After the non-recreational cruise, the mercy, deliverance, forgiveness and a second chance, Jonah behaved like a preacher without compassion.
In chapter 3, Jonah had returned to Nineveh, grudgingly preaching with emphasis on the consequences of their sin. The people believed God. The king made a decree, that from the greatest to the least of them, all would fast. He took off his royal robe, and went down in sackcloth and ashes, hoping this would reverse God’s decision towards them. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil that He had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:10 KJV)
Was Jonah displeased and angry because of what GOD had done? I know: we usually expect preachers to have better sense. Well, this guy set himself up for remedial training by his belligerence? (Allow me to paraphrase a bit.) Jonah said, “I told you Lord, when I was in my own country that I did not want to go! (Lord, when I was in my own country, I told you I did not want to go.) That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you would just waste my time, with your kind forgiving nature! You might as well kill me right now Lord. I would be better off dead! I told these people they would die; now you forgive and make me seem like a liar.” Then the Lord said, “Is it helping you to be angry?”
He needed to remember “the many dangers toils and snares” that God had brought him through. Instead, he sat down to pout and made himself a shelter to witness the annihilation of that city.
The sun was extremely hot, so God prepared a gourd to come up over Jonah and shadow him, giving him comfort, and he was overjoyed. God also prepared a worm the next morning, and it killed the gourd. How do you think Jonah acted?
At sunrise, God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun burned Jonah’s head until he fainted. Once more he wished for death because the plant had died in one night.
Was Jonah stubborn, insubordinate, or what? He never acknowledged God until he was in a “whale” of trouble. Just think of all the warnings that said, “Surrender.” He was headed for destruction the day he bought that ticket for the wrong cruise. Disobedience is unwise when we get orders from our boss! When the tumultuous storm took over a calm sea, he could have remembered he was on the wrong boat. His incarceration, then release from the whale’s belly, held his attention three days but as soon as God forgave him he began tempting God again. It was phenomenal that the tree grew to its maximum, sheltered him, and died all in one night; but what did he learn from that?
Jonah felt compassion for the short life of the gourd, yet none for the helpless people and livestock of Nineveh.
When God gives a task that you would rather not do, it is wise to pray as Jesus did. “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:44 KJV)