There are two main types of anger. The first is sinful anger. This is when we sin whilst angry and are angry when we sin. Generally, virtually all anger is sinful. The other anger is righteous anger. This is when you become angry with someone for doing wicked things against innocent people. Only on rare occasions would this apply to us. We don’t have the right to be angry … sinfully so … but God has the right to be angry because all sin is against Him in the first instant.
1) Jonah, have you the right to be angry?
Jnh 4:4 But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”
I other words … is your anger justified? God was trying to get him to calm down and think through his emotional condition. The question is repeated
Jnh 4:9 But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”
What is behind these questions? Consider this, Jonah is part of Israel who were chosen by God, not because they merited or deserved being chosen … in fact they constantly drifted away from God into rebellion. He himself was awfully disobedient, had experienced God’s hand of punishment and then salvation … what right did he have to be so judgmental and decide that these pagans from Nineveh were outside the sphere of God’s grace and mercy? The answer is pretty simple! No man has the right to challenge the sphere God wants to cast His grace, mercy and salvation! Jonah thought he, as God’s prophet had the right to decide who enters God’s salvation. He was wrong and this is why his anger was wicked. Again we need to grapple with our belief of whom God should and should not be saved. Did you know that the great apostle Paul consented to murder? He actually watched it take place!
Ac 7:59 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Ac 8:1 And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
Saul was renamed Paul. Murder is murder! It is not how it is performed. It is taking a life that God gave! Who do you think God can and must not save? Listen to Paul as he addresses some of the sins doing the rounds in Corinth … and some of the Corinthian congregation were involved in these sins … yet God saved them!
1Co 6:9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Verse 9-10 gives us an incomplete list of sins preventing getting into heaven … that is, if the guilty one is not forgiven and does not come to Faith in Jesus Christ! The sexually immoral covers quite a few aspects of immorality … no not them and what about the thief, greedy, slanderer and swindler … maybe … but the drunkard … never! Yet … verse 11 says … And that is what some of you were. Were … because they experienced the New Birth, were sanctified for God and justified … an act of the Triune God. Be careful not to tell yourself that that prostitute, homosexual, participant in State Capture, murderer, abuser, etc. cannot be saved. Whoever it is, if the repent and belief they shall be saved. Let us all ask the question … why don’t we invite the beggar at the traffic light, or the hobo or the one pulling those dreadful carts on garbage day to Church? Why do we exclude talking to certain people to build a bridge of friendship to eventually invite that person to Church or to Jesus Christ? Jonah was a prophet. Being commissioned and used of God to usher a spiritual revival throughout the huge, important city of Nineveh … he must have had junior prophets working under him back home. It’s not … “hey James or Micah … you go and win those people.” Not at all … God said Jonah you go. He says the same to you and me. You go! Why? Because only you can reach the people within the wider sphere you move in, in any given month. Jonah being selective as to who he wanted in God’s Kingdom was contrary to God’s will. This led to his anger … beloved let us be careful we don’t fall into the same trap because:
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
2) The moping prophet.
Jnh 4:5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.
It seems as though Jonah did not leave the city of Nineveh. It seems as though he started preaching in the west and landed up in the east. The citizens repented, believed and:
Jnh 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
Did Jonah believe this or was he aware that in Israel’s history, although they repented, judgment still followed? Was his anger based upon this verse? It’s difficult to grasp it, but Jonah decided to find an observation place from where he could monitor what happens in the city as it reaches the 40 day mark. You can picture the hot humid climate. You can’t sit in that for long, so he erects a structure, likely out of mud and stone with shrubs for a roof because wood was scarce. Once commentator suggested that he was not in some sort of isolation and could easily have acquired food and water from the neighbors close by. Now he was set up to be unhappy, depressed and angry. Remember his emotional condition was related to his theological bent! He believed God was wrong in casting the net of grace over the Ninevites. Moping is a cancer because the more you mope, the more you persuade yourself that you are wright and the other party wrong. The big issue here was that Jonah’s anger was with God. We will see that even though this was a grave sin, God was gentle and compassionate towards him. Christians need to be particularly careful not to level accusations against God. We might not understand what God is doing in any given situation … but rest assured He sees the bigger picture and always does what is right. To be angry with Him and to accuse Him is downright wickedness. Never think that because Jonah received grace that God will overlook your sin against Him.
Father in Heaven, we are so weak, tending to draw conclusions that could well be ungodly. Forgive us and help us to trust You. Amen.