Reading: 2 Kings 14; 2 Chronicles 25:1-28; Jonah
Summary: Amaziah, who takes the throne of Judah for his assassinated father, has a reign that in many ways mirror his father’s. Like Joash, Amaziah begins well in his reign as king serving God. Unfortunately, he also falls away from God, bringing the gods of the defeated Edomites to Jerusalem and worshiping them. God assures him that he will pay dearly for that sin and he does by being defeated in battle by Israel and eventually dying at the hands of conspirators from his own people.
Jeroboam, the son of Joash of Israel, takes the throne and begins a lengthy reign in the capital, Samaria. God uses Jeroboam (sometimes called “Jeroboam II” to distinguish him from the first king of Israel) to restore Israel’s borders. This was according to the prophecy of Jonah. Yes, this is the same Jonah for whom the book is named. He is the first of the literary (writing) prophets.
Jonah’s Biggest Problem Wasn’t a Fish
Jonah didn’t like God’s grace.
Obviously what we remember about Jonah most is his bizarre involvement with the great fish, but the story goes far beyond that. It even goes beyond his incredibly successful preaching efforts in Nineveh. The story ends with God addressing Jonah’s extreme displeasure that He would graciously spare the Ninevites (Jonah 4:1).
To Jonah’s thinking Nineveh (the capital of the Assyrian empire) should be punished by God, not saved. God’s grace made Him angry.
It’s not that Jonah was pitiless. It was just misdirected. As the prophet waited outside the city to see what would happen, in a booth constructed for that purpose, God caused a plant to grow up over the booth and shade Jonah. As he had been “exceedingly angry” with God, he was now “exceedingly glad” for the plant (Jonah 4:1,6).
The next day God sent a worm that killed the plant. The shade was gone and the sun and scorching wind caused Jonah to faint. Again, the prophet is angry.
God observed that Jonah pitied the plant for which he had not worked or in any way caused to grow, and He was angry with God for His pity over innocent (apparently children) human lives (Jonah 4:10-11). That’s just not right.
If the thought of God’s mercy and grace upon those whom I think God should punish upsets me, then something just isn’t right–and it isn’t God.