You might know the song … “God is good (all the time); And all the time (God is good)”. Those statements are true all the time. God is always good, not just in His being but in the way He cares for and provides for all people, especially His people. I have said it many times and will most likely say it again and again … “I feel as though I am God’s most spoilt child.” Jonah’s doctrine about God’s attributes were spot on
Jnh 4:2 I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.
How often do you deserve being chastised? Yet in love and mercy God does not go beyond the gentlest rebuke. We all know this through personal experience. The problem with us is that we don’t appreciate God’s tenderness towards His blood washed children. We sin, God is gracious, we sin, God is compassionate, we sin, God is abounding in love, we sin, God relents from sending calamity. I am more than positive you will appreciate this reality … yet there comes the time when our Heavenly Parent say “enough is enough!” Perhaps the difference between Jonah and us is the fact that Jonah was angry because of what God was like to a city of pagans! To him, that was just no on! We saw how Jonah eventually, after being punished in the heart of the sea within the belly of a huge fish repents and is saved … but the requirement of God remains the same … Go and preach to the Ninevites.” He goes and experiences a city in excess of 120,000 citizens come to faith in Jonah’s God in repentance. He is not happy about this … in fact he is angry … so angry that he believes God did wrong by saving all these pagans, preventing them from going to hell and assuring them of heaven. We ended off yesterday seeing Jonah building a shelter to protect himself from the harsh Middle East sun, temperature, wind and sand storms. From that vantage position he could do surveillance and gather intelligence to prove God wrong in His dealings with the Ninevites. Now, although still angry, he is happy to wait and prove himself right.
1) The crude shelter would not provide the protection Jonah desired. He was a prophet not a construction engineer. So God in love and compassion steps in to help his angry prophet
Jnh 4:6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.
(1) The Creator provided shade in the form of a broad leaf vine that grew at unprecedented speed that seems to have grown over Jonah’s shelter because what he had created was useless. Irrespective how he tried to cover the shelter, the sun and heat was enormous upon his head. He must have felt dizzy and drowsy. I recall walking less than 40 meters, from the villa in Al Buraimi in Oman, just across the border from the United Arab Emirate. By the time I reached the skip for garbage, because I did not have a hat on, the heat caused me to feel dizzy and the perspiration was running wildly. In Jonah’s case it would have been far worse. Remember God did not need to do this. He did not need to provide an angry prophet with relief from the weather conditions. Yet He did because this is His nature. God is always good.
(2) Jonah was very happy with his God provided cover. Maybe he thought this was God coming around to the way he thought about God’s “error” of judgment. Yes … me camping out here will result is credible intelligence! Naturally we are able to see how wrong Jonah is … but often we reason according to the principles of this prophet. What do we do when we can’t get our way? We started the day off in prayer asking God to guide and protect us. A few hours later we can’t get what we want and throw our toys out of the cot. God helped me this morning. I needed to draw money from an auto bank as a service provider was servicing our air conditioners. The bank I use has closed down so many branches and recently removed a number of auto banks that were close to our home. Off I went to a mall where there was such an auto bank. When I arrived I found a premium parking space close to the machine. I parked and whilst walking to the machine I realized I did not have my card with me. As I tried to exit the lane where I parked. Another vehicle blocked the “stop” exit. I struggled to get my vehicle around his. He refused to move even when I hooted because he wanted my parking space. I collected my card at home and returned to draw money only to find the machine took my card and would not allow me to do anything. After about 3 minutes the screen said “do you need more time … yes or no. I pressed “no” and it spat out my card. This necessitated driving rather far to find an auto bank to draw the money. Which of these happenings do you think angered me? Leaving the card at home was my fault. The machine not working was likely a mechanical or computer failure. The bank closing branches and removing auto banks is a business strategy. That leaves the stubborn man in the flashy car who would not move two meters forwards causing me to go backwards and forwards a few times to get out because he wanted to be where I had parked. You’re right. This last mentioned happening angered me … and almost immediately I repented … but the anger was sin. Did I not pray asking God to guide and protect me this day? Was God in control? Did I find an auto bank to draw money to pay the service provider? Did I manage, although with a struggle to exit the parking? Yes, yes, yes. Did God do what I asked of Him? Yes, yes, yes. There is no error judgment with God. He is always right, whether we like what He does or not. God was good to Jonah even in the face of his anger and reading God’s grace and compassion towards Nineveh incorrectly. What Jonah did was nothing new
Eze 18:25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, O house of Israel: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin, he will die for it; because of the sin he has committed he will die. 27 But if a wicked man turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he will save his life. 28 Because he considers all the offenses he has committed and turns away from them, he will surely live; he will not die. 29 Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?”
Father, every time I have treated You wrongly, thinking you are unjust, forgive me. Lord You are good. Amen.