Jonah Gets Angry
JUNE 15 - Nº 166 [Jonah 3 – 4]
Once he was on dry ground, God gave Jonah the same command He had given him before. “Leave right now and go to Nineveh. Tell them I am going to judge them because of their wickedness.” This time Jonah obeyed. He got up and went straight to Nineveh. Nineveh was such a big city that it took Jonah three days to walk from one side to the other. While he walked, he shouted, “God is going to destroy this city in 40 days!” The people believed Jonah’s message. Everyone stopped eating and put on sackcloth (clothes made from burlap bags) as a sign that they were willing to repent. When Jonah’s warning reached the king, he got up from his throne and took off his royal robes. He put on sackcloth, too, then sat down in a pile of ashes. From there, he and his nobles made a decree that no people or animals were allowed to eat or drink. They were to cover themselves (and their animals) in sackcloth and call on God. He said, “Maybe God will change His mind and let us live.” When God saw all that they were doing, He knew that they were sincere—that they had truly turned away from the evil things they were doing. So He did not send judgment. This made Jonah furious! “I told you this would happen,” he sulked to God. “I knew that You would change Your mind. You are too gracious and compassionate. You don’t like to be angry—You would rather show Your love. That’s why I didn’t want to come. Kill me right now! I’d rather be dead than see You be so nice to such wicked people!” God replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah didn’t answer. He just walked until he found a place to sit down on the east side of the city. He made himself a shelter and rested in its shade. Then he waited to see what would really happen to the city. While he was sitting there, God caused a vine to grow up next to him to give him extra shade from the hot sun. Jonah was very pleased with that vine. But the next morning God caused a worm to eat the plant, and it withered. Then God sent a scorching hot wind. The heat was unbearable! Jonah felt like he was going to faint. Again he was angry with God. “I don’t want to live any more,” he moped. “It would be better if I was dead!” God asked Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the vine?” “Yes, it is!” Jonah replied. “I am so angry I just want to die!” God said, “You are far more concerned about a simple vine—one that you did not plant or water or do anything for—than you are about the people in this city. Isn’t it right for Me to care about the people that I created at least as much as you care about that plant? Have you noticed that there are over 120,000 innocent people living here—not to mention all the animals?” Jonah never responded.
Do you find yourself more concerned about your own physical comfort than you are about someone’s eternal life? God doesn’t leave us here to see how comfortable we can get. He leaves us here to tell others how they can know Him. Lost people matter to God (no matter how bad they are)! They are His #1 priority! He wants them to matter to us just as much as they matter to Him!