8 "Those who cling to worthless idols
forfeit the grace that could be theirs." Jonah 2
I think I am sooooooooooooooo much like Jonah. He worships God; He believes God; He respects God; however, within the deepest crevices of his soul, perhaps not even known to him, he secretly doubts God in a very subtle yet dangerous way. He does not understand the compassion of God nor does he want to accept the extent of God's grace. In this verse, Jonah makes it apparent that grace is for those who trust solely in God; however, it doesn't necessarily imply repentence or grace for those who turn away from their sin. In this sense, Jonah doesn't feel it's just or right or even realistic for the Ninevites to repent.
I guess I am like Jonah because I expect the grace of God in my life, so long as I follow Him, but grace for a sinner right now? For someone who has wronged me personally? I despair in thinking the person could repent and be saved. I cringed at the notion that God could have compassion on their soul. Afterall, they have grieved me, and I can't even imagine God being nice to a former enemy of mine!!! (It sounds wicked, but hey, I'm being honest! :))
Well, a further reading of book of Jonah will reveal that Jonah is somewhat immature. Here's a passage from the fourth chapter (After the Ninevites do repent; Jonah is infuriated; God responds):
4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?"
5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live."
9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?"
"I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die."
10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
Jonah is somewhat selfish. He's a little dramatic. He's just like me! :) But God, God is good. He's compassionate, kind, and gracious. I need to stop being like Jonah, and start being more like God. Everyone...and I mean EVERYONE needs God's grace, and I have no right to determine who doesn't!