Hi, welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for the Daily Challenges. Yesterday we read the story of Jonah, who was told by God to go to the city of Nineveh as God’s messenger, and tell them to change their ways. He took a boat in the opposite direction, and after a violent storm, the sailors threw him overboard where he was swallowed by a great fish. Here’s what happened next:
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. (Jonah 2:10 ESV)
Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three days’ journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.
The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it. (Jonah 3 ESV)
They actually changed! You’d think this would be good news to Jonah. He’d finally done what he was told, and scared as he was, he survived! They didn’t lynch him for his proclamation, they actually changed their ways, from the king to peasants, and put on visible signs of their repentance like sackcloth and ashes. God had done this amazing thing through Jonah! But, Jonah disagreed with God’s grace. Here’s how the story continued:
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. (Jonah 4:1 ESV)
Next Jonah went to pout in the desert, and God grew a miraculous plant to shade him from the sun. Then God killed the plant, and Jonah got upset again. Here’s why:
And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11 ESV)
That’s where the book ends – with a question. Should I not pity 120,000 people more than your prejudice, more than your anger, or more than your fear? Clearly the answer was yes.
Question: What point do you think God was making with this plant? And how could this story be pointing towards Jesus? How is Jonah a broken image of Jesus?