I laugh so often when I read the Book of Jonah. There are so many eye opening moments in this book that have certainly convicted and humbled me. Some people will focus how Jonah finally followed God’s command and went to Ninevah. Some people will focus on the how the people of Ninevah repented and changed their ways. I like what happens just after the Ninevites hear the message and believe. They fast.
Right after that God relented. When he did it made Jonah angry. He was not happy that God was forgiving of these people. They were “bad” people. They did wrong. The Bible says that Jonah then went and plopped himself nearby and “waited to see what would happen to the city.” That part gets me every time. What was he waiting for? Was he waiting to see if they messed up again so he can say, “Hey God, look I told you they were bad people and you were wrong to forgive them”? Was he waiting to see if perhaps God would change his mind (which is not possible)?
There are moments in our lives when we do this too. We get angry at the injustice in the world—and there is much of it. We speak with unforgiving lips. We act as the judge. Imagine each person who committed those wrongs finding forgiveness. God relented. They accepted Jesus and have been redeemed—but what about what they did? What about the rape, murder, adultery, lies, theft??? What about……. You can sit just outside watching and hoping that others pay for what they have done, or you can receive God’s forgiveness and show that same forgiveness to others.
“Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see what would happen to the city.” – Jonah 4:5 [NLT]
Simeon and Levi were upset with what happened to their sister Dinah at the hands of Shechem. She was violated and hurt. They were angry and devised a plan to get revenge. In Genesis 34, we read about their actions. They allowed for Dinah to return with Shechem but had a plan to enact vengeance on the people. They ended up retrieving their sister along with slaughtering the people and plundering the area.
Most of us today would not consider giving a victim to the guilty party but many of us do want justice. It is okay to want justice. God even tells us to seek justice (see Micah 6). But Simeon and Levi went at it the wrong way. Just because a wrong was committed, does not mean another wrong committed is an act of justice. Simeon and Levi not only lied, but they stole and they murdered.
Seek justice but understand that God’s commands cannot be twisted or ignored for the justice. Trust in His justice. He is a just God. There’s no reason to join with those who have committed wrong doings to get some false sense of justice. God will handle it.
“The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” – Psalm 33:5 [NIV]