‘When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “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 are 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.” (Jonah 3:10-4:3)
Summary: Jonah was angry because he hated the people to whom God was showing mercy.
You can watch this devotional at:
Jonah’s anger, essentially, is a symptom of his self-righteousness and lack of compassion. It’s strange that Jonah is so blinkered to his own sinfulness. He has run away from God’s call much as ‘the prodigal son’ (Luke 15) ran away from his father; but now he feels superior and judgemental of others much as the older brother in the parable.
Jonah's behaviour mirrors that of the Pharisees in Jesus' time. Both held disdain for those they considered to be morally corrupt and they condemned Jesus for his acceptance of those deemed as outcasts. Jonah and the Pharisees can be compared to the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. The story highlights God's unconditional love and forgiveness, demonstrated when the father welcomes back the younger son after a period of sin. However, this act of mercy is met with the elder brother's anger and resentment, much like the religious leaders of the time who opposed Jesus' teachings. The story ends with the elder brother's refusal to embrace his father's mercy and compassion. We read:
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:25-32)
RESPONSE - BEWARE OF GROWING PRIDE
We can cultivate either humility or pride in our character, and our attitudes toward progress and success play a significant role in this development. If we attribute our achievements to our own ‘grit’ and good character, pride will grow in us. On the other hand, if we approach our successes with gratitude, humility will take root. Giving thanks is the antidote to pride.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His Word this week?
3. RECAP OF SUNDAY’S MESSAGE - PLEASE SHARE IN YOUR GROUP
ANGER AT GOD’S GOODNESS
Please read Jonah 3:10-4:4
MAIN IDEA: GOD’S GOODNESS TO OTHERS CAN CAUSE US TO BECOME BITTER
JONAH WAS ANGRY
We see this strange response from Jonah; he is angry when God has mercy upon Nineveh! Jonah is angry that they have responded to his preaching and that God had relented from judging them because of their belief and repentance.
WHY IS JONAH ANGRY?
Jonah is angry because he doesn’t believe that the Ninevites deserve God’s mercy. He’s angry with God because he believes that God should judge this wicked city. He’s angry because he may feel embarrassed that his word of judgment has not now come true. He’s angry because he’s a part of God’s chosen people and - wrongly - come to believe that others (gentiles) don’t warrant God’s mercy, he’s become racist!
WE CAN BECOME ANGRY
Jonah is in all of us. When God does or doesn’t do things as we believe He should, we can become angry with Him. Jonah is like the older brother in the parable of The Prodigal Son who is angry that his father celebrated the return of his sinful brother; likewise, we can become angry and judgemental when wicked people receive complete justification in Christ. We can become proud and disdainful if we are not careful to remember that, like Jonah, we have also run away from God in many ways!
LEARN TO APPLY GOD’S GRACE
We learn from Jonah that understanding Godʼs grace—and being changed by
it—always requires a long journey with successive stages. It cannot happen
in a single cathartic or catastrophic experience (like being swallowed by a
fish!). If we really want to reach others with the good news of Jesus, then we need to love those we want to reach. And to do that we really need to examine where our
true heart lies every day!
Why was Jonah angry?
When are you tempted to get angry with God and how do you deal with this?
How do you seek to remember the gospel each day so as to remain merciful and humble?
How have you Served, Invested and Invited in your communities this week? (Let’s share about this again next week)
How have you got on with making a list and praying for your non-believing friends each day? (Let’s share about this again next week)
Let’s now pray for specific people that God has put on your heart and in your life.
Let’s pray for each other that the Spirit would fill us with His resurrection power so as to be compassionate and courageous this week.
Let’s pray for Funky Monkeys this week.