Jonah, the guy with the big fish. Or the guy with the scorching heat and the shade problem. The guy directed to Nineveh by his God. The guy who does everything he can not to do what his God wants him to do. If we have read the story and paid attention, we know that it ends with God’s rhetorical question about caring for people - a stark contrast drawn between a God follower and his God.
Standard insights and details that most of us glean from this story.
Have you noticed these details:
Once Jonah gets on the boat, in the middle of the storm we find the Pagans entreating their gods for safety and deliverance.
Once they learn from Jonah that they’re going to have to throw Jonah overboard, these Pagans entreat Jonah’s God not to hate them for throwing him overboard.
Once we get Jonah to Nineveh and he delivers his speech, the Ninevites almost immediately – at the direction of their king – repent in “sackcloth and ashes.”
Jonah goes up on the hill to watch.
And he gets angry.
Angry at his God.
For the plant.
For the shade.
For being merciful.
Do you see this? Do you see that the only person without any real faith in his God is Jonah?
The Pagans on the boat seek out their gods, they apologize to Jonah’s God. The Pagans in Nineveh repent posthaste.
Do we ever act this way? Do we, followers of the Only Real God, demonstrate less faith than our neighbors who seek other gods, other securities, other saviors?
Jonah is the only person in the story that runs from God.
Everyone else draws closer.
How about us? How about you?
How do we live?
As though we have faith – as though we actually believe this stuff, or do we let our faith fade in face of the commitment and dedication of those who have no gods?
Where are you today?
Where would you like to be?