Jonah 4


In today’s passage, we have an unusual account about Jonah being unhappy that the people of Nineveh repented. Instead of rejoicing, Jonah was upset that God forgave the Ninevites. It was not because he did not understand God’s character because in v.2, he says, God is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in love and a God who relents from sending calamity. Jonah was upset because he did not want God to exercise his grace on the Ninevites because Jonah considered them unworthy of God’s forgiveness.

We should not be too quick to judge Jonah here. Sometimes we can wonder why God doesn’t judge a certain person or group of people when they had done something evil or when a wrong is done to us, we wish God would judge them.  Though these thoughts may be fleeting but it can come to some of us. Jonah wanted them punished by God so badly that he threatened God that he would want God to take away his life.   Are we not fortunate that God does not act according to our concept of fairness? Are we not fortunate that God is a gracious God who forgives those that we deem undeserving? All of us did not deserve God’s forgiveness and we did nothing to merit God’s grace. Yet, Christ died for us while we are still sinners.  

While there are many things to learn from the story of Jonah. Ultimately, it is a story about you and me. What is in our heart? In verse 4, God asked Jonah “Is it right for you to be angry?” God asks us questions to reveal what our true intentions are, what really is in our heart. If Jonah had self-reflected first, he would ask himself was God not gracious to him too when he wanted to run away? Quite often, we are slow to see our own issues, failures, and constant need for God's grace and yet we are quick to see other people’s faults. We can condemn other people’s sin and can become self-righteous. We need to learn to be compassionate towards others and learn to show grace to others. We must remember that Jesus showed grace to people who did not deserve grace according to human standards. We must understand that despite someone’s failures and faults, there is always room for kindness and forgiveness.

Prayer

We thank you for being a God of compassion and a God of grace and much more. We thank you that you have forgiven us when we did not deserve it. Helps us be a vessel of compassion and grace for Your glory. Amen.  

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