Am I Jonah?
Take a moment to refresh, refocus, and refine your faith.
Holy God, Jonah was your prophet, yet his anger was not righteous. You chose Jonah to deliver a message of compassion and salvation to the Ninevites, yet he was cowardly and racist and wanted you to rain down fire and brimstone on them instead. Jonah was shown patience and mercy by you, yet he didn’t extend the same to others. Jonah’s prophetic mission wasn’t just for the Ninevites; it was for him too. In this moment of political and social turmoil, I must ask myself what you asked twice of Jonah: “Do you do well to be angry” (Jonah 4:4, 9)? I may know you, but that doesn’t make my views or opinions righteous. I can speak biblical truth about goodness and morality, but that doesn’t mean I’m living it. I can experience your patience, mercy, and love and yet still be an absolute hypocrite. Help me search my heart instead of condemning those I disagree with or disapprove of. God, you are patient and gracious toward me; I have no excuse to not be so toward others. Humble me, Lord, and instill in me your vision and heart moving forward. Amen.
But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”