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The book of Jonah is unlike any of the other prophetic books. Jonah did all he could to avoid God’s call. He didn’t want to warn the “foreign” people of Nineveh about impending wrath. After three days in the belly of a large fish, Jonah was prepared to obey the Lord. He (finally) went to Nineveh and preached. However, he didn’t like the outcome at all. A one-sentence “sermon” from Jonah resulted in total repentance on the part of the Ninevites, and God spared them from punishment. Jonah didn’t think the people of Nineveh should be given a chance to repent, and so he was angry about the success of his message! He thought the Ninevites should be punished severely for their many sins—especially since they were not part of the covenant people. He was upset that they had turned from their sins, and that God had forgiven them.
Jonah raises questions for us in our personal lives. Is there a call from God that we are trying to avoid? Are there people whom we consider to be outside of the realm of God’s grace? Do we feel that some people do not deserve God’s forgiveness? Is there anything that we feel angry with God about? If so, how do share those feelings with the Lord?