September 14, 2020 

Jonah 3:10-4:3 … “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry.” vss. 3:10-4:1

Most folks associate Jonah with the great fish, and many find the story hard to swallow, which is regrettable, because the book of Jonah is an amazing parable of God’s limitless grace and inclusive love. According to the story, even though he detests the Assyrians, Jonah is sent kicking and screaming to call the people of Nineveh to repentance–and to his amazement they respond. Even the animals turn back to God and the city is spared. And Jonah became angry. Like many of us, he believed that flagrant sinners should get their due. We might not like to admit it, but at our core we take great delight when our perceived enemies experience disaster. That’s why we love movies where the good guys, after 90 minutes of car crashes and explosions, annihilate the villains. The audience cheers as the bullying, evil-hearted sinners meet their appropriately torturous deaths. In real life we enjoy seeing that the mighty have fallen and that the proud have been brought to their knees. We love it when justice prevails and our lust for revenge is satisfied. Fortunately God is patient with our merciless desires, and when we realize the foolishness of our vengeful ways, we too can experience the healing power of God’s tender mercies.

Thought for the Day: When have I enjoyed another person’s misery?