Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
What a weird prophet! Most ministers seem to feel that their calling into the ministry is a wonderful blessing. Jonah doesn’t strike us as one who loved his calling, or maybe even wanted to be used by God.
We know that the Lord is “not willing that any should perish ” (II Peter 3:9).
Jonah seems willing that anyone he doesn’t like should perish. At least, he definitely wanted the Ninevites to die.
He now isolates himself!
He never really wanted to go to Nineveh, but became willing and submissive after the fish experience. However, he was willing to go take a message as long as it was of destruction and not forgiveness. The problem was he feared God’s mercy would replace judgment. When this happened, he became so angry he spewed bitterness toward the Lord. Then he shut himself away from everyone, sitting upon a lonely hill, hoping for bad things to happen.
His attitude became, “Leave me alone,” even toward the Lord.
Isolation brings Loneliness!
According to a 2018 survey of 20,000 US adults, nearly half reported they sometimes or always feel alone.
Forty percent said they sometimes or always feel their relationships are not meaningful (Cigna, 2018). There are physical and mental health issues that are associated with loneliness. Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a psychologist at Brigham Young University, sees a lack of social integration as detrimental to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, or having an alcohol disorder. She also feels that it is twice as harmful as obesity (Perspectives on Psychological Science).
It has been pointed that many mass murderers in our society have been isolated prior to their acting out on their feelings of rejection.
What becomes of Jonah? The Lord continues to reach out to him, “not willing that any should perish.” This withdrawal is one of the worst moves Jonah could make.
Don’t follow his example, or you may so harden your heart that no one can reach you.
Your loved ones, as well as the Lord, will be pushed away and your desperate cry of despair will be heard by none, leading to your own destruction.