Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Jonah’s Anger and the Lord’s Compassion
Jonah 4:1-11

 
Justin Mani
Staten Island MTC, New York
10 Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh.....
 
The book of Jonah is a very unique book. In the beginning of the book, we see the Lord asking Jonah to go the city of Nineveh and preach to them because wickedness has come up in that land. Jonah got scared and ran away in the opposite direction towards Tarshish instead. The Lord sent a storm and a big fish to get Jonah to change his decision and finally Jonah was heading to Nineveh to preach about the upcoming destruction of the city. The people of Nineveh heard Jonah and decided to turn away from their evil ways and called the Lord. The Lord saw this and decided not to bring destruction to the city of Nineveh.
Now we have Jonah very anger at the Lord and prayed “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” We see that Jonah is angry at the Lord and we see that he is listing the attributes of the Lord’s perfect character but also see the change in character of Jonah. Jonah was looking for the Lord to have mercy on him in the beginning of the book through the storm and being swallowed by the big fish but then when the Lord has mercy towards the people of Nineveh, Jonah has trouble accepting that. We see that in ourselves as well, we tend to look to the Lord to have mercy on us when in times of trouble and we need help to get out of a situation but when it is for our enemies or other people we get angry and ask Lord, why are you helping them?

Then the Lord asks “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah did not answer and just walked away and sat in a place east of the city. The Lord asked Jonah this question just to try and reveal Jonah’s heart to himself and to the Lord. Jonah was being honest and felt like he was right but we can’t go around and think for a moment that our feelings are justified towards the Lord. If we were to answer that question, what would we say? The answer should be as simple as no because the Lord is always right even if we don’t understand Him.


While Jonah sat and rested to see if anything is going to happen, the Lord grew a plant to shelter Jonah and he was well pleased with the Lord. After a while, the Lord sent a worm to eat the plant over night and the plant died. The daybreak came and the winds picked as well as the sun was hot on Jonah and he grew faint. Jonah was grateful for the plant but when it was taken away, he is angry and wants to die. The Lord asked him “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” Jonah replied “It is and I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” The Lord replied to Jonah , “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left - and also many animals?”. As the Lord explains to Jonah how the Lord has compassion on all things not just his people. The Lord loves His creation and people whether they make Him happy or not.

PRAYER

Dear Lord God Almighty, help us to understand more about Your plan and Your compassion towards all things. Please forgive us as sometimes we do not understand Your plans. Allow us to have patience as we grow in the Lord and help us to share the Lord’s views with others. Amen.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” Colossians 3:17