Are you a whiney baby sometimes? Are you a whiney baby a lot of the time? Most likely, we can all say we are whiney babies from time to time. The problem is that when we realize we are acting like one, and that we aren't pleasing God in doing so, do we continue to sulk and pout, or do we 'straighten up and fly right', as the saying goes?
Sunday night my brother-in-law was ending a series on Jonah. We read Jonah 3 and 4. What struck me about these last two chapters is how Jonah (after being in the belly of a huge fish for three days and being vomited out) still acted like a whiney baby! He should have been thankful the Lord didn't send the fish back to just swallow him up again immediately and never have him vomit him out again - ever.
Jonah was being a whiney baby because God had asked him to go to Ninevah the second time, and he did. He told the Ninevites that God would overthrow the city in 40 days. Because of Jonah's message, the Ninevites believed God. Even the King declared a fast. Everyone put on sackcloths. They didn't eat or drink. Even the animals were fasting. The King said to turn from their evil ways and violence. He said that maybe God would have compassion on them and turn away from His anger and spare them. And God did. He spared the Ninevites because of how they turned towards Him.
And here comes Jonah's whiney baby part. Instead of rejoicing that his message had been heard and heeded, Jonah was upset that God changed his mind and spared the Ninevites. He was so angry, that he wanted to die! Can you believe that?! He wanted to die because God didn't destroy these people!
And the Lord just asked Jonah one simple question, "Is it right for you to be angry?"
You know when children get mad and pout, they sometimes go to a secluded place and sulk? Maybe some adults do that, as well. In fact, I know they do. We probably all know adults who do. Well, Jonah went outside the city and sat. He made himself a little shelter and sat in the shade and waited for God to change His mind back, and destroy the city.
I love this next part:
(6) Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant.
The way that is worded is funny to me! Yes, I'm sure Jonah was very happy about that plant! Maybe he thought, "Yeah! God is on my side! He is helping me, so there's no way He is going to let these people get by with all their evil past!" But Jonah's pride in his leafy plant didn't last long.
(7) But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered.
Ha ha!! Poor, Jonah! Now his leafy shade was gone. Wonder what he thought as he woke up and saw the worm or woke up and saw no more plant? He should have repented right then, but no....Jonah was still being a whiney baby.
(8) When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah still didn't get it, did he?
(9) But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
Wow. Come on, Jonah!
(10) But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.
(11) And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
I kind of laugh about this story because of how ridiculous it seems. Jonah is a BIG whiney baby and isn't getting God's major theme and His whole plan that is woven throughout His word. But, it's not really funny. Maybe Jonah did finally get it. I hope he did. But the sad part is that many are being whiney babies right now. And maybe - just maybe God hasn't sent Jesus back because He is waiting for people to turn from their evil ways or He is waiting for someone to quit being a whiney baby and realize the bigger picture - His bigger plan.
His plan is to have as many people as possible come to Him through His Son, Jesus. And He would want everyone to do that, if they just will. So maybe He is waiting on ME to tell someone. Maybe he's waiting on YOU. We don't know. All we know is that someday the waiting will be over. He will say, "It's time", and Jesus will come back. And all that is written in His Word will happen, and His people will live with Him for eternity. And those who are lost will be in torment eternally.
Don't be a whiney baby like Jonah. Don't sulk and pout and cry and wait for God to do what YOU want Him to do. YOU do what God wants you to do! And everything will work out just fine.
Jonah's preaching is mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 12:38-41 and Luke 11:29-32) and the Bible, speaking of Jesus, says that someone greater than Jonah is here. I think Jonah eventually got it. I believe he stopped being a whiney baby and got the bigger picture of God's plan.
Finer Grounds: Nehemiah 13
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