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Jonah the Grouchy

So Jonah goes the opposite way from where God told him to go, and manages to get himself swallowed by a whale.


But to his credit, it occurs to him that maybe he should repent. So God gives him a second chance. Now will you go to Nineveh to announce my judgment against the people there?

This time Jonah goes, smelling pretty fishy.

So what happens?

He gets to Nineveh -- and this is a major city, capital of the Assyrian empire; it would be like being sent to Washington DC -- he gets to Nineveh and announces God's judgment against it.

And the whole city repents.

Wait, did I read that right? "The people of Nineveh believed God's message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow ..."

Man. That's pretty impressive.

I feel like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. I never ran the other way just to get swallowed by a fish. I've been trying to be a good boy. But no town ever fell to its knees after one of my sermons ... not even close. But this guy shows up to the biggest city of his day, still smelling pretty fishy; he shouts "Boy are you guys gonna get it!" -- and the whole city repents. That's pretty good.

That's real good.

Then what happens?

When God sees the repentance and decides not to punish the town ... Jonah pouts.

Jonah, God just used you to bring the biggest city of your day to repentance, and you pout? Because you're disappointed that God is so kind?! Because you just knew he was going to forgive these people?! How awful!

As the story of Jonah fades into history, he is sitting under a vine (which God generously provided), and he's GROUCHY.

As the story of Jonah fades into history, the last voice we hear is still God's, pleading with Jonah ... " Now look here Jonah, don't you understand these are people, and this is a great city? Don't you think if they repent, I should forgive them...? Look at this thing my way for a minute ..."

And the story fades away ...


Jonah 3.5 The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth and sat down in the dust...

Jonah 4.1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. He prayed to the Lord, "O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to fell ... I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity..."

Jonah 4.11 "... But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people ... should I not be concerned about that great city?"


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