The last installment on Jonah really makes me laugh. It’s all about me – Jonah that is. See he finally listened to God, went to Nineveh and warned them about how mad God was because they worshipped idols and had forgotten about Him. Jonah told them God was going to destroy them.
But the Ninevites repented, God reconsidered, and thousands were spared.
So you would think Jonah would be fired up, but he wasn’t. What was his #1 concern? Himself. “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry… ‘That is why I was so quick to flee 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, O Lord, take away my life, for me to die than to live.’” (Jonah 4:1-3) In other words, Hey, wait God – I did what you told me to do, but now you are making me out to look like a fool if you don’t destroy them. So just kill me now so I won’t look like an idiot.
Drama – KING. Asking God to kill him? That’s taking it a step far, don’t ya think?
So Jonah angrily stomps off and parks himself on a hill to watch what will happen to the city. It was hot, and his compassionate God sent a vine to grow over him and give him shade, which made Jonah happy. But the next day God sent a worm to eat the vine, and that made Jonah mad.
“But God said to Jonah, ‘Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?’ ‘I do,’ he said. ‘I am angry enough to die.’ But the Lord said, ‘You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow… But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left… Should I not be concerned about that great city?’” (Jonah 4:9-11)
In other words, God created Nineveh, not Jonah. God was concerned about Nineveh because he loves every person on earth. Jonah didn’t create Nineveh, and it wasn’t his place to be angry about how God handled the situation. You see it’s not about our being right, it’s about everyone being saved. We should rejoice when anyone is saved no matter how God chooses to use us or what other people think about us.
Let us keep the ultimate goal in mind – winning souls for Christ, no matter how God chooses to use us. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9) If you try to figure out God’s thoughts or plans you are going to be thoroughly confused and frustrated. We look at life one dimensional (from our point of view) but God looks at every dimension, every interaction, every situation. Humans just don’t have that capability, but we are capable of being used by God in His plans if we will open up our hearts to His will.
The story of Jonah teaches us that it’s not all about me – or you. It’s about being obedient so that God can use me – and you – for his higher purpose. So next time you try to run from God, don’t be a Jonah. Run to God, your heart and your arms open wide, ready to be used for His glory.
Have a blessed weekend!