“Are you enjoying those sour grapes?” my parents would rhetorically ask when I complained about something that hadn’t gone my way. I hated that remark, mainly because, rather than give credence to my whining, a spotlight was shown on my what about me attitude. As I read the last chapter of the book of Jonah and heard his complaining, I was reminded of the sound of my own youthful voice. And, I have to admit, it’s a voice I still use. How often do you or I claim unfairness when God blesses someone whom we feel isn’t deserving, or when God saves a disgraceful person in their eleventh hour, or chooses to deliver someone whom we believe should be punished? God feels compassion for people whom we have judged, and fortunately for us, God also overlooks our sour grapes.
Jonah cried out to God from the belly of a fish and God had mercy on Him. God then asked Jonah to deliver His offer of mercy to the Ninevites. Jonah reluctantly, and out of a sense of obligation to God for saving his life, agreed to preach the message. When he did, the Ninevites repented and God spared them. Jonah wanted to die rather than live with the idea that he had a part in saving Nineveh, people whom he believed deserved judgment not mercy.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for Your great compassion. Help me to be more sensitive to the spiritual needs of others, rather than eating handfuls of sour grapes.
“This displeased Jonah terribly and he became very angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “Oh, Lord, this is just what I thought would happen when I was in my own country. This is what I tried to prevent by attempting to escape to Tarshish! – because I knew that you are gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy, and one who relents concerning threatened judgment. So now, Lord, kill me instead, because I would rather die than live,” Jonah 4:1-11 NET.
Cheri Cowell was chosen as one of six Christian journalists for an Israeli Ministry of Tourism sponsored tour of the Holy Land in November 2009. To learn more about Cheri’s ministry, visit her website www.CheriCowell.com