Jonah’s Peevishness and God’s Patience
Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
And he said, “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”—Jonah 4:9
Jonah, in response to God’s question, felt totally justified in his anger about the plant’s destruction. Considering that the plant was just a plant and that Jonah had no personal interest or investment in the plant except for the shade it provided him, it was a silly thing to be angry over.
Often when people are angry they make mistakes like Jonah. Firstly, Jonah quit. Our anger almost always simply defends our own agenda. However, we must take special care to be slow to anger, because our anger does not accomplish the righteousness of God (James 1:20). Secondly, Jonah separated himself from others. Nobody wants to befriend a hothead, as in Proverbs it cautions us against friendship with an easily angered person (Proverbs 22:24). Thirdly, Jonah became a spectator. Instead of serving dutifully as a prophet, he idly watched and waited: God wants His servants not to be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness (2 Timothy 2:24-25).
In the grand scheme of things God pitied Nineveh, that great city, but God showed greater compassion for Jonah. The extent that God had prepared the series of events that occurred after Jonah decided to run away shows His mercy and forgiveness towards a person, a prophet. At the end of the day, as True Jesus Church members, are we not supposed to preach to others about His salvation grace?
Then our message should be clear to those who do not yet have this salvation grace. We must forsake our peevishness, our pettiness, our littleness, and our conflicts—as well as our evil ways. “It is right for me to be angry, even to death!”—Though these are the last words of Jonah recorded in this book, thankfully, they are not the last words of the book.