Are We Like Jonah?

Southaven, Ms

By: Mike Upchurch

In the book of Jonah, we are permitted a look deep into the heart of a man.  Jonah was a good man.  He was a godly man with a personal in-depth relationship with God. He was a prophet and entrusted with the very words of God. But he had a flaw. 

Turns out he was human just like us. 

Nineveh was an ancient city, the largest city of its day in the world. But they were a wicked people and their wickedness had received God’s attention. Therefore the Lord instructed Jonah to warn them that they would be destroyed. We all know the story of how Jonah first ran away and ended up in the belly of a great fish. But Jonah repented and did ultimately go, warning them they would be destroyed in forty days.  Jonah had obeyed and now his reputation was on the line. He now wanted the wicked people of the city of Nineveh destroyed to save face. He wanted God to wipe them out, but not because they were wicked, but because he had told them that’s what would happen. 

God had said He was destroying the city but then God did a typical God thing; He had mercy and relented from destroying them because they repented in true sorrow.  God was being the merciful God that He is!

But then Jonah became angry about God granting mercy!  His reputation was at stake, and now he looked like a fool. He didn’t care about the people as much as he cared about what people thought of him. Observe…..

“When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.”

“But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry.”

‭‭Jonah‬ ‭3:10-4:1‬ ‭

He became angry when God didn’t follow through!  In fact, he was so embarrassed that his reputation was tarnished among the people of Nineveh that he told God he wanted to die!

Poor Jonah was mad that wicked people didn’t die! And it was because he told them it was coming!  But shouldn’t Jonah have been relieved that over 120,000 people were spared and not destroyed?  

But let’s do some soul searching about us. Are we any better than Jonah?  Do we wish God would strike wicked people dead or punish them?  Would it make us feel better to see evil people punished in our lifetime so we can enjoy their fate?  Do we who try to live holy lives wish that God would punish the wicked, helping us feel better about the sacrifices we make to live for the Lord?  Do we groan when nothing happens to them?  Do we become jealous if God forgives them instead?  Would we be shocked and angry if formerly wicked people are found in Heaven beside us?  Would we complain to God?  Would we wish we were somewhere else?  

Let’s make it even more personal. If you’re a conservative Republican, do you wish God would do something about the Democrat Congress members who tried to impeach a sitting President?  Would like to see Adam Schiff punished?  Or House Leader Nancy Pelosi?  What if you’re a Democrat?  Do you wish God would step in and punish President Trump?  Or Senate leader Mitch McConnell?  Do you also hate media personalities that promote a side different from yours?

Friends, we need more compassion in our hearts if we desire that people who we feel are wicked are punished instead of their being saved!  We shouldn’t gloat in the fact the wicked will perish if they don’t repent. We need to remember WE may have once been them, but God showed us mercy!  We need to give them mercy too, and pray that they are saved instead of destroyed!

And that’s the way I see it!

Pastor Mike