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Thursday, July 23

Thursday, July 23

Jonah’s Lament

Jonah 4:1-11 confirms that the greatest obstacle for God to get His prophet involved in world mission was not distance, win, sailors, fish, or Ninevites. In was the prophet himself. Ninevite fairh contrasted with Jonah’s unbelief and vindictive spirit. Jonah is the only person in the Scriptures who accuses God of being gracious, compassionate, and slow to anger, abounding in love and who relents from sending calamity. One would think most people would view these aspects of God with thankfulness.
“When Jonah learned of God’s purpose to spare the city that, notwithstanding its wickedness, had been led to repent in sackcloth and ashes, he should have been the first to rejoice because of God’s amazing grace; but instead he allowed his mind to dwell upon the possibility of his being regarded as a false prophet. Jealous of his reputation, he lost sight of the infinitely greater value of the souls in that wretched city. The compassion shown by God toward the repentant Ninevites ‘displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.’”- Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 271.

Read Jonah 4:10-11. What do these texts teach us about the character of God in contrast to sinful human nature? Why should we be glad God, not fellow human beings, is our ultimate judge?

Jonah showed his anger twice in chapter 4. He was angry because God changed His mind and saved Nineveh’s more than one hundred twenty thousand inhabitants. He was also angry because the vine withered. In hi selfishness, the prophet needed to get his priorities right.
God instructed Jonah to recognize human brotherhood based on the fatherhood of God. The prophet should accept his common humanity with these “foreigners,” although they were wayward. Were not 120,000 people important than a vine?

Read again the Lord’s rebuke to Jonah. In what ways might the Lord be able to say something similar to us? That is, how often do we dins ourselves more concerned over our own personal issues, many of which at times can really be trivial, than over the lost souls whom Christ shed His blood to save?

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