This picture is amazing, isn’t it, which of the two faces do we see, or do our eyes see one then the other?
This is like how we see God’s interaction with us v. God’s interaction with others…
The short book of Jonah is a fascinating book; we sould use it as a mirror to look at ourselves, and see that everthing Jonah goes through, we are apt to go through too.
One thing in particular Jonah does is something that, sadly, we do too, but that we should do our earthly best never to do!
In 2.2 and 2.9, Jonah calls on the mercy of the Lord, and triumphantly declares that there is none like our great God;
…”I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
…But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
Fair to say that Jonah has called on the mercy of God from inside the belly of the fish, received mercy, and is happy for it.
Then, off he goes to Nineveh (largest city in the world at the time, think Tokyo nowadays), to deliver the message of ‘Turn, repent, maybe God will spare you’.
When they do (even the animals were fasting and wearing sackcloth), it appears God relents (from our human perspective), and Jonah is none too pleased;
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.
Why then are we like Jonah?
Why do we call on the mercy of God when we know we deserve punishment but then resent others receiving it when we think they deserve it?
Why do we praise the living God for the grace He shows us for salvation, for sanctification, and ultimately in our glorification, but deem others unworthy to receive it?
Are we not all made in His image? (Genesis 1.27)
Does not God wish that all turn to Him, accept His Word, will, and ways, and live with Him forever, as we are made to do, even those we deem unworthy or ‘bad’? (Ezekiel 33.11)
Jonah is a mere four chapters long, but we would do well to read it, to hold our lives up to the truth of it, and see what matches.
When we do find things, we know that God is merciful, just to forgive, loving, patient, kind, keeps no record of wrongs, and rejoices over us with gladness.
So, have a read of Jonah today, pray that God shows you how you are like Jonah, then, as Jonah did, with a voice of thanksgiving, give it up to God, because Salvation belongs to the Lord!