Jonah is an example of how prophetic gifts can turn on us when we operate contrary to God’s heart. Read Chapter four.
We can rightly see and perceive judgment coming. And we can see sin continue so long without what we deem is divine intervention, that we desire judgment to hit a person or people. We do not plead their cause for God’s merciful (and private) dealings with them. Instead, we join league with judgment-loving prophets who disapprove of the contingency plan if the person/people repent.
When we finally obey and give warning, and the person/people HEAR (we are so accustomed to people ignoring God’s warnings)…then we are angry with God because we wanted “Nineveh” destroyed. But Nineveh cried out, and God changed His mind about their destruction.
Jonah 4 opens with the prophet’s anger and displeasure because God spared Nineveh. He fled in disobedience because
…I knew that You are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repent You of the evil. (4:2b)
You read that right. Jonah, God’s prophet, is MAD God was Himself. He was so angry he asked to die. God challenged him — DO YOU WELL TO BE ANGRY? The implication is, “Man, I just had a great fish vomit you up. Really?! You want to be angry I spared a nation?”
So Jonah built himself a shelter in the shadow (you can preach this part to yourself!) to see what would happen to Nineveh (v. 5). God raised a plant up the next day to give him shade and relief from the heat. Jonah was glad about the plant. By the next morning though, God prepared a worm (preach this to yourself too!) to devour the plant. After this, God sent a violent east wind on Jonah’s head and he suffered from the heat, fainted and wished for death (vv. 7-8).
God asked His prophet again, “Do you well to be angry?” And this nut Jonah says, “I do well to be angry, even to death.” (v. 9)
What? Why is Jonah angry? Some possibilities —
- He wanted Nineveh destroyed for their sin. He wanted the completion of a “righteous cause,” which is the “enemy’s” total destruction. This was a dispensation when God still wiped out His enemies.
- He wanted God to act out of character. Even Jonah admits the great kindness of God (see Luke 6:35b – God is kind to the evil and unthankful), and how slow He is to get angry with us. He knew God would be fair and allow Nineveh to hear a warning about destruction, then choose their course.
- He wanted his way with God’s will. Left to Jonah, Nineveh would not be accountable to the call to repentance and could be taken out in sin.
AND THE PROPHET GOT NOTHING HE WANTED. Nothing about this assignment went his way. So he was angry. With God? Maybe. With himself? I think so; it’s sad to work for God and not operate like Him, sound like Him, not want people to come to Him.
Now, God exposes Jonah’s attempts to manipulate divine intervention. He uses the plant as an example. Jonah had NOTHING TO DO with the plant growing and perishing in a day. Jonah gave no labor to the plant.
Aren’t the 120,000 souls in Nineveh worth more than this plant? They can’t discern between their right and left hands.
Jonah’s behavior shows us the stubborn prophetic today — some keep demanding judgment where God has a merciful contingency if the person/people repent and return to Him. But we can see a hard thing not turned for so long, that our hope suffers and we succumb to joy in the perceived destruction. This should not be so in the prophetic community.
Others of us choose deception behind a God-accepts-all-in-His-grace thought process that we forget He hates sin. People are preaching all around it, but it’s a principle — sin separates us from God and He hates it. He does not categorize it like we do. He is not numb to its effects like we become. He has a standard, and no matter how we cheapen it and relax it for our “struggles,” NO MAN CAN COME TO HIM without acknowledging the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf and turning to God…and away from what keeps us from Him.
This is a day where the glory of the Lord is revealed and all flesh shall see it together (See Isaiah 40:5). Everyone can experience God’s glory. It’s an invitation to fellowship with Him…BUT HE DOES NOT CHANGE for us. He does not dilute His glory for us. Please, prophetic people — especially those of us who remain stubbornly in our own will and vision for our God-given assignments — come out of deception.
We can pray and hear from God and oppose Him. Jonah did. And even in hearing Him, this little book of the bible has no resolution between God and His prophet. Wow.
We can give a word that moves a nation to repent and in our hearts be contrary to our assignment. This is obedience with the wrong heart, and at the risk of mixing biblical accounts…makes what we offer God strange.
What we miss from Jonah’s account is submission to God’s will. Lord, I disagree, but You know best. He did not even pray to have God’s heart.
Be careful, prophetic people, when you take God to task and see no fault in your position. You’re on dangerous ground when you care more about what He gives and takes from you in illustration than the revival He wants to usher in through you.
Let’s cast down the idols we make of ourselves in our stubbornness (See 1 Samuel 15:23). Where we struggle to agree, let’s submit to God and allow Him to open our perspective to His and receive His heart for the assignment. Let’s do God’s bidding God’s way. Let’s die to us in the process; the people will be better for less of us.
Selah, and love to all.