He didn't want to go. Not only were the people of Ninevah not the chosen people of God, they were the enemies of God's people. There must be some mistake but in his heart of hearts he knew there wasn't. He also knew that God could only have one purpose for sending him there. He wanted to give the people of Ninevah the opportunity to repent.
No! They weren't the chosen the people. They didn't worship God, they worshiped false gods. Okay, so had the Israelites. That's why they were in the mess they were in but still... He was the God of Israel, not the God of the Assyrians!
He didn't want to go to them. Why? Truthfully, I believe it was because he wanted the judgment of God to fall upon them. He did not want them to repent for if they did, he knew God would spare them. I believe this was why Jonah took such drastic means to avoid doing what God had called him to do. He didn't want them to be saved.
I'm not going to repeat the whole story here. You can read about it in the Book of Jonah. However, I would like us to consider what happened when the city was not destroyed. Take a look at the fourth chapter of Jonah which says:
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 replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”
Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city.
And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun. This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.
But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away.
And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. “Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.
Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”
“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”
Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly.
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?”
Jonah 4: 1-10 (NLT)
Are we guilty of doing the same?
Great lesson, 'Not my will but Thine be done oh Lord'. the life mantra of a child of God and a good one too, when put into action. Too often, as did Jonah, we forget who we are and want to pick and choose those worthy of the love of God based on our assessment of them. Thanks for pointing out that our Father doesn't play favorites.
Yours in Christ, Lum