Jonah the Crybaby

Well, I told myself I wasn’t going to post another blog until after I got back from Kentucky. But then I remembered a few things:

  1. When I get back from Kentucky, I’m going to want to post about Kentucky.
  2. I should talk about this while it’s fresh on my mind.
  3. I don’t feel like going to bed yet, even though I leave in 4 hours for a 9-hour drive to Kentucky.

So, onto Jonah.  I studied Jonah last week for my Sunday School lesson with the high schoolers.  We’ve been going through the minor prophets, which I have honestly loved.  It’s been very refreshing to read the MPs in a new way, because I’m trying hard to understand what’s going on in order to teach it.

Anywho, so Jonah one day was eating his cereal, when God tells him, “Go to Nineveh and preach destruction to them.”  Jonah drops his spoon and is all like, “Forget THAT!” and flees towards Tarshish.  He pays a fare and boards a boat.  So then a huge storm comes, and the sailors are automatically like, “Okay, whose god is ticked off?”  They then realize that Jonah is downstairs sleeping, still running away from his problems, and ignoring a huge storm outside the boat. The sailors realize that Jonah is running away from his god, the God.  Jonah’s just like, “Look, just throw me over.”  (This might seem brave to the reader, like he’s coming to the realization that he can’t run away from God anymore; but I think it’s just a part of his crybaby act).  I don’t understand why, but the sailors think it’s a good idea to just try to row back to land, but they realize that they have to do it–so they throw Jonah overboard.  Then a huge fish gulps Jonah right up, and Jonah begins crying and praying to God.  He repents, and God tells the fish to spit him up (after three days and three nights of course!).  So now Jonah finally goes to Nineveh, and preaches what God tells him.  And what do you know?  The whole city repents.  You’d think Jonah would be excited, right?  His preaching and prophesying worked!  Nope!  He gets mad and yells at God, “I knew it! I knew you would just have compassion on them!  That’s the kind of God you are!”  Kind of a funny prayer to me.  So he runs away and sits outside the city, waiting to see what will happen, as if God will change his mind about having compassion.  He takes shade under a tree, but God sends a worm to eat its leaves and Jonah starts feeling that sun.  He gets so angry that he wants to DIE.  He cries again to God, and God says, “You care for that tree right?”  Jonah replies, “So much, that without it I just want to die!”  God responds, “Well you sure care for that plant a lot.  But how much more do I care for a great city like Nineveh, with tons of animals and needy people?”

So what do we take from Jonah the big crybaby, anyway?

  1.  We can NOT run away from God.  No matter how hard we try. We can’t do it.  And if we try, God will find us! Oh yeah.  In all seriousness, if it is God’s will and God commands us to do something, we are eventually going to have to do it.  So save the trouble and the energy and just go do what he tells you to do.  Trust me; when God called me to work with youth, I ran away and got myself into a pickle myself.  And God got his way in the end :)
  2. God is going to have compassion on all sorts of sinners.  I thought about the parable of the vineyard, how each person was paid the same amount for varying amounts of work.  Seems unfair, right?  But we need to remember that no matter what you did, how much sin you committed, etc, the reward is the same under the grace of God.  God will have compassion for you when you repent, no matter what the sin is.  This is hard for me sometimes, when I think about someone like a child molester possibly getting into heaven.  I would classify this man as a pedophile or sex offender for the rest of his life; but the truth is that if he comes to Christ, he is redeemed and achieves sainthood just like me.  I can honestly see why Jonah was so cheesed.  It’s the flesh in me that wants justice in this situation, but luckily I am not the judge.
  3. God cares for us DEEPLY.  Jonah wanted to die, just because the plant giving him shade died.  In the same way, God desires to see us growing and cares for us immensely.  I think it’s funny that Jonah was like, “I knew it! I knew you’d have compassion on them! Oh God full of grace and compassion!”  It makes me laugh!  I think that it is our responsibility, as believers and followers, to exhibit this same kind of love to others.  Jonah cared for a PLANT.  What would happen if he cried over people the same way as he did a plant?

Well, I hope you enjoyed my post on Jonah, a huge cry-baby.  But you know what?  I’m just like him in many ways.

ps, I really like that Jonah is so fast-paced.  Very different from the other prophets so far ;)

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