The story concerns God’s call to Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh of its coming destruction. However, Jonah tries to avoid his mission by running away but ends up going after being swallowed and spat out by a huge fish. Jonah 1–2
I always thought that the moral of this story was for us to know that you can’t run away from what God has called you to do. Which is true of course, but I learned something completely new which really challenged me.
After Jonah went to preach to the Ninevites, they fasted, prayed and repented from their evil ways and God forgave them.
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what the Ninevites did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah 4: 1–4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing 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, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
God is asking Jonah if his anger towards the Ninevites is justified, there is no response from Jonah to this in bible, but Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were very cruel and violent.
God still forgave the Ninevites but Jonah was still hoping God will destroy them. Jonah would rather die than see the Ninevites live.
The questions that challenged me are:
1) Are you ok with God loving and forgiving your enemies?
2) Is there a bit of Jonah inside you that’s holding on to grudges that God has already declared forgiven?
Today I choose to remember that God loves all people and desires to show mercy and forgiveness to those who repent.
Prayer: I thank God for his unending mercy and pray that we learn to love and forgive our enemies the same way God forgives us. Amen