This week I want to bring us to the book of Jonah. Most of us are probably fairly familiar with at least the first three chapters of the book of Jonah. It starts with Jonah’s rebellion in chapter 1, his repentance in chapter 2 from within the belly of a giant fish, and his proclamation of God’s word to Nineveh and God’s compassion on Nineveh in chapter 3. It is easy to stop here, but there is a chapter 4 in the book of Jonah, and for some reason I find it gets overlooked quite often.
After God has compassion on Nineveh, we see Jonah get angry with God. Then we see a discourse between Jonah and God. The book does not end with a happy ending, but rather ends fairly abruptly with God’s final argument or statement to Jonah. We are not given any insight as to whether or not Jonah ever turns from his anger about the compassion God had on Nineveh, but rather we have chapter 4, a chapter that should challenge us. Do we rejoice when God shows compassion on our enemies or people we don’t deem worthy? Jonah had great enmity toward Nineveh, and he went to them with a message of destruction from God, and then they repented and God had compassion on them. Instead of rejoicing over the repentance of Nineveh and the fact that they were saved from the destruction, Jonah instead got angry. How would we respond to the salvation of our enemies? Let us not be like Jonah in this instant, but instead let us love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matthew 5:44), and rejoice when one is saved!
Just a disclaimer, I personally believe Jonah did have a change of heart, because I am inclined to believe he wrote the book himself, and that is why it seems rather harsh on how he is portrayed. In reading the book of Jonah it brilliantly paints God as the hero of the account and not Jonah, and I believe if we had been given another account of repentance of Jonah’s part we could get that misconstrued and bring some glory to Jonah, where all glory is due to God… Just a few extra thoughts there.
Thanks for reading!