God's Grace | Jonah 4:1-4
Jonah 4:1-4 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." But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
This part of the book is the B-side of the B-side. It’s the piece of the “Jonah and the Whale” story that gets left out of the Bedtime Bible Stories. Just as well. As you are tucking little Susie in, it’s not the best time to deal with the question, “Mommy, why was Jonah angry that so many people got saved?”
Amazing turn of events! Jonah did not run from God because he was scared that the Ninevites might use his skin for wallpaper. He refused to go to Nineveh because he knew that God would be gracious and compassionate toward them and he didn’t think that they deserved it. Then Jonah emphasized his emotional meltdown with a bit of drama. “…O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah, get a grip! That’s essentially what God said…”Have you any right to be angry?”
The Apostle Paul tells us this in Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Your heart and mine is deceitful above all things and beyond cure (Jeremiah 17:9). Our salvation is only because God is gracious and compassionate… slow to anger and abounding in love. Jonah had forgotten that he was as guilty as the Ninevites. If God’s grace wasn’t big enough to save the wicked people of Nineveh, it wasn’t big enough to save him.
So here’s a question to seriously consider: Is there any person or group of people that you would rather see burn in hell than be shown God’s grace? If that’s the case, you have some real spiritual work to do. By God’s grace, you had better get started working on that issue today!
Father, help us to deal honestly with any prejudice in our hearts that would cause us to not want a person or a group of people to know your Son as Lord and Savior. Please rid us of such wicked attitudes. In Christ’s Name, Amen