Series – A Reluctant Servant: Lessons from the Life of Jonah
Sermon – Being Angry with God
Scripture Readings: Jonah 3:10-4:5, Jonah 4:6-11
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing. (Jonah 3:10-4:2)
Monday February 25 — Exodus 20:1-6
The basic terms of God’s covenant with humanity is (from God’s perspective): I will be your God; you will be my people. (See Exodus 6:7, Leviticus 26:12, and Jeremiah 30:22.) From God’s perspective, the covenant relationship is based on (God’s) steadfast love. From humanity’s perspective, the covenant relationship is based on (humanity’s) love for God and obedience of God’s commandments. Think back over your life. How have you experienced God’s steadfast love? Have you responded to God’s steadfast love for you by loving God and keeping God’s commandments?
• Prayer: Loving God, thank you for making and keeping your promises to me. Give me strength to make and keep my promises to you. Amen.
Tuesday February 26 — Psalm 145:1-21
Psalm 145 celebrates the goodness and greatness of God. There is an element of thanksgiving for what God has done, but the emphasis is on God’s character—the person and nature of God. Verses 8 and 9 are the heart of the Psalm: “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made.” Whatever else we know about God, we can rest in the assurance of God’s grace, mercy, compassion, and steadfast love for all of us and all of creation. Do any of God’s characteristics trouble you? If so, which ones? Which of God’s characteristics are most important to you?
• Prayer: Gracious God, grant me a sense of assurance that your grace, mercy, love, and compassion will sustain me always. Amen.
Wednesday February 27 — Jonah 3:10-4:5
The story of Jonah is about God’s willingness to offer second chances to Jonah and to the city of Nineveh. When Nineveh repented and God did not destroy it, Jonah became angry with God. He knew that God would show grace and mercy and steadfast love. He knew that God would keep God’s promises. But he didn’t like it. Have you ever been angry with God? Was it because of something God did? Or was it because of something God didn’t do?
• Prayer: Merciful God, today I surrender everything to you, including my anger. Calm my spirit and teach me to trust you fully. Amen.
Thursday February 28 — Jonah 4:5-11
The Book of Jonah ends with a conversation between Jonah and God about a bush and about the city of Nineveh. God’s message to Jonah was framed in the form of a question: if Jonah was so concerned about something as trivial as a bush, shouldn’t God be even more concerned about the people of Nineveh? What kind of relationship do you have with God’s love and God’s forgiveness? Do you ever feel the way Jonah felt? Does God’s love and forgiveness bother you?
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for your love and forgiveness. Forgive me when I refuse to accept that you offer your love and grace to everyone. Amen.
Friday March 1 — Luke 13:22-30
Some of Jesus’ words are difficult to understand. As he made his way to Jerusalem, he was asked about salvation. His answer was troubling to many of his hearers then, and it’s troubling to many hearers today. He said that some people who expect to enter God’s Kingdom will not, and that people from the four corners of the earth will be welcomed. What do you think about Jesus’ message? How does it make you feel? Can you accept the breadth and depth of God’s grace?
• Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus and for the gift of salvation. Today I choose to follow him, trust him, and obey him. Amen.
Saturday March 2 — Acts 10:34-48
Peter, who was one of Jesus’ disciples and a leader of the early church, was led by God to have an encounter with a man named Cornelius (Acts 10:1-33). Cornelius was a Roman centurion, which means he was a Gentile—someone who was not an Israelite and who was assumed (by Peter) to be outside the reach of God’s grace. However, God, through the Holy Spirit, led Peter to understand that Gentiles like Cornelius could also be God’s people, and could be saved from the power of sin and death by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Are you willing to consider the possibility that God, through the Holy Spirit, is leading you to a new understanding about the scope and the power of God’s grace? What is God teaching you today?
• Prayer: Almighty God, open my eyes to see and my ears to hear your message of love and grace. Teach me what I need to know. Amen.