Is it right for you to be angry?

Is it right for you to be angry?

The book of the prophet Jonah is an odd book and not just because Jonah is swallowed by a big fish and animals put on sackcloth and ashes.  Jonah is the only Old Testament prophet sent to proclaim to a foreign nation.  And it’s not just any foreign nation.  It’s Assyria – the cruel enemy that will conquer Israel and Judah in the centuries ahead. When God tells Jonah to go and tell the people of Ninevah, the capital city of Assyria, that they should change ways Jonah doesn’t want to go.  He runs away from God, with a one-way ticket on a ship to Tarshish.  After spending time in the belly of the beast, Jonah goes to Tarshish.  But, he’s not happy about it. He delivers a terse message to the Ninevites: “Just forty more days and your city will be overthrown.”  Despite a lack of persuasive tactics the people listen and everyone – from the king to the animals – repents of their wicked ways.  They have been given a second chance. They turn over a new leaf, for a new way of life.  At least, for a century or so. Jonah is angry that God has not destroyed the Ninevites.  He stalks off to the top of a hill overlooking the city and sits down in a fury.  God finds Jonah there and twice asks Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah says he knew this would happen because God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and ready to relent from punishing.  If God won’t kill his enemies, Jonah...