Scripture Read: Jonah 3 - 4
Title: Jonah and the Great Fish (pt 2)
(H) Highlight verse: "And he prayed to the LORD and said, 'O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and mericiful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take m life from mefor it is better for me to die than to live.'" Jonah 4:2,3
(E) Explain: When I read the final chapter I think of Jonah as a self-centered man who is acting more like a child than a prophet of God. He was witness to one of the greatest movements of God in history and he responds in displeasure and anger. Instead of rejoicing and thanking God for his wonderful mercy Jonah gets angry with God because he didn’t destroy the people of Nineveh. The account says “It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry”. The word angry is translated “hot with anger, burning with anger or stewing in fury.” He wasn’t just mad; he was furious. The problem was he allowed this fury take root in his heart. He was furious because God was compassionate, gracious, merciful, loving and patient. The root of the problem is not because God was all of the above, but because Jonah was angry and didn’t get his way. He responds like a child by throwing a tantrum and blaming God. Nothing is more pitiful than seeing a grown adult throw a temper tantrum because he doesn’t get what he wants. Jonah had anger issues and his anger clouds the big picture and magnitude of what God had done. His anger takes the focus off of what God did and puts the focus on him and his little pity party.
(A) Application: We may sit here and criticize Jonah for being a self centered “cry baby” who throws a temper tantrum because he didn’t get his way and we would be justified in doing that. But let us not be too quick to judge or criticize. Jonah had some unhealthy anger issues, as far as we can tell, that were never resolved. Anger is a powerful and dangerous emotion which can negatively affect our relationship with God and with loved ones. If we do not deal with our anger it can lead to bitterness which leads to misery. Anger can be like a cancer slowly eating away and robbing people of joy and happiness in life. Angry people are often only focused on themselves and their problems and never take the time to be of any service to anyone else.
When I, like Jonah, don’t get my way I tend to respond in anger and pout because I didn’t get what I wanted. I walk around in misery and make life miserable for others around me. Unhealthy anger, rage, bitterness, misery are all cancerous and can destroy a person and cause anguish to loved ones around them and it even brings harm to ourselves. When you and I are too consumed with ourselves and live in anger we can miss out on the joyous life God wants us to live.
(R) Respond: God search my heart and see if I have anger, bitterness or misery issues in my life. My prayer for today is that I could have the shackles of anger dropped from my life and that I could be free to live in the joy and fellowship that God has for me.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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