Why The Wacky Title?
Ok, so I’m being facetious! Haha, there is an actual reason, which is simply this: if anyone actually believes that the God of the Old Testament was a bloodthirsty tyrant who judged at the drop of a hat, then you don’t know Jonah.
Jonah Hated Nineveh-
When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, our prophet in question did not merely run away from fear. he hated the people of Nineveh because that was the capital city of the Assyrians, those who had conquered the northern tribes of Israel. These people weren’t just enemies. Think about today’s serial killers. Think about the different thugs and monsters about whom you might question God because He doesn’t seem to judge them for their wickedness. Assyrian was run by people who made torture and murder of their enemies a pastime. By our standards today, God should have instantly destroyed these people just as we demand He do with today’s villains. However, Jonah knew that God is such a forgiving person that, even though these evil men destroyed His own, beloved children, God would easily forgive their sin if they repented.
Jonah Hated Dying-
We think of Jonah as a rebel, as we should, but we miss the fact of how well he understands the nature of God. Here he is, asleep on his getaway boat, when a storm brews with his name on it. When awakened, Jonah knows full well that the storm is for him, and thus, Jonah has the men of the ship throw him overboard because he knows that God will spare these sailors, which God does. They even become worshippers of Jehovah after this. Well, as you can guess, Jonah changed his tune after being swallowed by the famous great fish, but God didn’t have to let Jonah live long enough to learn his lesson. In His mercy, God had already prepared this sea monster to rescue his servant and deliver the prodigal prophet back to the shore.
Jonah Hated Losing-
So Jonah makes his way to Nineveh, a city that worships of a fish god. He stands there, probably all bleached from our fish’s stomach acids, and proclaims judgment on the people. You can imagine their reactions to his ghastly appearance. Oh, by the way, I should have mentioned God’s condition for these people. It was basically “I’m giving you forty days to repent before I judge you.” If they did not hearken, they would be destroyed. Jonah couldn’t choose his location, but he could choose his message; a brief “the city will be destroy in forty days.” However, in spite of his short summary, Jonah was the annoyed witness of the city’s repentance and God’s inevitable mercy. This angered Jonah to the point that God had to give him an illustration to show Him that the Lord hates to judge people and would prefer that everyone just turn to Him.
Let’s have a mercy and compassion like God.
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