Cover 2020-02-09

Ron Writes

The Unrepentant Jonah

Racism. Bigotry. Hate. Extremism. These describe Jonah. Jonah has been called the “reluctant prophet.” He wasn’t reluctant – he was defiant! He would rather turn his back on God and run than to go to Nineveh. He would rather be cast into the sea to die. Jonah would rather die than live in a world where his enemies could repent. He hated his Ninevite enemies!

Jonah’s problem was not doctrinal. He knew God. “For I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity” (Jon. 4:2). Jonah knows God better than some Christians. The difference - Jonah hated the heart of God. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ ”But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Jesus’ reason? “so that,” in order for you to be “sons of your Father.” We are called on, not only to know God, but to imitate God.

The Bible isn’t the result of man’s search for God. It’s the result of God’s search for us. God came looking for Jonah. God calls Jonah. God in His compassion calls him back over and over. When he runs, he calls him back with a storm. When he’s cast into the sea, God reaches out to him with a fish. When he’s angry God gives him a plant, a worm, and a scorching wind to win him back. The heathen sailors turned to God. Nineveh turned to God. All in the story are shown compassion – but only Jonah refuses to repent.

Man would have never written Jonah. Only God would reveal the character flaws of His prophet to help the rest of us with our character flaws. God gets the last word: “Should I not care for Nineveh?” He gets the last word, because the book isn’t really about Jonah, it’s about the heart of God. What happens to Jonah? We don’t know. What happens to you? May we respond daily to God: “thank you for reaching out to me in love, help me make your heart mine.”