Read Jonah 3:1-4:11
But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live. (4:1,2a)
You would think Jonah had learned his lesson. At least, it sounded like he had back in the belly of the fish.
But his real colors shone through when God granted mercy to Nineveh upon their repentance.
Jonah wanted to give his life, more than he wanted to live his life according to God’s ways. He had no interest whatsoever in God’s methods of grace or His willingness to show mercy to people Jonah deemed unworthy.
His un-surrendered heart gave God cause to teach Jonah about what really mattered.
Clearly God honored the repentant hearts in Nineveh. But Jonah just wanted Him to ignore their pleas.
For Jonah it was all about outward acts. He didn’t like the pagans called the Ninevites. Hated them for their wickedness. And he couldn’t see beyond it. Couldn’t get past the righteousness he believed God had given him.
He’d been chosen by God as a member of the Hebrew nation. An exclusive club, in his mind, that allowed for God’s mercy solely on the people whom Jonah had determined.
His pride, however, blinded him to the truth about God and what He likes. And what He doesn’t.
You see, Jonah, was all about physically dying. He wanted to give up his life and call it a sacrifice.
But God asks for a different kind of death. Death to self. The giving up of our own way of living and seeking what we want in full surrender to His way of doing things. No matter if we like them or not.
And Jonah was unwilling to die that kind of death. He was unable to see that, to God, to obey is better than to sacrifice.
How willing are we to give up our own ways and fully trust God for His way of living? Are we, like Jonah, stuck on something we don’t like about His ways? Something He’s asked us to do? Or are we ready to give up our ways, our pride, for His, trusting He knows best?