When Jonah proclaims that God’s judgment is about to be unleashed on Nineveh because of its greedy, unjust practices beyond its borders, the king and people repent in sackcloth and ashes.
Jonah’s glee is turned to frustration and rage with Nineveh’s new faith. Then, God also repents, turns from the promised punishment, and forgives Nineveh. Jonah rolls his eyes, and says, “I told you so!”
The prophet clearly has a bad attitude which the belly of the great fish did not correct! He is not interested in sharing grace, but extracting revenge.
This wonderful, short story in the Hebrew Bible is so honest! Jonah wants justice on his own, small, self-centered terms instead of God’s broad and expansive justice. Jonah’s ‘god’ and world are too small.
I love the way Jonah’s prophesy ends—with a question mark. The curtain closes on the disgusted prophet. Do we side with the prophet or the One who sends the prophet?
May we welcome the vastness of God’s grace, so that we may learn the fullness of its power and beauty. The reign of God is upon us!