The Fickle Prophet

October 22 | Jonah 4:1-3

“But it was surely a great evil to Jonah and his wrath was kindled. So he prayed to the Lord and said, “Is this not what I said when I was in my country? For this reason I anticipated it by fleeing to Tarshish, because I knew that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, and great in lovingkindness, even relenting from calamity. So now, O Lord, please take my life from me because it is better to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:1–3)

Many people think Jonah’s prayer was his turning point. But it doesn’t appear that way when you read how he reacts to God’s turning away from His wrath. The only thing Jonah gets angry about is the salvation of the Ninevites.

When he prayed that prayer in the belly of the big fish it was probably because he knew he offended God. But his heart toward the Ninevites was never changed. He relished telling them about God’s destruction of Nineveh, preaching for three days through the city.

He ran because he knew God is gracious. He knew God would relent from His judgments. In the heat of the day God provided a plant to give him shade, and he was exceedingly grateful. But the next day a worm ate the plant, and Jonah was angry again.

This fickle prophet cares more about himself. If only he shared God’s heart for people. He’d rather die just because God’s grace is greater than His judgment.

Action Step: Praise God for His grace. Check your heart. Does your judgment of people burn hotter than Jesus’ love for them? Ask Jesus to see people as He sees them.

Jesus, give me Your heart for everyone I see. May I see them as Your creatures whom You died to set free from sin just as You did me. Change my heart to see Your grace at work.

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