Summary: The last part of the book of Jonah is all about attitude. God used Jonah to help save the Ninevites. Now Jonah is mad because he disliked the Ninevites. No matter how bad we may feel about our enemies we need to see them saved as WE ALL were once enemies
Our final lesson on Jonah is all about attitude.
Jonah 3:10 “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.”
This is why Jonah fled in the first place. He did not want God to spare the evil Ninevites.
Jonah 4:1-3 “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee 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, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Now I don’t know why Jonah was so angry. Other commentaries suggested that maybe someone in Jonah’ family had been tortured by the Ninevites. But since it does not say in the Bible we do not know for sure. One thing is for sure Jonah is mad at God. You see Jonah telling God that God is slow to anger and compassionate but Jonah doesn’t want to come outright and say that He is displeased with God. So he says that he just wants to die.
The next passage does not help Jonah in the least bit.
Jonah 4:4-9 “But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah went 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 vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine 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, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”
Now Jonah is angry about a vine. Have you ever been the subject of someone’s wrath? It wasn’t you that caused a person to go off on you in a fit of rage. You just happened to be there when they exploded. Jonah desires compassion for himself and the people he likes but hates it when God has compassion on Jonah’s enemies. Here is one thing in life we need to comprehend. We all are enemies of God. That is why God sent Jesus to this world. For those that believe in Jesus will now be reconciled to God.
God also has another great parable about a man's wages. One man gets hired in the morning and is so happy for work that the denarius he is going to be paid is great. Near the end of the day another person is hired but he is paid the same as the man who worked all day. Now the one in the morning is mad. This is how it is with the kingdom of heaven and God’s forgiveness. When we are saved maybe at the beginning of our life we had great joy. Some people actually get mad when someone is saved on their deathbed because they think they were able to do a bunch of bad things, repent and still get into heaven.