Jonah master pouter ∙
Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen. – Jonah 4:3
6 The LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,
7 lavishing unfailing love to a thousand generations. Forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
When things do not go your way, how you respond is your choice. Pouting is one of the poor choices which carries over from the Terrible Twos. Children occasionally pout when they do not get their way. We have all seen it. They sit with their arms crossed with a sad, hurt look on their face. A pouty face with a frown is donned. The lips pushed out (usually just the bottom lip). Unfortunately, some two-year-olds never grow up and become pouting adults. Some even go on to earn a Ph.D. in pouting.
Pouting is acting in a gloomy and irritating way. It often includes moping or sulking. A successful pout requires that you master the correct facial expressions and body language to carry it off.
Position your mouth. Try sticking your bottom lip out just a little. You may want to practice in the mirror first because if you overdo it, you look like a fish!
To get your mouth position right, try saying the word “blue.” It will force your lips forward into a pouty position. If you can, include quivering your lower lip. This will make you look like you are about to cry. Drop your head slightly, showing vulnerability.
During a sad pout, emotion is expressed in your whole body, not just your face. Additional techniques include slouching your shoulders and loosely crossing your arms in front of you.
If and when you talk, use an angry voice. To sell the emotion, speak loudly, repeat the same phrases, and laugh sarcastically. You can also try stomping your feet, closing doors loudly, and making other loud noises to make your point or get attention.
However, rather than words, pouting often involves just a bit of a sigh, followed by sulking facial expressions and then moody silence.
The worst part about pouting is those times when no one notices you are pouting. This results in even greater annoyance and vexation.
Pouting is an outward expression of inward selfishness.
Jonah was the master pouter of Israel.
Reluctantly Jonah finally delivers the Father’s warning message of the coming judgment of Nineveh.
3 This time Jonah obeyed the LORD’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all.
4 On the day Jonah entered the city; he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!”
What did the Assyrians do? They repented of their sins and sought forgiveness from the Father, the Lord God of Israel (Jonah 3:5–9).
What did Jonah do? Did he praise the Lord for their change of heart? Absolutely not! He was furious. This is what he was afraid of all along. The Assyrians had a terrible reputation for overpowering, capturing, and butchering their opponents.
Jonah feared what might happen to Israel at the hands of the Assyrians. In his mind, what seemed best for the nation of Israel was pretty straightforward. The Assyrians should be judged and destroyed by the Father. Problem solved.
God forbid that they would repent and seek forgiveness. If they did so, how would the Father respond? Worst case, He would relent and cancel the judgment the Assyrians so richly deserved. Jonah blurted out an angry, whiny prayer.
1 This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry.
2 So he complained to the LORD about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.
3 Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
In prayer, Jonah reveals why he initially refused the Father’s order to go to Nineveh and confront them. Jonah knew that the Father was merciful and compassionate. Sure enough, the worst possible scenario played out. Why was Jonah angry with the Father? Jonah was mad at Him for being merciful and compassionate. He was angry at Him for being Himself and acting it out. He is slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and faithfulness. He lavishes loving kindness on the undeserving and forgives iniquity, rebellion, and sin.
REFLECT & PRAY
Rather than following the Father’s plan for us, we devise our own. Do we really think that we know better than He does?
Father help me to hear and to obey Your voice. Encourage me not to pout but rejoice in Your loving, forgiving heart. Where would I be without it?
The word translated as upset or displeased is raa in Hebrew. It means to be bad, not fit for use, be evil, displeasing, discontented, or repulsive. The word translated angry is charah in Hebrew. It means to burn or be kindled with anger, furious.
Jonah is furious with the Father. He finds the Father’s actions repulsive. He takes it upon himself to confront the Lord God Almighty. This is always a bad idea. At best, it is a no-win situation. At worse, terrible things can happen.
Indeed, Jonah must have thought aloud something like this, “You called me to be a prophet, and then You go and do this? It makes no sense. If this is the way it really is, I would rather be dead.”
Rather startling, yes? But upon reflection, we realize that we have thought or said the same thing when we do not get our own way.
The Father’s response is sharp and penetrating. He confronts Jonah with a piercing question.
Jonah 4:4 The LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”
Rather than answering, Jonah becomes passive-aggressive and pouts in solitude.
Jonah 4:5 Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city.
From Jonah’s viewpoint, the Father did not get it right. Sparing the Assyrians was just wrong. Jonah, with smug arrogance, “graciously” gives the Father another chance in the hopes that He will get it right this time. Jonah is waiting for the judgment to fall. Jonah has no compassion. He seeks only the condemnation and destruction of his enemies.
Jonah’s audacity, thoughts, and actions are over the top. Yet who among us has not thought or done something very similar? It is all too human to condemn others for their shortcomings and sins but to simultaneously dismiss our own. On the other hand, the Father offers grace, mercy, and forgiveness to those that do not deserve it.
Each child of the King is on that list of evildoers. Praise God!
John 8:7 Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone.