Jonah: Part 2

When we left Jonah yesterday he had just delivered a message from God to the people of Nineveh…and it was NOT one of blessings!  They were frankly told to repent…or be destroyed.  Once they heard this message, they believed.  The king made a decree that every man and animal was to be covered in sackcloth; which by no means was something comfortable.  Sackcloth was just that cloth that was used for sacks and worn by mourners or to show repentance.  When it was worn, it was typically made from black goat’s hair which was was rough, thick, and coarse. {1}  The king hoped that if the people truly turned away from their violence and evil ways God would have compassion on the people and not destroy them.  God did exactly that…

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. ~Jonah 3:10

Once his job was complete, Jonah leaves the city, but he doesn’t go home.  In fact he’s angry with God!  We learn that Jonah didn’t run away from God or from Nineveh because he was afraid of the people; after all they did have quite a reputation for being a violent and evil city.  Instead, take a look at Jonah’s real reason for booking a one way ticket to Tarshish…

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. ~Jonah 4:2

Did you catch that?  Jonah ran away because he knew that if the people of Nineveh repented, God would show compassion on them!  God would allow this city who had been violent and sinful for years to go about their business simply because they repented.  That’s why Jonah ran.  He wanted to have this city wiped from the face of the earth.  So there Jonah sits on the top of a hill, looking down on Nineveh and all it’s people…waiting, watching, and hoping to see these people “get what they deserved.”

I can imagine God shaking His head at his servant Jonah, looking at him just sitting in the heat.  God made a vine to grow over Jonah, offering him a bit of shade.  {Jonah had already built himself a little shelter, but God had an important lesson for Jonah to learn.} Jonah was very happy about this vine, but the next morning, God caused a worm to eat through the vine and it withered away.  God also caused a very hot east wind to blow over Jonah until he grew faint {picture yourself in the TX heat with a blow dryer on high blowing in your face}.  Can you guess how Jonah reacted?  He was angry with God…over a vine that lived for only a day!  In fact, he was so angry he wanted to die!!

God, being the eternally patient Father that He is, asked Jonah why he cared more about that vine than the 120,000 people in the city of Nineveh. Jonah’s reply…well…we never get one.  That is where this story ends in scripture but we have the power to make our own ending.  Consider …

  1. That co-worker that seems to bring out the worst in you.
  2. Your mother/father who abandoned you.
  3. The one who broke your heart, leaving you feeling worthless, unwanted.
  4. That person who has brought you nothing but pain and betrayal.
  5. Your boss who never appreciates just how hard you work.
  6. ______________________________________________.

Do you run from opportunities to share the Gospel with them?  Are you afraid that if they come to faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, you will see them in heaven one day?  Have you set up a shelter of bitterness and anger, just waiting, watching, and hoping they will “get what they deserve”?

If so, I challenge you with this.  Make an ending to your story that will bring glory to God.  God has never stopped showing you compassion, He has never stopped forgiving you of your sins.  What if you are…

  1. That co-worker that seems to bring out the worst in others?
  2. That mother/father who has abandoned their children?
  3. The one who broke someone’s heart, leaving them feeling worthless, unwanted?
  4. That person who has brought someone nothing but pain and betrayal?
  5. The boss who never appreciates just how hard your employees work?
  6. ______________________________________________?

Wouldn’t you be the Ninevite who donned the sackcloth, just hoping and praying that God would show you compassion?  Withholding His promise of wrath and destruction? Yes?

Then GO show others the same unending compassion God has given to you, remind them of the gift of forgiveness offered through Jesus Christ and, when appropriate, warn them of God’s wrath.  In this way, you will give glory to God…and hopefully, your ending will be even better than Jonah’s.

Resources:

{1} Taken from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, M. G. Easton Sackcloth: CLOTH MADE OF BLACK GOATS’ HAIR, COARSE, ROUGH, AND THICK, USED FOR SACKS, AND ALSO WORN BY MOURNERS (Gen. 37:34; 42:25; 2 Sam. 3:31; Esther 4:1, 2; Ps. 30:11, etc.), and as a sign of repentance (Matt. 11:21). It was put upon animals by the people of Nineveh (Jonah 3:8). {I’m loving my new QuickVerse!}

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2 thoughts on “Jonah: Part 2

  1. Thank you for looking at this part of the story! I see new insight here, and I really appreciate you bringing it up and out into the open. Thanks for the research and the sharing!

    Like

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