Tag Archives: compassion
Romans 15 says “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (v. 4). The book of Jonah was written for us! And this book ends with a question we all ought to ponder.
To His servant who is furious that his comfort has been taken away and his prophesied judgment has not taken place, God makes a statement: “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left — and also many animals?”
Jonah’s concern was for his comfort. He had no part in planting or assisting that shade plant in growing. None of Jonah’s skills contributed even a little to that comfort-bringing vegetation. The only skill Jonah showed in the book was his (finally) preaching to Nineveh, but his preaching was not out of his great concern for those lost people.
God’s concern was for the great city of Nineveh, a city with over a 120,000 children — and many animals! Why would Jonah not recognize his misplaced concern? Why don’t we? (conclusion)
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)
The Bible says that we are to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2).
1. Do we sometimes suffer from compassion-fatigue and lose our interest in really listening to each other’s burdens?
2. What steps can we take in the local church to become a place where people are free to share their woes?