READ JONAH ONE THROUGH FOUR
Chapter four has one resounding theme: God is faithful. We saw in chapters one, two, and three that God is faithful to those who call out to him, and in chapter four we learn this: God is faithful … even when we don’t want Him to be.
Read Jonah 4:9-11. Where have we seen this question before in Jonah’s story?
What do you think God is trying to show Jonah by repeating this question?
God points out Jonah’s fickleness. Jonah feels sorry that the plant has died because it gave him shade, but he has no pity on the entire nation that sits before him. The plant that grew up overnight garners Jonah’s affection, but not the nation to which God has sent him miles and miles to call to repentance.
What do you think is at the heart of God’s closing question to Jonah?
Why do you think the narrative ends here?
What questions are left unanswered for you in this story?
I don’t know about you, but I’m left feeling a little disappointed by how the story ends. It feels like a great book that should have another closing chapter that wraps everything up in a tidy and satisfying way. I want to know where Jonah went from there and if he learned to love God’s character. I want to know if Nineveh continued to walk in repentance, and I want to know if Jonah recounted this story to his children and grandchildren.
But we’re not given that satisfaction, and I think we know why. In many ways, this book isn’t about Nineveh. It’s not about a whale or a storm or a boat. The book isn’t even ultimately about Jonah. This is a story about God’s faithfulness.
When Jonah ran from God, God chased after him – even though Jonah didn’t want Him to. When Jonah would rather have been thrown in the sea than repent and call out to God, God appointed a great fish to rescue him – even when Jonah didn’t want Him to. When Jonah called the people to repentance, God spared the nation – even when Jonah didn’t want Him to. Time and time again in this short story we’re reminded: God is faithful, even when we don’t want Him to be.
Let this truth ring in your ears today: God is going to be faithful to you today. By His grace and in His mercy, God is going to faithfully call you back to repentance. When you, like Jonah, go your own way, God will be faithful. He will chase after you. When you, like Jonah, despair of your calling, God will be faithful. He will rescue you. When you, like Jonah, wish He would withhold the hand of grace from those in need, God will be faithful. He will extend His hand of grace. God is faithful. Friends, He is faithful. He is faithful. He is faithful.
And it is in this truth that you and I rest today. We can face the things He has called us to do today in the hope that He will be faithful again today, just as He always has been. Let Jonah’s story be a testimony to you: God is faithful.
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that He is faithful. Thank Him that He is always faithful. Ask Him to help you learn from Jonah’s story and to trust His faithfulness as you walk into today – and every day.