5 Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city.
Today’s verse comes from the book of Jonah in the Old Testament. Jonah was a Prophet whom God had sent to the people of the town of Nineveh to proclaim that God was against them because of their wickedness. In the light of Jonah’s proclamation the whole city of Nineveh repented of their wickedness and because they turned away from their evil God did not destroy them. The Bible records that 120,000 people were spared God’s wrath because of their repentance. It really is a great ending to what could have been sad tale of destruction. Everyone is happy, that is everyone except Jonah. Jonah is angry with God because He saved Nineveh. Our verse today records what Jonah decided to do in the midst of God showing compassion to the lost of Nineveh. In his anger or displeasure with God’s work Jonah decides to find a spot on the outside the city and just watch what God is doing. He sits and pouts.
I have been thinking a lot about Jonah lately. He is such a reluctant vessel that God uses to bring His saving message to a lost people. Jonah does everything he can to not work with God for Nineveh’s salvation. Instead of caring for those outside of God’s love, Jonah wants to keep God’s love for himself. Instead of jumping into where God is working and moving, Jonah wants to sit on the sidelines.
The exciting thing about the Scriptures is that God often tells our own stories through the lives of others. Jonah was penned sometime in the 8th century B.C.. That’s 2700 years ago that we find a man who isn’t appreciative enough of God’s grace to want other’s to experience it and who isn’t in complete awe of God’s work enough to join in. Sound familiar?
I think the application of Jonah is self inspection. I think we need to ask ourselves if we are compassionate for those who are unsaved. Does our heart seek to see those who are slaves to sin walk in repentance. What about those lost people that have hurt us or wronged us? Do we really want God’s grace to embrace them? Also, we need to ask ourselves if we are active in the work we see God doing. Are we excited to jump in and work with God or are we more than happy offer commentary from the sidelines?
Heavenly Father, your love for your created is perfect. You set this life in motion and work actively to redeem those who are lost. You are a God of many chances and thank you that you hold back your wrath for a time. Thank you Father that you have chosen to use us in your work. Help us today to remember what a great privilege that is. Forgive our lack of compassion and our attempts to hoard your grace for ourselves. Forgive our complacency. Break out our hearts today for those you love. In Jesus name. Amen.