S: Jonah 3:6-4:3, 11 When the king of Nineveh heard what Jonah was saying, he stepped down from his throne and took off his royal robes. He dressed himself in burlap and sat on a heap of ashes. Then the king and his nobles sent this decree throughout the city:“No one, not even the animals from your herds and flocks, may eat or drink anything at all. People and animals alike must wear garments of mourning, and everyone must pray earnestly to God. They must turn from their evil ways and stop all their violence. Who can tell? Perhaps even yet God will change his mind and hold back his fierce anger from destroying us.”When God saw what they had done and how they had put a stop to their evil ways, he changed his mind and did not carry out the destruction he had threatened.
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! 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. Just kill me now, lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
(The Lord said) “But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”
O: Jonah was a patriotic Israelite, and Nineveh was their enemy. So Jonah wasn't happy when God told him to go warn the Ninevites that judgement was coming -- he wanted the Ninevites to be destroyed by God! Although God didn't explicitly say that if the Ninevites repented, He would forgive them, but this was implicitly understood by both the Ninevites and Jonah himself.
This is why Jonah headed in the opposite direction -- to Tarshish.
A: We need to see our “enemies” through the loving eyes of Jesus. He told us, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43-45)
People are not our enemies - Satan is our enemy. People are deceived by Satan, and God doesn't want them destroyed, but rather, that they might see the error of their ways and turn back to Him. (Ezekiel 33:11)
“If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.
If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.
You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads,
and the Lord will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22 / Romans 12:20)
I struggle with this when I am hurt by others. I want revenge, but God calls us to a higher standard.
P: Father, it's hard to forgive, but You have called us to forgive even as You have forgiven us. Renew my heart, O Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)