I am not a Bible scholar. I hesitated to write this post because of that. Perhaps someone will tell me I have it all wrong. Perhaps no one will read it. I’m doing it anyway.
I used to teach middle school Sunday school. I would talk about Jonah with every group. I used to have a very basic understanding of Jonah. God called him to service. He ran. He was swallowed by a whale and then spit up and after followed God’s call. I didn’t know the rest until another youth leader did a lesson on it at camp.
Jonah was called to God to go and preach to Ninevah. Jonah ran because he didn’t want to go to Ninevah. Why didn’t he want to go to Ninevah? He hated Ninevah and knew God would be merciful and save them. He didn’t want them to be saved. He wanted them to be destroyed. So he ran. He ran because he wanted to decide who was welcome to God’s grace. He ran because he hated the Ninevites enough to want them to be destroyed. He only followed God’s will after he was thrown overboard during a storm, saved by being swallowed by a fish and then vomited up on shore.
So, Jonah went to Ninevah as God asked and as expected, God saved them. Was Jonah happy about this? No. Jonah was so angry he wanted to die. He knew this would happen and that is why he ran. He didn’t still didn’t think the Ninevites deserved God’s grace.
Can you imagine disliking people so much that you thought they didn’t deserve God’s grace? Disliking them so much that them receiving God’s grace makes you so angry you want to die? Do you have Ninevites in your life? Does God need to send a big fish to swallow you?