The Father’s Character

Scripture: Jonah 4:4-11


Some of us no longer have our father with us. I’ve been missing my Pop for the past 24 years. Some of you had a less than perfect or even a no-show dad. That can make this day harder. But no matter who we are or who our father was, God, the almighty creator of the universe, the giver of life and breath, has offered to adopt everyone of us to be come part of His giant family. If you have accepted his invitation and offer of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, then you can call God your Father. And He is a perfect, always there, always has time for you, always wants what’s best for you kind of father. Today as we dive into Jonah chapter four we will see several powerful character qualities of this perfect heavenly Father. Character traits that everyone one of us dads should try to emulate and show to our children. And even if you’re not a dad or not even a man – these are qualities that everyone should strive for. When people see and experience patience, compassion, generosity, and love from us, we bring glory to God and show them what our heavenly Father is like.


This is the final sermon in Running from God’s Grace series from the book of Jonah. The theme of God’s grace is woven throughout the book. As we wrapt up Jonah, we will continue to see our need to love the spiritually lost and to share our God with others. And throughout the narrative we will be encouraged as we see how God sovereignly orchestrated events in Jonah’s life to show his amazing grace and mercy calling this running prophet back again and again.

In last week’s surprising and shocking message in Jonah chapter four, Jonah called out to God in prayer and in burning anger complained and scolded God for his patience and compassion. Today God patiently brings Jonah one more opportunity to see mercy and grace on display in his life. This book ends with an unexpected cliffhanger conclusion: will Jonah pass the final test?

If you missed the previous messages from Jonah, you can find them on our website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel.


Galatians 5:17
Romans 7:18-19
Ephesians 4:22-24
Ephesians 6:4
Psalm 103:13


Psalm 103:13


Compassion in action
James 1:17-18


1 John 4:8
God is complex and multi-faceted


Jonah ran from God but God was not willing to let Jonah stay wallowing in his foolish, ungrateful, prejudiced and self-righteous attitudes and behavior. God called him again and appointed a storm, a fish and a plant to show Jonah his own heart and God’s complex character. Jonah wrestled with the big questions like how can God be perfectly righteous, holy, and just and at the same time be merciful, gracious and loving.

Like Jonah’s questions about God, the story leaves us with a cliff hanger. Where’s verse 12 to tell us how Jonah responds to God’s again patient questions for Jonah. How does Jonah answer? Does he remain stubborn and uncaring or does he finally recognize just how amazing God is? What happens next?

The book ends without Jonah’s answer. How will he respond to God’s grace? And then in a way – poses the question to us, the readers. “How will you answer the question?” Should I have compassion and show love to the lost? Should I care about millions of people around the world, or across the street who are spiritually blind and suffering with the weight of their sin? If I do care, what should I do about it?

People need to see and experience the Father’s character through us. Show them patience, compassion, generosity, and love – we bring glory to God and show them what our heavenly Father is like.

Take Aways

Why did God take Jonah on this amazing journey? In His great mercy, God was doing spiritual surgery on the idols of Jonah’s heart. And for us today, we can ask the same three questions of our own hearts:
1. How do I respond to God’s Word? Do I read it and obey it? Is God’s word the place I go for answers and comfort? Do I believe it has final authority in my life? Do I believe it is all-sufficient – supplying everything I need for life and godliness?
2. How do I respond to God’s World? Do I have love and compassion for the lost instead of contempt and prejudice? Do I share the Gospel and live as a light to point people to Christ? Do I bring glory to God by living out His character to my family, my neighbors, my co-workers, my community? Watching your life will they know God’s patience, generosity, compassion, and love?
3. How do I respond to God’s Grace? Have I accept God’s gift of salvation through His Son Jesus Christ? Do I keep trying to earn my salvation or earn God’s favor by trying harder and working at it more or do I know His grace so deeply that it naturally overflows to the people around me? Instead of running from God’s grace embrace it and rejoice in it.