Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke
Nineveh’s repentance exceeds almost anything I have ever read about. Just think about everybody from the king down to the common people praying and seeking God for mercy. Everyone is fasting and wearing sackcloth, even the animals.
Thus, God forgave them and spared the city.
The problem now was that Jonah became very angry with God. In fact, many people have become angry with God when something catastrophic happens, such as the death of a child.
But this man became angry when mercy was extended and people didn’t die. Rather strange, don’t you think? Why do you think he was so angry?
Here are some thoughts.
1) He feared suffering the loss of reputation – not being respected as a prophet
2) Zeal for the honor of God – perhaps thinking that Jehovah would not be respected among the heathen for failing to fulfill His word
3) It is possible that he saw the conversion of Gentiles as a threat to Israel’s special relationship with Jehovah. He knew something of the rebelliousness of the hearts of Israel
4) It may be that there was in the heart of Jonah somewhat of a misplaced patriotism. The Assyrians had already caused problems for Israel, and there was much more to come. Perhaps Jonah sensed this and desired the destruction of this enemy. In a little over 100 years the Assyrians would overrun Israel and carry away 10 tribes into servitude. These ten tribes are known as the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel because they were moved into Assyria, intermarried and lost their national identity.
5) However, it seems to me that Jonah just really hated these people and wanted to see their destruction. He desired their annihilation more than their souls’ salvation.
That is the wrong attitude for Christians to have.