Pouting Prophets

The more I think about it, the more I think the book of Jonah is one of the funniest books in the Bible!

I know what you’re thinking. Funny isn’t a word that should be used to describe the Bible. It’s supposed to be serious, life-changing material that determines the state of our eternal soul.

By and large I agree; but I’m also the kind of girl who often pictures God with a grin on his face and a twinkle in his eye so you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t tow the religious line.

Plus….who do you think invented humor?

Anyway, just look at it this way. God wants a messenger, he picks Jonah. Jonah, however, has other plans and takes off in the opposite direction. Forgetting -of course- that God is also in the opposite direction. All of a sudden, everyone else around him is in trouble and he knows it’s his fault. He resorts to assisted suicide but God has other plans and he ends up spending 72 hours in the gastrointestinal tract of a big fish.

Now I don’t know much about bad accommodations, but I don’t think it comes any worse than having your address (however temporary) be a fishes’ entrails.

He does his time, and when God checks him out, he discovers that he still has a message to deliver. After all the trouble, he’s ready to bet his next address that Nineveh is about to go up in flames. What he doesn’t count on is the massive repentance and revival of the people in that city. To make matters worse, God forgives them!
So there he is- pouting under the shade, only to discover that the shade is in temporary shelter mode.

Then he loses it.

Honestly, I doubt the most amazing author could ever pen a script this interesting. For all intents and purposes, the story starts out like it’s all about Nineveh and its wickedness, and it turns out that Jonah is more center stage in this whodunit than anyone else.
Jonah’s disobedience. Jonah’s time out. Jonah’s unforgiving heart..
Jonah’s lack of mercy is where I can see God smiling, all through the antics of his prophet. Seriously, there was an easier route…and I’m sure a lot of religious people would have preferred it this way.

Jonah gets the message and runs. God gets rid of him, picks someone else, sends them off, and follows up the warning with a shower of brimstone on the Nineveians.

Tidy isn’t it? (Excuse the pun.)
Not with God.

He shows more of his heart towards us than we often care to see. A heart of patience. A heart of humor. A heart of grace. A heart brimming with tenderness for us. Interestingly, Jesus likened his story to that of Jonah.  The difference being, Jesus didn’t disobey and Jesus chose the accommodations called death, so we’d side skip it, when on Judgment day, we’re filling out the part that says “Permanent Address.”

Now who wouldn’t love a God like that?
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About the Author :

Afra Opoku is a Christian who loves the picture of a God who is intimately involved with us in our daily grind, and she strives to portray him in that light, through her weekly blog on www.afraopoku.com.