If I were Jonah and were writing my own story, I would have ended the book with chapter 3. It’s an epic ending. Thousands of people in Nineveh believed. It was a great revival. Drop the mic. Exit stage.
But to Jonah’s credit, he gave us chapter 4. It begins this way: “This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry. So he complained to the Lord about it: ‘Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish!’” (verses 1–2 NLT).
Amazingly, Jonah was angry because God didn’t wipe out the Ninevites. He should have been rejoicing, and instead, he was really mad. He said, “I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people” (verse 2 NLT).
Jonah was also preoccupied with himself. He said, “Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen” (verse 3 NLT).
I love God’s response: “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” (verse 4 NLT). A clear translation of what God said would be this: “You are very angry, aren’t you?” In the original language, that word angry means “to burn with anger.”
Jonah was fuming.
Think about it. Here was a guy who survived three days and three nights in a fish’s stomach. He repented and prayed and preached the truth. The people of Nineveh came to believe. And then, amazingly, we see Jonah in this condition.
This reminds us that no matter how powerfully you are used by God, you can still crash and burn. No matter how incredibly God blesses you, you can still self-destruct. You can still sin—and sin horribly.