Jonah 4:4 “Do you do well to be angry?”
Today I’m crying “uncle“ to another area if my life that I’ve been trying to handle/figure out all by myself. You have probably known me long enough to know how well THAT works for me—I suck at it. Time to begin yet ANOTHER new chapter.
Being previously married for 27 years I thought I figured out what I enjoyed about marriage. What I have found in the last one year plus, is that some of the things that I thought was “marriage“ was just my relationship with Archie. It’s time to Kabash those expectations. I’m heading to counseling for myself.
This brings me to my devotions yesterday and this verse in Jonah, the next chapter on my journey through the Bible. I think most of us know the story of the big fish that swallowed him for three days and then vomited him out on dry land. That’s a mental picture I try not to focus on for too long.
The long and short of the story is the city of Nineveh was doing evil and God wanted Jonah to give them a heads up that, because of this, God was going to destroy them. Jonah knew that if he warned the city, they might repent and be saved. Believe it or not, Jonah didn’t want to go. He thought this city deserved the punishment it was about to get. He hopped on a boat and went in the opposite direction.
Many know the story of the angry storm that happened next: The men in the boat frantically dumped cargo over to lighten the load, but to no avail. They eventually find Jonah sleeping and are like, “What!?! Get up and pray to your God!”
What was Jonah supposed to do? Tell them the storm was all his fault because he was running from the Almighty? (BTW, God doesn’t appear to tolerate disobedience for long)? That’s what he did.
Did they believe them? Would you? Well, the next thing they did was cast lots to see who’s problem/fault it was. Guess who’s name came up. Bingo! Jonah was the culprit, just as he said. The long story short, too late, is that he told him to throw him overboard. They didn’t want to, but did and the storm immediately stopped.
Did God let Jonah drown? In all honesty, He could have! What would be MY price for disobedience? What about people who offend or disappoint me? Do I let them drown/cut them out of my life—ouch!!! Obviously he didn’t or there would be no story of the big fish in the Bible.
After that the nauseous fish did his thing, God spoke again to Jonah and he wiped the fish stomach bile off of his extremities and obeyed. Keep in mind, it didn’t ’t mean he was happy about it. Off to Nineveh he went.
Nineveh had approximately 120,000 people and it took three days to walk across it. It shocked me to learn that Jonah walked through and warned the people without screaming, doing miracles or anything unexplainable but the people of Nineveh repented! Even the king put on sac clothe and commanded everyone to fast. God sent him when the Almighty had prepared their hearts and knew that they were ready to hear. It was all in His time and part of the great design.
You think 120,000 people being saved would put a smile on Jonah’s face but you’d be wrong. Instead, he moped and got angry. He wasn’t happy that they were sorry for their past mistakes. All he could focus on was the pain and misery they caused others before repentance.
That one cut me to the heart. How many times do I get caught up in someone’s past mistakes? Can I leave the past in the past and see them as God sees them now, forgiven and new? The big question is: Can I be happy for them? Forgiven doesn’t mean they won’t have natural consequences for their mistakes—we all do. Who am I to think I have the right to expect anything to or from anyone else when I’m not walking in perfection—ouch!
As I was studying, Heavenly Dad revealed that many of us have very different views of Him. Though I see him as my daddy who scooped my up in my desperation and gave me a reason to keep living, others view Him as a big monster just waiting to pounce on them for every mistake they make. Jonah chapter 4 verse two Jonah says “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and relenting from disaster.“ Jonah described who God is. “Relenting from disaster…” Means that He wants to stop the mess He sees us creating if we would just FREEZE… and repent.
Jonah is the witness/testimonial, maybe reminder is a better word, that once we make changes in our lives not everyone’s going be happy for us.
Jonah was so angry about their salvation he asked God to take his life! That’s some pretty intense judgment on Jonah‘s part, don’t you think? But then again, don’t we do that to ourselves? We so focus on others “not getting what they deserve,“ that we stop living our life and wallow in anger, wasting our time and breath. That truly is stealing our time and/or the death of OUR life.
Jonah 4:4 “Do you do well to be angry?”
I love this verse! It was like God saying “So how’s that anger thing working out for you? Are you living the life you’ve always wanted? Is this judgment getting you anywhere in life? Do you feel fulfilled, content, purposeful? Are those feelings helping in your relationships, building your business, making you a better and more complete person? How do you feel about yourself when you look in the mirror there buddy?”
Yep, I love this verse. God not only asked once, but twice. He wanted to make sure Jonah heard it. Me too.
That’s why I’m going to counseling. I need someone else to hear the words coming out of my mouth to see if they’re lining up with where my heart needs to be. If they aren’t, I need to get on my face in front of the Great Designer, apologize for criticizing, judging, and manipulating His judgments and design. I need tell Him that I trust Him and actually do just that. Then I need to let Him do His thing and focus on the path He has for ME and not judge the paths of others.
So my question is: how’s the anger thing working for you?
Until next time, blessings!