When we last left off, Jonah was in the city of Nineveh witnessing the most epic revival in history! Even so, the prophet was not in the least bit moved to watch an entire city come to Christ. We see him in chapter four “displeased” with what God had done in the city of Nineveh and actually praying for his own death—all because of his anger! So when God asks Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?” we are shown the true condition of Jonah’s heart. It was filled with pride, hatred and a complete lack of grace towards God’s people.
Even in the midst of all Jonah’s prideful hissy fits, God still continues to show he is merciful and graceful by comforting Jonah with a plant to “ease his discomfort” (v.6). Immediately following the plant was a worm that caused the plant to wither and the sun to beam so intensely on Jonah that he nearly fainted. Again, we find Jonah asking God to take his life. As soon as comfort was removed from his life, Jonah became this miserably depressed person seeking death—all because he was uncomfortable….but Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that we could be comfortable. He died so that we could be holy. God, in all his mercy and love, was trying to show Jonah the true condition of his heart. He was trying to show him that it is impossible to love God if you do not love people. God wanted Jonah to have a heart after His own.
Many things are evident in the story of Jonah—God’s deep love, grace and mercy go without saying—but Jonah’s gospel speaks to the true condition of the heart of man today. It shows that although we may be God’s people, we are still very much a mess! We can be selfish, prideful and even hateful at times, completely contradicting what God is about. Looking at it this way, we almost wonder why God would choose to use us as his people, but He does! God makes the most use of broken things. Just as he tried to get across to Jonah, God wants us all to be a people after His own heart; a people filled with unconditional love, grace and mercy.
So, reflecting on Jonah’s last chapter, how are you when it comes to extending grace to others? Is your grace conditional & hard to attain? What is your reaction when God takes away what makes you comfortable? Do you throw tantrums like Jonah or praise God as Job did? Let’s put our “selves” aside and learn to live as a people after God’s heart, willing to love and serve each other as Christ loves and serves us.