Updated: Sep 11, 2019
This last Sunday, a friend of mine, Randy, preached an excellent sermon on Jonah (part 2) – it’s worth a watch on our YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTJYLTr9OyK1aj3yVWTyYNg/videos).
Jonah is a very interesting guy. He was so nationalistic, pro-Israel, that he couldn’t see or share God’s heart for the wicked Assyrians who were a hostile enemy of Israel. Jonah was so far off track from God’s heart and plan for the people of Assyria that he ran from the mission field hoping the people of Assyria would die without finding the hope of Israel’s God. God had told him straight up what to do: Go to Nineveh. Jonah told God straight up: No! After God confronts him, and he reluctantly preaches to Nineveh (the capital city of Assyria), the people repent! Good news right?
What’s Jonah’s response? Check it out:
“Oh, Lord, this is just what I thought would happen when I was in my own country. This is what I tried to prevent by attempting to escape to Tarshish! - because I knew that you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment. 3 So now, Lord, kill me instead, because I would rather die than live!” (Jonah 4:1-3).
This is one of the strangest responses in scripture!
The part that caught my eye is that he wants to die! Why? He simply couldn’t stomach the thought of God’s mercy being shared with the evil Assyrians…..so he wanted to die. He essentially said – if you won’t kill the people of Assyria, then kill me. Wow.
That’s pretty deep nationalism.
It makes me wonder what cause, event or experience has a stronger hold of my emotions than God’s love. Well, that’s too convicting….let’s move on.
So his hatred of others was so strong that rather than sharing God’s forgiveness with them, he wanted them to suffer and die. After all, the Assyrians were masters of torture and inflicting psychological warfare tactics on many neighboring nations, so Jonah wanted them to experience the pain that they caused. (If I were to explain Assyrian warfare practices this blog post would be rated R for extreme violence, gruesome[JH1] images, scenes of peril and naked images).
The point: How often do we view someone that has hurt us, and quietly, secretly hope that they suffer some kind of setback, trials, or difficulty? When we do that we are just like Jonah. Slow to forgive those that have hurt us.
But you know that when we fail to forgive someone that has hurt us, we are the prisoners.
May we all extend the unconditional forgiveness that we have received to others.
Enjoy Walking with the Savior Today,