Monday, June 26, 2017
Have You Any Right To Be Angry?
Today’s Bible Reading: Jonah 1-4; 2 Timothy 2
Journal Entry on a passage from today’s reading:
SCRIPTURE: Jonah 3:10- 4:4
3:10 When God saw what they (the Ninevites) did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.
4:1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 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. 3 Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live."
4 But the Lord replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
(Jonah 3:10-4:4 NIV)
Most everyone is familiar with the story of Jonah. God told Jonah to go to the wicked city of
Ninevah and preach against it. Jonah didn’t
want to go, so he ran away. He boarded a ship and headed for Tarshish trying to
hide from God. But God knew where he was, God always knows. God caused a
terrible storm to violently buffet the ship until the sailors, realizing it was
Jonah who was putting them and their ship in danger, tossed him overboard into
the sea. Then God sent a giant fish to swallow Jonah whole where he spent three
days in the belly of the fish contemplating that running away from God was a
bad idea not to mention impossible. When the huge fish finally barfed Jonah up
onto the shore covered with putrid fish belly slime, Jonah thought, “Okay God,
I’ll go the Ninevah.”
Jonah bore no love for Ninevah or the people who lived there. The message God told him to preach was that in forty days God would destroy them for their wickedness. The thought of Ninevah’s destruction at least made having to go there bearable to Jonah. They were evil and he relished their demise. But then the unthinkable happened; the entire city, from the king on down to the lowest peasant, fasted and repented before God of their evil. That’s when we come to Jonah 3:10. When God saw how they had turned from their evil ways he had compassion on them and relented of their destruction.
This made Jonah livid with anger and he goes into a rant: “I knew it, I knew it! God, You are just too damn loving! These people are awful and they deserve to die! I never wanted to go here in the first place, and if you’re not going to kill them then I want to die!”
The Lord’s reply to Jonah’s tantrum: “Have you any right to be angry?”
As much as Jonah felt he had a right to be angry, the truth of the matter is that all things are in God’s hands. He created the Ninevites just as he created Jonah and the Hebrews. He is the sovereign God who will do as He pleases. That is the truth whether we understand it or not.
How often today are we just like Jonah? Do we long more for the destruction of our enemies than we do for their repentance? Is more of our rhetoric about combating those who oppose us and threaten us, than about loving them and praying for their change of heart? If God spares them, will we become angry rather than rejoicing? Do we really have faith in God even when the results seem contrary to our reasoning?
These are soul-searching questions to be honestly weighed and pondered.
Lord, may I trust in You with all my heart and lean not on my own understanding. May I have the courage to stand for righteousness and against evil without hatred and judgment, but with the same love that You have.
Through Christ. Amen. -AP