Here we find ourselves at the end of our journey through the book of Jonah. And Jonah returns to his crazy making ways in the final chapter. The irony as well as the story line comes to climax.
Last week we ended with a total and wholehearted response of repentance from all of the inhabitants of Nineveh from the greatest to the least. It even included the animals! The repentance is not only marked with a sorrowful lament over their sin, but also included a turning from their evil and violent ways.
And God, in his compassion and mercy, heard their cries, saw their turning, and relented of the judgment he was going to bring upon them. Amazing grace! You would think this would cause Jonah to be overwhelmed with joy and praise to God. And here is where the irony comes to a climax. Instead of rejoicing in the salvation of Nineveh, he becomes angry and goes up on a hill overlooking the city to pout about it all. A stunning response.
God asks a question of Jonah seeing him in this puzzling state of response, “Is it right for you to be angry?” And Jonah responds, “Yep… it is.” Wow! God follows up this scene with an object lesson of a growing and fast withering shade plant. And then God proclaims his message for his people, “Jonah, you have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many animals as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Shouldn’t we?
Can’t wait to unpack this week with you. Read Jonah 4 in prep for Sunday’s message – Sunday is a comin’!