1 “But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”
Jonah 4:1-4, NIV
Jonah is the very essence of the modern Christian who prefers God to be just like them (only more so.) Just like Jonah we can be:
- unaccepting and
When you mix the three, (in a kind of “Jonah smoothie”) you will have something quite religious– but very toxic. A toxicity that normally should require protective clothing and a quarantine.
Jonah has a sense of who God really is. But, he disagrees. In his eyes, God is way too excessive, way too elaborate in His love. He makes way too many possibilities for forgiveness. It drives him nuts, to serve a God that is way too liberal with His love. It seems to push Jonah to try to readjust the love of God on his own.
In the eyes of Mr. Jonah, he simply must modify the “way of salvation.” In his way of thinking, he can’t let God, be wholly God. Jonah simply must step in, and dial back the real tendency of God to venture into His excessive and foolish love. He must be thinking that what God is doing is way too outrageous, and far too far for human reasoning.
Amazingly, Jonah knows God deeply. He knows, and he is afflicted by the grace that God has for these Ninevites. Jonah doesn’t get vague, rather he gets specific. He becomes more aware. Verse 2 states Jonah’s deep awareness that God is simply too good for people, He is far too rich and generous with the behavior of people who live way too loose.
Since God seems so excessive we feel we must adjust Him.
It seems we must work to make Him more acceptable, and to redefine Him into a more focused kind of religious faith. Something that makes sense to us His followers. Something in the way the World perceives Him. It so seems that this is a job that almost every believer jumps at. (I vote to send God to “rehab.”) :-)
But the LORD replied, “Have you any right to be angry?” The Lord speaks specifically to Jonah. He asks a question, which is a very good idea, when confronting foolish thinking. “Have you any right?” This question reverberates and echos through the corridors inside our hearts. It seems our right doesn’t extend that far. Being “angry” with God (and the way He does things,) is never an acceptable way of thinking.
Simply put, you have no right. You have nothing. There isn’t any allowance or prerogative given, that allows you to alter and adjust the way God wants His reputation and character to be made public. Sorry, you can’t “airbrush” Him to meet the perceived ideas of the mass population. He will not allow you to “photoshop” His face or presence, to make His love more presentable.
Simply understood and easily stated, “We have no right.”