When we left off with Jonah 3, God had changed his mind and rescued Nineveh. I'm pretty sure the Ninevites were overjoyed. But what about Jonah? How did Jonah react?
This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord?
That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and
compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You
are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”
Jonah, Jonah, Jonah. Really? This back and forth? His relationship with God is fickle, marked by a pattern of obedience/disobedience and then being grateful/ungrateful. God challenges his anger. He reminds him of the 120,000 of Nineveh who were living in spiritual darkness. He reminds him that he is a rescuer. Are we like Jonah, questioning our God who rescues those who we don't believe deserve it?
When we are wronged, do we believe justice should be served? When we are wronged, do we seek revenge? When we are wronged, do we justify everything to make sure the perpetrator gets what's coming to them? Isn't that the place where Jonah goes? He wants the perpetrators to get what's coming to them. See the bitterness that holds Jonah captive? Gently, God helps him to set it free.
Here is a powerful video of someone who did just that.
All of the people we've been talking about - Jonah, the Ninevites, Renee, Eric - they are broken and sinful people. Their stories and attitudes change. And yet, only one person remains constant: God. He remains good and he remains our rescuer. This Christmas, I want to celebrate the ultimate rescue. The day that Jesus was born to die so that I might be rescued.