Bible Passage to read: Jonah 3:1- 4:11
Have you ever looked like Jonah? I sure have! Oh, I'm not talking about how he looked after being puked out of the whale, I'm talking about his selfishness. There have been plenty of times when I've been more concerned about myself, and how comfortable I am, than I've been about whether people hear about God's love and forgiveness.
While Jonah was in the Belly Room of his swanky Whale Hotel, he finally repented of running away. God had compassion on Jonah, again, and the whale puked him out onto dry land. Do you think Jonah was happy about that? You bet! This time, when God told him to go to Ninevah he went.
Now, why do you think he didn't want to go to Ninevah? Because they were the enemy of Israel, and who wants to tell their enemies a secret that will keep them from being destroyed? Jonah sure didn't want to, but he went anyway and he told them they had to repent--he just hoped they wouldn't listen to him. But they did listen, and they repented, and it made Jonah angry--real angry.
Hmmmmmm. Something smells fishy here. God had just saved Jonah from drowning by sending the whale to swallow him, and then had the whale deposit him onto dry land, but Jonah didn't want God to show mercy on Ninevah. He wanted them zapped and destroyed. Sounds like a good case of selfishness if you ask me!
So what did ol' Jonah do? He went to a place where he could see the city and sat down and sulked. While he was sulking, God had compassion and sent a vine to keep the sun off him. Jonah was sooooo happy! But the next day, when a worm came and destroyed the vine, Jonah was angry because the worm killed the plant. He didn't even plant the vine but he sure was mad when it died and he was frying in the sun!
Now, wait just a minute! Was Jonah more concerned about frying in the sun than he was about a city full of people who would fry in hell if they didn't repent? Yup, he sure was! But God wasn't. And God had the final word.
Just like God had shown Jonah compassion many times on his journey to Ninevah, God showed compassion to the people of Ninevah by sparing their lives because they repented of their sins. God is a compassionate and loving God and wants to forgive people of their sins, but they have to repent and ask for His forgiveness.
Maybe it's time to learn what Jonah learned: that selfishness will make us miserable but that we don't have to just sit there and be miserable, we can care about people and whether they know about God's love and forgiveness.
Patty Wysong is a Christian wife and homeschool mom of 5 who is passionate about wrapping lessons in pretty packages that will point others to God.
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