“Let your conscience be your guide!” That works in much of life, but it isn’t a biblical adage. I find sometimes that my conscience bothers me about things that don’t matter and doesn’t bother me about things that do! My conscience (and yours) is fallen, is not perfect, and needs to be shaped by the Word of God.
The Lord appeals to Jonah’s conscience in verse 4 after Jonah has had his temper tantrum. The Lord asks, “Is it right for you to be angry?” “Is it right?” Hmmmm. Jonah had set himself up as the final arbiter of right and wrong — and the God of the universe gently challenges him.
I just would have zapped Jonah and moved on to another missionary. How about you?
But this God is indeed gracious and compassionate and slow to anger! And He demonstrates those characteristics over and over again with Jonah. Instead of rebuking Jonah for his suicidal ideations, the Lord raises the question of right and wrong. The wrongs of Nineveh had gotten God’s attention and He had sent His emissary to pronounce judgment on the people. But they had repented — and God had relented. God chose to do what was right in HIS eyes. He withheld judgment. And Jonah saw this as very wrong and was willing to die for his opinion.
A prayer for today: “Lord, a big part of my fallenness is that I think I know better than You. Thank You for not zapping me when I deserve to be zapped. I praise You for Your patience, kindness, and mercy. Help me to show the same to others today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” (to be continued)