READ JONAH FOUR
Jonah’s mission is complete – the people of Nineveh have repented and God has relented!
How does Jonah respond in 4:1?
Is this the reaction you would have expected him to have? Why or why not?
It is here that we are given a little insight into Jonah’s psyche when he originally fled for Tarshish. Why does Jonah say he originally fled?
Jonah lists God’s character traits that made him flee for Tarshish. What are they?
Jonah didn’t flee from his calling because he was unsure as to what God was like, but precisely because he knew God’s character. He knew who God is, how He operates in the world, and that His character is unchanging. And when that unchanging character flew in the face of Jonah’s personal preferences and selfish motives, he ran.
As a result, Jonah makes a request of God. What is it?
There is something incredible in what Jonah has just said. Jonah holds two things close in hand. On the one hand, he knows God’s character – that God is merciful, slow to anger, and quick to save. And Jonah does not simply know this in his head, but he has just experienced this personally, physically, and tangibly! Jonah has just been spared from death – the death he brought willfully upon himself – precisely because God is who Jonah has just claimed He is! On the other hand, he would rather die than see God extend a hand of salvation to the nation of Nineveh. Jonah reiterates his longing for death because God has spared others the way that God spared him.
Friends, this is sobering. How many times in our own lives have we asked God for mercy but been disappointed when God’s mercy was extended to others? How many times have we begged for God’s blessing, but been bitter when His blessing was extended to others? When we praise God’s character of benevolence and kindness only when it is extended in our direction, but bemoan His character when it is extended towards others, we are right there with Jonah.
And God’s question to Jonah is His question to us as well: Do you do right to be angry? And our humble confession must be, no. No, we have no right to be angry.
PRAY & REFLECT
Consider the many ways God has been kind to you. Ask Him to reveal in your heart any time that you have not wanted Him to extend that same kindness to others. Ask Him to give you a heart that longs for His character to be on display in every way throughout the world.