Jonah is a favorite book for me. He does seem very dumb in some ways but God uses him to evangelize in a mighty way, I noticed this time that he even converted the sailors before he ever got to his main job in Nineveh. Also his first prophecy was that the sea would become calm again as soon as he hit the water. I don't understand his reaction to God having mercy on the city. I woould think he would also be pleased.
Jonah for me is an example of what most of the prophets must feel. They have this awesome job from God to go and warn the people of God's impending judgement. 80-90% of everything they have to say is doom and gloom, with 10-20% of hope and promise. They are the Eeyore's nobody wants to be aound them so they end up like hermits. Everyone thinks that prophets are supposed to tell the future, and say only good things but not God's prophets they have a job to call people back to God in repentance, to turn arund, to change. Not an easy job no wonder Jonah wanted to run away. Because he knew God and he knew that God would relent if then repented. I can sympathize with Jonah, I know where he is at.
I love how God calls Jonah and he runs away but God teaches him a lesson so the second time he is called he obeys. I appreciate that the sailors asked for God's forgiveness for tossing Jonah overboard because they didn't want to do it and had tried to avoid it. So Jonah preaches God's word and the city repents so is not punished. Jonah is angry and says that is why he didn't want to follow God's direction in the first place - because he knew he was a kind and forgiving God. Jonah felt he had wasted his time, but it was because of him speaking God's words to the people that they changed their ways. God compares the plant he provided to Jonah to the city...God says you have concern for this plant, and should I not have concern for the city?
Rev. Abraham Gross is pastor of the Cavendish Baptist Church in Cavendish, VT.