The Real “Reason” for Jonah’s Rebellion

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.  And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country?  Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.

Jonah 4:1-2

In verse 1 of this chapter, we learn that Jonah is displeased and angry that the people of Nineveh have repented, changed their ways, cried out to God for mercy and were spared.  Apparently, having the people to whom he was preaching respond to that message was enough to make him “very angry.”  In verse 2, he gives us his “reason” for rebelling against God and disobeying His word.

He says that the reason he fled to Tarshish away from Nineveh was not that he was afraid of the Ninevites.  It was not that he was rebellious.  It was that he knew that God, being a gracious and merciful God, would repent of the evil that He was going to do to Nineveh.  He knew that, if he warned the Ninevites of God’s coming judgment, they might cry out to God for mercy and God would hear them and not destroy them.  That is why he ran.

Whether that is the reason for his rebellion in chapter one or not, think about how ridiculous that sounds.  That would be the equivalent of us not telling someone about the Lord simply because we wanted to see God destroy them.  That would be the equivalent of us desiring to see judgment come on someone so much that it would make us angry if they came to the Lord and received forgiveness.  Believe it or not, I think that there is some of that going on in our churches.

When we see someone doing wrong, what is our reaction?  Do we pray for God to immediately judge them and destroy them, or do we pray for them to repent and seek the Lord?  Let us not let our attitude get to be like Jonah’s!

4 responses to this post.

  1. You know what I kind of got out of Jonah’s response too? It was like he was saying, “Lord, why didn’t you just do this without me? What did you really need me for anyway, if you were going to forgive them and not destroy them?” And I wonder if I ever slip into that way of thinking too. yuck.
    God bless you, Ben, and all these lessons from Jonah!

    Reply

    • I’m sure that if there is a wrong attitude and a wrong way to think about something, I slip into it from time to time. The more I read the book of Jonah, the more I see myself. There are a lot of good lessons in this book for us!

      Reply

  2. Thanks Ben

    “When we see someone doing wrong, what is our reaction? Do we pray for God to immediately judge them and destroy them, or do we pray for them to repent and seek the Lord? Let us not let our attitude get to be like Jonah’s!”
    I believe that ss bad as Jonah appeared to be, he knew he was serving a merciful God who could deliver the Ninevites whether or not Jonah chose to take the message there.
    God could have spoken directly to them or use the elements or sticks and stones…I have a feeling Jonah needed to learn a lesson more than the lost sheep did.

    Attitude checks are always a good thing… we’re better served surrendering. The hiding thing didn’t work with Adam and Eve, the running didn’t work with Jonah. It’s not going to work with us either 🙂

    May our responses to Him always be “I will go”

    Blessings much,
    ann

    Hezekiah Walker – I will go in Jesus’ name

    Reply

  3. “I will go.” That is always the perfect response. God wanted someone to preach to the Ninevites and He knew that Jonah needed to be taught a lesson. It never ceases to amaze me just how in control God is. The Ninevites needed Jonah and Jonah needed the Ninevites. May that always be our response: “I will go!”

    Reply

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