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Jonah was a prophet from Israel who was called by God to preach to the people of Nineveh— the capital city of the mighty Assyrian Empire.
This great empire was threatening to swallow up tiny Israel and everyone in it, and Jonah was not pleased about his new assignment.
So instead of heading for Nineveh, Jonah hopped on a slow boat to Tarshish—which was located in the opposite direction.
But God cared too much about both Jonah and the people of Nineveh to let him go without a fight. So the Lord sent a storm that led the other sailors to throw Jonah overboard—then He sent a fish to snatch Jonah from a watery grave. In God’s grace, Jonah was given a second chance to go to Nineveh to call the people to repent—and this time Jonah took it.
For most people, that’s where the story stops, but that’s really only half the story. The people of Nineveh did repent, and God, in keeping with His character, relented from carrying out the destruction He had threatened for the city. Good news, right? Not for Jonah. He was actually angry at God for being compassionate and sparing the city!
How do you respond when you are threatened or even hurt by others? Do you seek revenge? Do you pray for God to do nasty things to your enemies? Jesus calls us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:43–47). Since we have been spared eternal punishment for our sins (Romans 6:23), how can we wish anything else for others?