Jonah 4: A New Year’s Resolution
Jonah is an interesting character because he seems to have done what a lot of us fall into. We have seen him run away from God, return to God, thrive through the power of God and now complain about God. In Jonah 4, Jonah is upset because God actually saved the people of Nineveh. Apparently, he did not want to see that happen.
Jon 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
Jon 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Jon 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
Jonah knew what God was going to do. He knew that God was going to be gracious. He knew that God would allow the people of Nineveh to have another chance. That didn’t mean he was happy about it.
I think that we do this quite a bit. I think about the justice of God for example. We know that God is perfectly fair. We know that intellectually, but then circumstances come that we don’t like. All of a sudden we forget what we do know intellectually and basically complain. Just like Jonah, we know that God is fair, but we want to deny that characteristic. We want to think that God is unfair so that we have some right to complain.
However, that isn’t what should happen. We kind of see that from God in the next verse when He responds to Jonah.
Jon 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
Was there really any purpose to the anger? Not really, and Jonah knew it. He still went outside the city and pouted for a while, but he didn’t make any more arguments like did above. He knew they didn’t hold up.
That is a point that a lot of us come to. In my above example, we realize that God is not being unfair, but we still want to carry on our feelings at the time. As a result, we don’t argue anymore, but we just moan for a while.
Given that it is New Year’s Day, maybe we all can make that our New Year’s resolution. Feelings happen, so it is not that we disregard them all together, but our reactions can be changed. Rather than continue with complaints, why don’t we channel that energy towards something that is actually constructive?