Maybe I just love the underdog, but of all the prophets in the Old Testament, who is my favorite?
Not Isaiah. Not Jeremiah. Not Ezekiel. Not Daniel. Even though they were all significant men used by God, the one I like the most is the noble Jonah. So I decided to do my #3030challenge on him.
You remember Jonah? Got swallowed up by a big fish for running away from God. I’m sure you’ve heard several spins and messages tied to his story: “Don’t run from God,” “Do it God’s way,” “God can use anyone,” etc.
But why I love me some Jonah is because he’s such a deliciously awful prophet. I mean in the end, he got right and obeyed the Lord. It only took a storm and three days in the belly of a big fish to convince him.
I think God might’ve done a lot of *facepalming* with ol’ Jonah.
And the main reason he disobeyed to begin with is because of his own prejudices against people he didn’t like. There’s a reason why Jesus placed so much emphasis on loving one’s enemies. Everyone is a saint until they have to deal with people they don’t like.
I consider myself as a good person- but then who doesn’t think of themselves as a ‘good person’? Yet there was a time when it came to dealing with people I didn’t like, I became a very different person. Not a very good person. A Jonah-like person.
The type of person who would rather endure a storm and be swallowed by a fish than extend mercy on the person I didn’t like. And I knew it was wrong. Just like Jonah probably knew the moment he decided to set sail, he was doing the wrong thing.
When I was first getting back into the swing of my faith, one of my favorite verses was:
“I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.” (Jonah 4:9)
That’s how I felt. I was so angry about so much. And even though I did study up on anger and forgiveness, Jonah 4:9 will always have a special place in my heart because next to Job 5:17, it was the first real connection I made with my Bible.
Studying the story of Jonah today, though, I see something new. Jonah was so angry at the Lord’s compassion on the people of Ninevah, he even admitted that he’d rather die than live to see his enemies shown mercy.
Oh, Jonah! Get over it. Stop being so dang dramatic! God loves all His creations and the world doesn’t revolve around you. Not to mention when you prayed to Him to get you out of the mess you caused, did He not show you compassion? Yet you don’t want Him to show anyone else that same kindness?!
Psh, what a self-absorbed, rebellious piece of work. The nerve of Jonah. To be angry at God for being what He is: Sovereign Lord who doesn’t obey the whims and pettiness of His creations.
And you know what else?
Of all the Old Testament prophets, Jonah would probably have the easiest time fitting in the world today.