Day 24

Jonah’s Anger

from the Lent 2016 reading plan


Jonah 4:1-11, Matthew 9:36, Matthew 10:29, Acts 11:15-18, Romans 5:6-11, Psalm 103:8

This is part of a 7-day series on Jonah in the Lent 2016 reading plan. 

Can you think of a time you have been blinded by anger? Your sense of justice was insulted. The clarity of the failures of others was on display in high definition. If you’d had the floor for ten good minutes, you could have really put the offending party in their place.

Now imagine that this anger is pointed at God. Or don’t imagine. Maybe it already is.

Here is a valuable question from today’s reading: Are you right to be so angry? (Jonah 4:9)

The last chapter of Jonah tells the story of a man who has been seething with anger toward God for the entire book, but now is given the chance to voice his fury. In short, Jonah is angry with God for being too kind to Nineveh and not kind enough to him. Both seem unfair to Jonah.

The hypocrisy of his anger is that it rests on the presumption that, while Nineveh deserves no mercy, Jonah does. Jonah treats his relationship with God as a sort of partnership, and when God does something that doesn’t meet with Jonah’s approval, Jonah assumes the posture of the senior partner, and demands that God give an account of Himself.

When in your life have you felt that God owed you an explanation? Are you right to be so angry?

One of the key themes of the book of Jonah is that God is always doing “immeasurably more than we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20). His compassion always extends beyond what we imagine. Jonah thinks his mission is all about God being kind to Nineveh. What Jonah doesn’t see is that God is being kind to him as well by exposing Jonah’s contempt for the very divine compassion he himself so desperately needs.

In this book, God seems to push on Jonah like He’s pushing on a bruise. God hurts Jonah for the purpose of breaking his heart (Jonah 4:5-8). And when we read about it, surely we see the kindness of God in it, don’t we? Don’t we see how God is giving sight to His blind prophet so that Jonah might rightly grasp the wonder of God’s compassion?

The point of Jonah is this: we all need saving, and in the end, the only One who can ultimately perform that work is God. And when He does, it will always be a work of mercy and grace. This is the message of the Gospel: “If while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10)!

Maybe the reason the book of Jonah is in the Bible is so that, just as God used His compassion toward Nineveh to expose and disassemble Jonah’s self-righteous anger, He might use His compassion toward Jonah to do the same to ours.

Are you right to be so angry?

Written By Russ Ramsey 

Post Comments (23)

23 thoughts on "Jonah’s Anger"

  1. Isaac Jones says:

    God loves people, we are of utmost importance in creation to Him.

  2. Isaac Jones says:

    I will respond with obedience and compassion on those who are disobedient. I will follow Gods example and lay down myself for them.

  3. Isaac Jones says:

    Man is sinful where God is merciful. Man has compassion on what benefits them, God has compassion despite our rebellion and blasphemy of Him.

  4. Isaac Jones says:

    God will have compassion on all who repent. Those who repent will be saved through Jesus. Christians who have experienced the mercy of God are commanded to give that mercy to others whom we see in disobedience like we were in disobedience.

  5. Isaac Jones says:

    God,
    Forgive me for my sin and disobedience from you. In the mercy of your forgiveness lead me to forgive others like you have, and are, and will forgive me. Father may I have mercy and compassion on my fellow heirs and those still in bondage. May I preach the good news to those who are near and those who are far; amen.

  6. Blair funk says:

    While we were still sinners Christ died for our sins. To make us right and clean This is a gift of faith, nothing we have down to deserve it. Just like the Ninevites.

  7. Blair funk says:

    With thanksgiving. Remember my unrighteousness when comforted regularly with unrighteousness acts of others

  8. Blair funk says:

    His mercy and grace is beyond my understanding

  9. Blair funk says:

    Nineveh is the example of extreme evil yet God redeemed the whole city, Mother Teresa was just the opposite yet she also needed redemption. So, why am I at times self reightous

  10. Blair funk says:

    Lord open my eyes and heart to my self righteous ways so I may be fully submerged in your grace.

  11. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    God came to save the ungodly. EVERYONE is born ungodly. EVERYONE needs to be saved by God

  12. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    God is incredibly patient. The only reason man is saved is b/c he is merciful and full of grace

  13. Sheriffe Oliver says:

    Stop pretending that I can save myself and defeat sin on my own

  14. Nathan Dodd says:

    Memorizing the gospel.
    Memorizing my nature and tendency.
    Laying that down before the Lord.
    Giving up my daily wants and desires in order that I might be available as a vessel for Him.

  15. Nathan Dodd says:

    It is relentless. God is relentless in His love towards us. It’s truly Unfathomable and yet completely in reach. Also, I’ve recognized sometimes we need the gospel most after we have completed what God wanted us to do… When we want a break, when we feel like we have done our part, earned a shinier seat in heaven… The gospel applies to all, not just godless heathen.

  16. Nathan Dodd says:

    We are so dumb and blind sometimes. Selfish, worldly, even with the knowledge of God’s nature we still want it all for ourselves. We often do act like a ‘senior partner’ in a firm. Reading this has allowed me to step back and observe myself.

  17. Nathan Dodd says:

    He is aware of our arrogance and incompetency… Yet he chooses to walk us through hard things and good things in order that we might not only have the knowledge of his goodness, but that we might truly experience it. I don’t think the story is about Nineveh. It’s about Jonah- and you and I.

  18. Daniel says:

    At times, God longs to break our hearts in order to bring us closer to him.

  19. Daniel says:

    We don’t like having out hearts broken: shattered; to become vulnerable. Yet that vulnerability can throw us into anger, or put us into to the arms of God.

  20. Daniel says:

    Though God is always graceful and merciful, sometimes it comes as a breaking love to expose our hearts.

  21. Daniel says:

    I won’t ask for a journey of sanctification absent of pain; I know it will hurt, and that goodness can come from that hurt.

  22. Daniel says:

    I pray Lord to keep my eyes on you and find your purpose in all seasons, joyful or painful. Grow me as a stronger man in you in whatever ways needed; build in me a spirit responding in thanksgiving and love.

  23. Like!! Really appreciate you sharing this blog post.Really thank you! Keep writing.

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