In Jonah, chapter 3, we read about the people of Nineveh who heard God’s message from Jonah and then repented of their sins. Every person was convicted of their wrongdoings, fasted, and prayed for God’s forgiveness. Therefore, God delivered them from the destruction that awaited them. Nineveh was a very wicked city of the Assyrian Empire but had been changed overnight. Praise God. However, was Jonah happy with what took place? No. He was angry instead of being joyful, which is very sad since he himself could not forgive them for what they had done. This is the same thing we see from the elder brother of the prodigal son. He was also unhappy when his brother returned and also could not forgive him. Now before we compare these stories, let’s first look into Jonah, chapter 4. It reads, 1“but it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live. Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.” (Jonah 4:1-5) Therefore, we see that Jonah would only be happy if the people were destroyed and not saved. This is very sad to see, especially after seeing so many people come to God for salvation. Unfortunately, this type of pride and selfishness is still in people’s hearts today, which needs to be removed before it is too late.
Just because we have been serving God for a long time or been in the faith for years, it doesn’t mean that other people that are new in the faith can’t be welcomed in by us. We should rejoice when someone returns to the faith or are a new believer that is now on fire for God. However, this was not the case for the elder son to the prodigal son, for he was angry also at his return. This was just like Jonah, in how he reacted to the people of Nineveh coming to God. In Luke 15 it reads, 2“now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said unto him, Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe and sound. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.” (Luke 15:25-32) My friends, what this man did, and what Jonah did, were both wrong. We should never be upset about another person coming to Christ and then getting the royal treatment from God. We should most desire to see people be saved and then rejoice with them, for they were lost and are now found. I pray that you will also uplift those that have come to the faith and help them also.
Let us pray:
Oh Lord, I pray for every brother and sister in the faith. May they come to know the reality of Your great love and then desire to showcase it among their neighbors. What is it for us to get upset with people who are new to the faith, but rejoice in their salvation instead. Even people we know, where walls have been built up because of all the evil things they have done to us over the years, it is up to us to simply forgive them as You already forgave them. It is Your guidance and direction in our lives, Lord, that helps us love and forgive one another as You forgive us. Surely, we are incapable of forgiving people that have treated us so badly, unless you are there to help us. Our fleshly instincts say to hurt them back like they have hurt us, and to see them suffer because of what they have done. But I know that these fleshly desires are wrong and need to be removed from our lives, in order to follow You completely. For how can we say that we are forgiven when we cannot forgive others. Surely, You will only forgive those that will forgive one another. So, Lord, I pray that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit will come into my life and others in the faith also. Teach us how to live this life for You. Help us put down our pride and arrogance, that we may be lifted up in love and kindness towards people instead. The times that I have forgiven people of their crimes against me is when the Holy Spirit has come into my life more completely. The more I can give away of my own fleshly desires, the more I can live this life to honor You and not men. And if my desires are to see people be saved in Your kingdom, which it is, then no matter who the person is I am there to welcome them home. I am there to rejoice with them. They were lost and had done sinful things, but they are now found and made new In Your presence. I love You, Lord. Amen.
Let us read the Bible:
Note: Any Numbered References, found above, are listed below.