Jonah was sent back by the Lord to fulfill his ministry to the arch enemy of Israel. Remember, Jonah was a patriot. He was a prophet to Israel. He knew that their God is in the business of restoring Israel no matter how bad they treated God and how often they followed idols. But that same mercy and forgiveness did not belong to those who invaded Israel and where bend on destroying them for good. But a prophet of God has no business to formulate his own message. If we like the message or not does not matter.
Remember, the Apostle Paul was once a persecutor of God’s people, the follower of Christ, just as the Assyrians who lived in Nineveh where enemies of Israel. Never forget, God is in the Restoration business. 40 days and it’s all over was the message. You deserve judgment for your wicked deeds. And Jonah liked the message. He understood the meaning of the number 40.
Jonah is watching all this unfold before his very eyes. He cannot believe what he sees and hears. Must be a foxhole conversion. I know these people. They are evil to the core. Their ancestors are evil and their founding father is no other than Nimrod. Impossible!
God looked at the heart of the people in Nineveh. They genuinely repented and sought the Lord for mercy. Jonah could not believe such a thing. Salvation in done in the heart of people. Jonah was not long ago resurrected from the dead by God’s power, he was in Sheol and yet he did not see what God was doing in the heart of men. That’s God’s business. God decides where he is reigning. The people of Nineveh repented and because of that their hearts were right with God. As a matter of fact, God gave this city another 100 years before they finally were defeated in the famous battle of Carchemish, 605 B.C.
Jonah knew how merciful God is because he himself experienced that mercy on many occasions. But extending that mercy and compassion on his enemies was more than he could handle. Jonah had his own plan how God should reign in the lives of those inhabitants of Nineveh. Now Jonah changes his prayer. He asked God to let him die. This time for good. He has done his job. He made it to Nineveh and he preached God’s message. I am done, he said to God. Jonah rather would die than see the enemy of Israel experience God’s compassion. In other words, Jonah believed that moment that it would be better to die than physical life in a world dominated by the hated Assyrians.
I am glad God reigned in the life of Jonah and he still reigns in our life. Jonah once again experiences God’s mercy and compassion. The Lord was not finished yet with his prophet. God gently rebukes his prophet with a question: “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Then God teaches his prophet another lesson. Jonah knew how to prophesy and how to preach God’s messages. But he did not yet understand God’s love and God’s grace. So God uses a simple plant and a tiny worm to teach his prophet the next lesson. With great compassion, just as the Lord PREPARED a great fish, He also PREPARED a plant, He also PREPARED a worm, and He also prepared a strong east wind. Who do you think reigns supreme here? Jonah or God Almighty?
God prepared all these things just for Jonah. He calling and his ministry was never in question. What God was doing is showing Jonah how compassionate he is towards all people, towards Jonah as well as the people in Nineveh. He has a purpose for everyone.
Why did Jonah not get it? He was more interested in BEING RIGHT than being a tool in God’s hand.
The same God that called Jonah to go to Nineveh is the same God who calls us to be witnesses unto Him. He still reigns the same way He did during the time of Jonah. We have been set free, but we are not free to do what we want to do, but rather what HE has commanded us to do. Doing His will is experiencing absolute FREEDOM. HALLELUJAH!!!