After running away from the Lord and the calling He placed on Jonah’s life, he was finally obedient to Him and got on mission. That mission led to the hardest of hard people repenting of their sin and giving their lives to Christ. This is like a revival for Jesus in Las Vegas or something. You’d think Jonah would rejoice over this but he doesn’t. Instead he acts like how we act when things in church and with God’s mission don’t go the way we really want them to.
First, we see Jonah becoming selfish and wanting self-pity (v. 1, 5). We act the same way when it’s about us instead of others. Church becomes about us, events, Connect Groups, discipleships, and conversations are about us and soon we find ourselves watching from the outside when the mission is about others.
Next we see how Jonah gives God excuses and over exaggerates situations (v. 6-8). “Oh the worm ate my plant that gave me shade, I’m better off dead, KILL ME GOD, KILL ME.”
Pllllllllease, Jonah. As frustrated as I get when reading these verses, I know that myself and probably many of you can come up with excuses about why we don’t share the Gospel, give up on the mission, stop inviting people to church, and then over exaggerate situations we’re not happy about. “My Connect Group doesn’t love Jesus because they only pray for 5 minutes instead of 10 mins… Our church doesn’t preach the Gospel because there’s no altar call in the end.” Greg Haslam once said “When we pre-occupy ourselves with minor distractions, God wants to save multitudes.”
Then we see how Jonah stays stubborn in his sin (v. 9). This is where Jonah really acts like a whiny little baby. Can I write that about one of God’s prophets? I don’t know, but I just did because I believe in proper context; that really is the best exposition of this passage. The first time God asks him if he’s justified in his anger, he didn’t answer, but now he’s answering like a middle school girl on social media.
But again, this is true for all of us. We stay stubborn in our sin when we lose a burden for others around us, especially the lost.
Last of all we see Jonah renounce God’s mercy and grace (v. 2, 10). In the end, Jonah got exceedingly angry, stubborn and selfish because he did not want God to forgive and save Ninevah. It’s always dangerous when we play the role of God and pick or choose who should receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. But God teaches Jonah (and us) through the plant he took away, and the fruit he was bearing in the Ninevites lives, that we can care about or pity something that we didn’t make or have control over in the first place. We can’t afford to forget God’s grace—to forget who gives the gifts and how He keeps on giving.
- What stuck out to you in this last chapter of Jonah? Comment below.
By: Erik Koliser — West Campus Pastor