Odd’s are you have heard the story of Jonah and the whale even if you aren’t a regular church attendee.
You know the one, God ask Jonah to deliver a message to Nineveh, Jonah doesn’t want to so he goes in the opposite direction and jumps on a boat with a bunch of random strangers. On my journey through the bible chronologically I came upon this story and I immediately laugh at this turn of events.
- GOD spoke to you dude
- Jonah ran from God….uh where are you going to go? You are running from the God that see’s you.
- After you ran, you decide to get on a boat – A BOAT
I discovered that there was more to this story that was more powerful to me than being swallowed by a giant fish and then spat out onto dry land after 3 days. Of course after all this craziness that he inflicted on himself and those poor fisherman who’s boat he jumped on( lucky for them they discovered the true God) he listened and did what he was told.
I mean so would I. You would have to be crazy not to jump on that second chance.
He went to Nineveh and told the people of their coming destruction, and they repented, they turned from their evil ways and God decided not to destroy them.
Cue Jonah- who now tells God that he knew he was going to change his mind and that is why he disobeyed him to begin with???
He blamed God for his disobedience. God then asked him if it was right for him to be angry about this? So Jonah goes to the edge of the city and makes a shelter to wait and see what happens to these people. God arranges a plant that grows and shades Jonah and he is grateful, but the next day God arranges a worm and it kills the plant. Jonah’s anger rises again.
This is what spoke volumes to me (Jonah 4:9-11)
Then God said to Jonah “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”
Then the Lord said “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”
Jonah knew God was merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, yet he was angry that He was showing mercy on these people, so angry that he would rather die than see his prophecy of destruction not come to pass.
How often do we do this? God saves us from being eaten by a giant fish because we didn’t not obey yet we are angry at mercy given for what we deem a greater sin?
Are you cheering for repentance or pouting at the gate for justice?
“But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise, and I will fulfill all my vows. For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
So reading this story brought to memory a tale on Hunter and I. H is rough and rowdy and I never mind playing rough with him, I often do it to show him just how his brother and sister feel, and usually he tolerates it well and we have fun. A few weeks ago I was on the trampoline with him and his friend, 2 against 1, I spit a ball at them to see if I can hit them and then we race to see who can retrieve it……gross I know but come on ….YOLO. Rules: no pushing. no diving at the ball. I am obviously weigh more so I used that to my advantage to get the ball back to me and I bent down to pick it up, and at that moment Hunter dive bombed me and we hit head on, hard. You know when your kids hurts you and it takes your breath away….. yeah well it hurt but in his pain he starts screaming at me, that I hurt him on purpose and it was all my fault.
Oh how God must feel.
Was it my fault ? No.
Did he follow instructions? No
Did he have the right to be mad?
That doesn’t mean that in our pain those feelings of anger and blame don’t rise up. H knew in his heart, I would never purposely hurt him, he knows my love is unconditional, and that he hadn’t followed instructions .
I explained the rules to my son again and told him if he was going to play rough he better get tough, because we don’t dish it out if we can’t take it. That even though I suffered with him in the head on collision, I was not to blame for his disobedience, much like the men on the boat in Jonah’s story who weathered a storm they did not cause.
While reading about Jonah this morning I realized that sometimes even in the midst of God’s grace and mercy and unfailing love we can still be angry.
Maybe God is asking you this morning
“Do you have the right to be mad about this?”
It is not my right to sit on the outside of the city demanding justice, it is my job to pray for redeeming love to be poured out.