Not My Preferred Result
Redeemer God, I praise You today as my Savior and Lord, full of mercy, love and compassion for all Your children.
Read JONAH 4:1-11
 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.  He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”  Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.  Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.  But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”  But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” “I do,” he said. “I am angry enough to die.”  But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat attribute(s) of character does God show here?
Jonah has obeyed God and spoken out. Nineveh has repented and God has relented of his plan for destruction. Now Jonah is furious (3,9). Perhaps he disliked or hated the Ninevites. Perhaps he simply despised them as Gentile “dogs.” Maybe Jonah was hoping for Nineveh’s destruction But God gently probes him and helps him to think things through. Despite knowing how loving God is (2), he doesn’t get it. How can God allow such a sinful place to continue its existence, he wonders?
In dealing with Nineveh God has three options: (a) sustain what is there because it provides some kind of order for people to live in; (b) condemn it and destroy it; (c) transform it into something better. He manages to do all three: he sustains the city until Jonah arrives; he condemns it through Jonah’s message; this brings about transformation and the city turns from evil. Do you think God has finished with Nineveh? I doubt it. I think it will be a work in progress, just like me and probably just like you. Jesus worked in the same way and works that same way yet today. As Christians we follow him.
Ask God what to preserve, what to speak out about and what needs transformation. Ask God for his help.
Lord, grant me Your heart of compassion for all people and the wisdom to work for the good of this world.