A Lesson from the Prophet that Hated his Success

“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.
But is displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, One who relents from doing harm. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” (Jonah 3:10-4:3, NKJV)

Jonah was among the most unhappy successful people ever! He had converted an entire city by his preaching and brought them repenting in sackcloth and ashes. There was only one problem: the people were residents of the capital city of one of Israel’s greatest enemies. Jonah is so angry and embarrassed by his success that he wishes God would just kill him instead of making him return to Israel with such news.

As pathetic as Jonah’s attitude sounds, and as easy as it may be for us to rebuke his response, it is quite possible for us to be the same way. Have you ever seen someone come forward repenting of sin and heard another whisper, “They didn’t really mean it,” because they don’t want to accept it? How about the person that refuses to tell someone who has wronged them about the Gospel? Or the person who rejoices at the death of an unsaved individual stating that they got what they deserved? Yes, it is very easy for us to be just like Jonah. Instead, let us pray that we become more like God, who is gracious, merciful, loving, and long-suffering.


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