Most Christians and anyone familiar with the bible for that matter has heard the story of Jonah or about Jonah and the whale. If not to make the story short God wanted Jonah to go preaching and witnessing to the people of a town called Nineveh. Nineveh was a town full of wicked people and were bitter enemies of the Israelite's Jonah's people. So Jonah did not want to go, however after much persuasion and trials Jonah goes to the people of Nineveh. Jonah tells them to straighten up and they repent, so God spares them at the end of chapter 3. Our text for today picks up at chapter 4, let's look to our text.
Jonah 4: 1-11
But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2He prayed to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. 3And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ 4And the Lord said, ‘Is it right for you to be angry?’ 5Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city, and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
6 The Lord God appointed a bush, and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort; so Jonah was very happy about the bush. 7But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. 8When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, ‘It is better for me to die than to live.’
Jonah Is Reproved
9 But God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?’ And he said, ‘Yes, angry enough to die.’ 10Then the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labour and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’
Many people look at the story of Jonah and think about how hard it was for Jonah to have to go to his sworn enemy and help them to see the light. This is a viable and meaning piece to the story when we the people looking at the story relate to Jonah. The funny thing is as Christians we always want to see ourselves as Jonah bearing the burden of having to go spreading the word of God to save someone else. Truthfully more often than not we are the Ninevehites, needing to straighten up and repent. When we look at the story from that angle the entire perception changes. Let's focus on vs 11:And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals?’ If God is so concerned about and offered full forgiveness to the people of Nineveh who were wicked and sinful, and the animals as well. Then how much forgiveness, love and compassion does God have for us? Just as much if not more. So thank God that god is concerned about the Ninevehites, because that means even in our wicked, and messed up ways we are still offered forgiveness and acceptance if we ask and repent.
Some would be like Jonah and not even want to give us a chance, but again thank God that God is concerned about all Gods people. Today reflect on times when you felt like Jonah in your life, but also remember those times when you could have easily been the Ninevehites. Once you have thought about it compare to yourself which one you have felt like more the Ninevehites or Jonah.
Then take time out to praise and thank God for both sending us out to spread the good news even if sometimes against our will, and praise God for being concerned about us when we are acting like the people of Nineveh.
Until next time, Be Well.