10. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed His mind about the calamity that He had said He would bring upon them; and He did not do it.Wow. Again wow. Jonah is basically reproaching the Lord for being "gracious ... merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love."
1. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. 2. He 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. 3. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4. And the Lord said "Is it right for you to be angry?"
Jonah, in case you've already forgotten, the grace, mercy and steadfast love of God are the only reason you are alive right now.
Bu no, in fact, Jonah doesn't even want to be alive at this point.
This phrase - "Our God is a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love" - is one I heard many times, growing up, from my parents and my church. I had no idea it was originally spoken out of deep disappointment and anger.
It is very hard for me to relate to Jonah at this point in the story. Or rather it always was, until I read this. Whew. So true, and now I can totally relate to Jonah.
I'm this childish way too often. How many times have I acted like I knew better than the Lord about what He "should have done" in a particular situation?
More than I would like to admit, I'm sure.
It's so easy for us to think of God as our own personal God, concerned with our own personal affairs, ready to do what we want Him to do. Now don't get me wrong. God is intimately concerned with our own personal affairs, but He is far far far from being at our beck and command. The thing that is so difficult for us to understand and wrap our heads around is that our God is equally intimately concerned with the personal affairs of our friends, our co-workers, our teachers, our students, our neighbors, even our enemies!
This kind of one-sided thinking and misunderstanding is what caused most of Israel to miss the fact that Jesus, the redeemer, was in their midst. They were busy looking for the Messiah who would come and rescue them from Roman rule, and couldn't see that the true Messiah was so much bigger and loved the Romans just as much as He loved them.
He loves His entire creation impartially, because He looks at our hearts, rather than our actions. He knew that Jonah's heart was just as wicked as those in Nineveh. And yet He loved Jonah and chose to use him to fulfill His purposes.
This post was written as part of the "She Shares Truth" experiment over at shereadstruth.com