Never were such orthodox words spoken with such animosity and fury: “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity”!
Jonah knew the character of his God — and God’s character made him furious! He knew that if he had gone to Nineveh in the first place, his God would give the Ninevites the chance to repent, be forgiven, and not be annihilated. He knew that. And that’s why he fled.
He knew that his God would not do what he wanted Him to do. He knew that his God would show mercy and even — shocker! — express love to those hated Assyrians! “I TOLD YOU SO!” were Jonah’s words to the Almighty.
Jonah does not cover up his anger with religious jargon or polite platitudes. He rails at the Lord for being . . . the Lord! And in the process of his rant, Jonah says some important things about God:
(1) He is a gracious and compassionate God;
(2) He is slow to anger and abounding in love;
(3) He relents from sending calamity.
Those are some incredible attributes of the God of creation. Laudable attributes. But not to Jonah. And certainly not now. (to be continued)