Jonah’s anger and God’s grace

Jonah was angry at God. We’re talking “over-the-top” angry and displeased with the Lord’s grace, mercy, and love. “I hate who You are and I hate what You’ve done. That’s not how I would have played it. Who do you think you are? Why did you forgive those people, my enemy? How dare you! How could you do that? I’d rather be somewhere else. I’m so angry I could spit! I’m so angry I want to die. Take my life.” Have you ever been that angry with God? How did it work out for you? More specifically, were you ever angry at God because He loved someone you hated? Did you do well to be angry?

Jonah still hoped for his way, that his enemy would be destroyed. No grace for them! He sat and waited, rubbing his hands in anticipation for a hopeful doom. He was greedy to be vindicated, to be rewarded, to be satisfied. Imagine all that Jonah missed out on while he was being angry. What do you miss out on when you are (wrongly) angry with God? What is your reward for all that anger?

God is gracious and patient and was ready to teach Jonah a lesson. As Jonah waited, while the sun blazed high in the sky, God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But then God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered, and the sun shined, and God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And Jonah asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Poor Jonah.

But Jonah didn’t die. God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being and perished instantly. Should I not pity the enemy? There are more than 120,000 persons there who do not know me, and also much cattle.” It’s good to know God loves people AND cattle. It’s good to know God’s grace is abounding for all sinners and all His creation.

We don’t know if Jonah learned the lesson of God’s grace. I hope he did. Do you know God’s grace today, through Christ? God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Without grace, through Christ, you will not see God. He offers you the chance to repent and be born again. Do you do well to be angry with Him? His grace is greater than all your sin. Draw near to Him today and He will draw near to you.