Today I will give my thoughts on Chapter 4 in Jonah, where we see Jonah get upset and angry with God for showing compassion towards the Ninevites.
In this chapter we see the culmination of Jonah’s hatred towards the Ninevites, around 120,000 had turned from their evil ways and God had shown them mercy; which was contrary to what Jonah had hoped for. As he wanted them to be stubborn, by not changing their ways resulting in God destroying them.
God’s act of showing his mercy towards the Ninevites is opposite to how some people perceive the Old Testament God to be, as some people believe the characteristics of God in the Old Testament to be wrathful, vengeful. Yet in this instance he’s showing love and mercy which is consistent with His character.
When Jonah is showing signs of grief for a dead plant God shows Jonah how he’s got his priorities backwards, in all cultures animals are placed over plants and people above animals. Yet Jonah wanted a plant to be spared with the people of Nineveh being destroyed.
Are we sometimes guilty of behaving like Jonah, in that we want our enemies, people who cause us upset to be treated by God differently to how He treats us?
In Luke 10:27 “And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbour as yourself.” [ESV] If we are not be like Jonah, we need to be prepared to reach out to those in our lives who make our lives a misery, cause us pain and hurt. When they do turn from their sinful lives accepting God, and he shows them love and mercy, we are to rejoice in the Lord because that is another life saved from hell.
I do wonder what happened to Jonah, as the ending of the book does not state how he went on to live his life, does Jonah repent and ask for forgiveness or does he allow his hatred towards the Ninevites to fester in his heart leading him further away from God.
This coming week think about those in your life who cause you misery, pain, upset and ask that God will show himself in their lives. And if you’ve behaved like Jonah, seek His forgiveness.
All Bible links and quotes have been taken from http://www.biblegateway.com