JONAH’S PROBLEM

Scripture Reading: Jonah 4:1-4

“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.” (Jonah 4:1)

What was Jonah’s problem? Here was a missionary who was highly successful in his mission, but he was exceedingly displeased and very angry over the repentance of the people of Nineveh. Jonah had just preached to the toughest audience of his life and they responded positively to his message, from the greatest to the least of them.

It seems that Jonah had two problems: a theological problem and a heart problem. We get insight into his theological problem by reading the words he said to God — “For I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster” (v. 2). But Jonah also knew how evil the Assyrians were. How could God be a God of justice and allow such evil, oppression and violence to continue? There was a contradiction in Jonah’s mind between the justice of God and the steadfast love of God. In fact, Jonah resented the mercy that God extended to the Assyrians. He felt that God’s justice was not being carried out.

Fortunately we know how these two attributes of God come together. Let me jump ahead to the cross of Jesus Christ. This is where the justice and love of God meet. Jesus paid the price we owe to satisfy God’s justice on our behalf. God’s steadfast love for us is so great that He provided the means for our salvation — His own Son as our substitute.

In order for God to grant mercy to us, He had to pay a pay a great price — the death of His Son. His love for us is beyond comprehension. Yes, look at the cross and you will see the justice of God and the love of God meet.

Lord Jesus, I know that You bore God’s justice on the cross. You suffered the wrath of God in my place. Your love is so great for me that You willingly came to his earth and died for me so that I could have eternal life. When I consider Your cross, I see both the justice and love of God coming together. Thank You for the huge price You paid to redeem me.

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