Doest Thou Well

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.  Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.  Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry.

Jonah 4:1-4

After Jonah goes off about the Lord having mercy on the Ninevites and tells God that it would better for him to die than to live.  In response to this pity party from Jonah, God responds very simply: “Doest thou well to be angry?”  God often asks people questions when He wants to get a point across.  Just look at the book of Job.  God asked Job a number of questions that were not meant to be answered, but were instead meant to make Job think and make Job see the truth about God.  This question is a great one.  It is question that we should ask ourselves when we find ourselves in Jonah’s shoes.  When we find ourselves angry at God for anything, we could just imagine God asking us this question: “Doest thou well to be angry?”

Should Jonah have been angry?  Of course not.  He rebelled against God and God, instead of destroying him, brought him back to his senses in one of the most miraculous ways ever seen in the history of mankind.  Not only did God save Jonah’s life, but He gave him a second change to obey.  And, when he did obey, God used him to bring an entire city of people to their knees before Him.  What an honour!  What privilege Jonah should have felt.  Did he do well to be angry?  Of course not.  The same could be said of us.

How often have we been angry at God (though we would never actually say that) for something in our lives?  Has He not saved us, forgiven us, and blessed us?  Did He not give us His only begotten Son to die for our sins against Him?  What more could He have possibly done?  The next time we feel a root of bitterness sprining up, let us remember this question: “Doest thou well to be angry?”

6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jelillie on August 18, 2011 at 6:39 am

    This is so true! The problem with anger is that it can so easily become irrational. It blocks our understanding and our perspective. Thanks for reminding us to keep a check on our tempers especially where God is concerned!


    • “The problem with anger is that it can so easily become irrational. It blocks our understanding and our perspective” That is true. Anger is tough to deal with sometimes because it is irrational- especially anger directed toward God.


  2. Thanks, Ben

    “How often have we been angry at God (though we would never actually say that) for something in our lives? ”
    More times than I care to admit?

    At the end of the day though, I know He’s doing what’s in my best interest – even if I am not interested.

    God bless you and yours. This dissecting of Jonah’s motives and thoughts and behaviour series is making me think and rethink.

    Thank you!



    • That’s the main thing that we do have to keep in mind. He is always working in our best interest, whether we realize it or not. “All things work together for good…” Jonah is a very interesting book with quite a few good lessons in it!


  3. Thanks Ben! My anger doesn’t serve a good purpose. Trying to think of a time when it would/could . . .but I can’t! I take care of someone who can get irrationally angry often. I pray that God uses it to teach me about my own anger and to ask myself this question whenever it springs up!
    God bless you as you study His word!


    • I know that there is a “righteous anger” and that God is “angry with the wicked every day,” but it is very hard for us to keep that anger in it’s proper place. I suppose that it is like fire- kept in it’s place, it is good, but it easily spreads and destroys quite a few things.


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