It's so bothersome it's so hurtful. In my mind, and in my heart. And so he's angry. He's sitting on a hill watching the city of Ninevah hoping, wishing, praying that. Sulfur and fire would rain down on it, like Sodom and Gomorrah. What a dark place for a prophet of God to be. It's what happens when I'm self absorbed. When I'm focused on myself and consumed with. What I want, what I need, what I think what I wish. But then we see this radical change in verse 6. He's sitting there just ohh angry just hoping for destruction on this city and a little plant grows up behind him and begins to shake his head and. He says ohh. I love you plant. You're the best plant that ever lived. This is so amazing. I have a plant now to cover me and provide shade. Oh this is so great. I hope that city gets destroyed and fire and. Brimstone, you know like he is, he is radically impacted. By this simple plan, he's very grateful for the plant it set. This is the first time in the whole book that we see that Jonah is happy. Because he had a little bit of shade. While they sat on the hill hoping for that city to be destroyed. But then there was a worm. The Lord arranged for a worm. And so the. Plant withered away. Now the shade is gone. This plant that he loved that he was so grateful for that that had him at such an emotional high. Now it's died, and now there's on top of that. This E. Wind that is scorching that it's hot. It's raised the temperature. The east wind in that region is known to raise the temperature, sometimes 15 to 20 degrees. It's kind of like when we get the Santa Anas right and you get a. Good 10 degree. Rise in temperature when when it comes and so so this wind comes. It's it's a lot hotter. He has no shade, so now the sun is beating down on him and he's now diving low. He's curling low again. Oh, death is certainly better than living like this. Here's Jonah Lowe, angry, upset with God. This is why I told you I didn't want to go. This is why I ranted tarshis ohhh look a tree. There's shade, all right. It's the best day in the world and then all the tree is gone. It's the worst day I wish I were dead it might. As well, just all be over. When I'm self absorbed. I'm prone. To this kind of behavior. I'm prone to mood swings. To go from high to low to low to high. But what's important to note about this? Is that every step of the way? God is arranging these things. He's arranging these things to help bring Jonah to an awareness. Of the condition of his heart. Pastor Tony Evans talking about this. He says when you're having a bad day, have you ever asked yourself if the things happening to you? Might be God's sovereign appointments designed for your good. Perhaps that irritating co-worker is meant to serve as a divine appointment to help you grow. I don't know if you think that way. If you don't normally think that way, if you haven't been thinking that way, you need to start thinking that way. And understand the Lord arranges. And worms. Storms and fish. The Lord arranges these things in our lives to work in our hearts, because the the real issue is our hearts. And and when we are in a position where we are not. Allowing the Lord to work in our hearts. Then that real issue continues to be the real issue. It's only when we surrender our heart to the Lord that then the Lord is able to transform our heart and to redeem us from that dark place that we are in. When I'm self absorbed and I am prone to extreme mood swings and I'm going to be high and I'm. Going to be low. Mostly low with those little peaks of like you know that stupid little thing just made me so happy. Those dark days. The condition of our heart needs. Attention from the Lord and God is working to get our attention. Because what he cares most about is our hearts. What Jonah needed the most wasn't the shade God didn't, you know, grow that plant overnight because. He was really concerned about whether or not Jonah had shade. What what Jonah needed the most was to realize the condition of his heart and how self absorbed he was. And so God, through these circumstances through this work, he's arranging these things in his life to help draw him to that place where he can see clearly. Where his mind is at and where his heart is at, and that leads us to the final verses verses 9 through 11 for point #4. When I am self absorbed I'm blind to what is most important. When I'm self absorbed I can't see. I'm so turned around I'm so upside down. I can't see. What truly is important? Verse 9 says then God. Said to Jonah. Is it right for you to be angry because? The plant died. Yes, Jonah retorted even angry enough to die. Then the Lord said you feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and it died quickly. But Ninevah has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn't I feel sorry? For such a great city. God arranging these circumstances in Jonah's life gave him and Jonah the opportunity to have this conversation. When God asked the question a few moments ago, is it right for you to be angry? Jonah wasn't ready to continue the dialogue. He wasn't ready to continue the conversation, he just runs out of the city and he's sitting on the hill hoping for the city to be destroyed. But because of these circumstances that God arranged. Now God's able to continue the conversation. And this. Circumstance that he's in now becomes an illustration that God is able to use to help him see. The position of his heart, the condition of his heart. Is it right for you, Jonah to be angry because the plant died? And you can see Jonah. He's still where he's at. Yes, it's right for me to be angry and so angry enough that I would die as a result of losing this plant. Yes, absolutely. I am in the right. And so God starts to bring some perspective. You feel sorry about the plant. Jonah, did you plant that plant? Oh, you know, come to think of it, I didn't plant that plant. I don't know where that plant came from. You did nothing to put it there. Did you water it and tend it at? Put a lot of effort and care to make sure the. Plant grew and flourished. I actually didn't do anything like that. Have you lived with that plant for? Years and years, decades and. Grown fine and and developed a real relationship with that plant. No, it came quickly and it died quickly. Can you see the? Absurdity of of where you're at. You're you're so upset and ready to die over this plant that you had nothing to do with that was here one day and gone the next. Jonah, see the absurdity of your position. See the absurdity. Of where your mind? And your heart are at listen when we are self absorbed. Just keep it. Personal when I am self absorbed I am absurd. I don't make sense I'm so angry about things that don't matter. That I that. That I don't actually care about, but I'm so self absorbed. I'm so caught up and consumed with myself. I can't see straight. I can't understand. What makes sense? What's reasonable? What's logical? We're blinded. To what's most important? When we're self absorbed. But we all know what it's like to be self absorbed. How many times is it? So frustrating to be in traffic on the freeway. Upset about my schedule, upset about how deleted? I'm going to be and how that mess messes up my day, but. You roll by the accident a couple hours later. After sitting in the traffic. You realize that people's lives were lost. You realize that great damage was done. And here I am worried I'm going to miss the previews. Of my movie, right like? We could be so blinded and upside down so many times. Frustrated and angry. All worked up, disappointed, emotional. But completely losing sight of the eternal perspective. And what really matters in life? This commentator Eric Redmond said typically people, even believers, tend to express more passion over the crash of a hard drive than over the souls of people who are in jeopardy of the wrath of God. Not that we always have to be miserable, right? That's not the point here. But at the same time. It is frequent. It is regular for us to be so worked up over things that. In the eternal scope, no impact. Really don't matter. But they put the toilet. Paper the wrong. It's facing the wrong way, don't you get it? Yeah, I get it. I get it, I get it. But if your position on toilet paper misses you, the opportunity to Minister to the city of Ninevah. Like, ah man, you're. You're self absorbed, you're backwards. I just realized there's a nice connection there between toilet paper and self absorbed that. You can think about that later. God tells Jonah Ninevah has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness. Literally it's they don't know their right hand from their left, and so there's a couple of ways to understand that. Either it's talking about how morally depraved they are. 120,000 people just completely morally depraved. Or it's talking about 120,000 children who are so young they don't know their right hand from their left yet, which would then make that a larger number. As far as people impacted their in the city of Ninevah. You can take your pick, but the point is God says 120,000 people. Not to mention the animals you ever wonder if God cares about animals and how they're treated and what happens to them here. God makes it clear. 120,000 people plus the animals. If I rained down fire and brimstone upon them, and they. Were all destroyed. That would make you happy, Joni but Jonah, but that would not make me happy. Shouldn't I feel sorry, look at look at what's at stake here. Look at the the people, the lives, the souls. That would be impacted by this. Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city? You're upset about this plant, you did nothing to grow it. It was here one day gone the next. I'm worried about these people who will live eternally somewhere. Isn't that right? For me to show them mercy and compassion. And do what I can to give them opportunity to repent and to turn. And have life. Pastor Warren, whereas he says Jonah was a narrow minded patriot who saw Assyria only as a dangerous enemy to destroy. Not as a company of repentant sinners to be brought. To the Lord. Jonah couldn't see it. He could only see them as they're the enemies of Israel. The enemies of Judah. They've done horrible things, and they deserve to be destroyed. That's all he could see. He couldn't see. Here was 120,000 people. Couldn't tell their right hand from their left hand. People that God loved and cared about. And was concerned for their eternal condition. And so when he got this call he went to Joppa and he took off to Tarsus as far away as he could. I think it was Damian Kyle. I was listening to talking about Jonah. He made a correlation there. Jonah went to Joppa. To run away from this mission to the Gentiles. And there in Joppa is where the Holy Spirit spoke to Peter. And said, Peter. You need to bring the gospel to the Gentiles. And there you have a contrast. Jonah and Peter. One who is self absorbed. And one who is Christ centered. It took Peter a little bit of convincing he had to have that vision three times. And then he went and did the will of the Lord, even though he fully didn't understand it yet. He wasn't quite sure what was. Going to happen but but. His heart was aligned with God. And so Peter. And Jonah provide a good example for us there from the position of Joppa that. When we're self absorbed, we run from the plan of God. The call of God, the work of God, our hearts, and our in opposition to God we're. Blind to what is most important, but when we are Christ centered. We're able to, yes, here are some challenging things and face some hurdles and obstacles in our own hearts. But work through them. Because we desire to see the will of God unfold and the plan of God be performed. In our lives. Let Jonah remind you of the danger. Of being self absorbed when I'm self absorbed. I'm frustrated by the nature of God. When I'm self absorbed, I'm slow to understand I'm not going to be able to receive what God is saying. When I'm self absorbed, I'm prone to extreme mood swings because my emotions are a wreck. My mind is a wreck. I'm so upside down and turned around. When I'm self absorbed, I'm blind to what is most important. How do we resolve that? When you recognize these things, these symptoms are evident in your life. You begin to wonder and question am I self absorbed? Well, I want to finish up with a passage from Hebrews chapter 12. Would you turn with me to Hebrews chapter 12 and worship team? You guys can come up and get ready for communion. In Hebrews chapter 12, the author of Hebrews is encouraging us. In regards to the men and women of faith who have gone before us in Chapter 11, and then that leads us into Chapter 12 where he says, OK, let all these good examples inspire you and encourage you to run the race that God has set before you. Hebrews chapter 12 verses one through 4 says. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to live a life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up and let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith because of the joy awaiting him. He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor, beside God's throne. Verse three think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people. Then you won't become weary and give up. After all, you have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin. The author of Hebrews tells us look in this life and the race that you're called to. There's going to be some challenges. There's going to be some difficulties and some oppositions, but you need to endure and run that race and be persistent. And you do that by keeping your eyes on Jesus. And as you get discouraged, and as you become weary as you become self absorbed and emotional and upset. He says you need to spend some time meditating on Jesus. Think of all the hostility he endured. Then you won't become weary and give up. Then you'll be protected from that ongoing progression of being self absorbed. That will destroy you greatly. Run the race with endurance. Keep your eyes on Jesus and remember what he went through on your behalf. This morning we're going to end our service by partaking of communion together. An opportunity to fix our eyes on Jesus. An opportunity to remember what he went through. And I pray that the Lord would use. This time to help us. Come out of this position of being self absorbed. That we would fix our eyes on Jesus and remember what's important, what's eternal. What has value. The Lord gave us the bread to remind us of his body that was broken for us. The pain that he endured. All that he went through physically, emotionally. He gave us the cup to remind us of his blood that was shed. For the remission of sins so that we could be cleansed. So that God could demonstrate. His mercy, his compassion, his long-suffering. His unfailing love towards us. Let us reset. Our mental and emotional state. Let us reset our perspective and our focus. By spending this time fixing our eyes on Jesus. And remembering what he went through on our behalf, that we might have a clear vision again to run with endurance. The race that is set before us. The worship team is going to lead us in worship. Anytime during the song you're able to partake, the ushers will hand out the bread and the cup, and whenever you are in that place, you're not self absorbed anymore. But now you're Christ centered. That's the time Pratique as you remember what Christ has done for you. Let's worship the Lord together and set our eyes back on the Lord to live as Christ centered. Men and women of God's worship the way.