Jonah is commanded by God to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them to repent from all their wickedness. Jonah decided that Nineveh was so wicked that God should destroy them. He knew that if he were to go to Nineveh, that God might change His mind and not destroy them if they repent from their wickedness. Jonah had an understanding of the character of God and that He was a God of grace and mercy (Jonah 4:2). It appears that Jonah thought he knew what was better for those people than God.
Jonah did eventually go to Nineveh and give them the message of repentance from God. The people did turn from their wickedness and God did not destroy them at that time in history. In chapter four we read how God’s decision not to destroy them displeased Jonah to the point of him being angry with God. Jonah became so upset at this that he wanted God to end his life right then.
This story reminds me of my two year old who will throw a fit when she does not get her way. Jonah appears to be acting like a whiny baby who feels that his way is better than Dad’s way and will throw a fit to make sure it is known how he feels.
Why is it that we feel that we know better than God? Why is it that we feel that we are better at knowing who deserves grace and mercy and who doesn’t? Why is it so hard to trust God in everything? Why is it so hard to be content with God’s decision? Is not God’s plan better than ours? Does not God love everyone and desire that all would come to repentance?
2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV)
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Isaiah 55:7-11 (NKJV)
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.