To Jonah’s surprise, I’m sure, “the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them”.
What further surprised Jonah was that “God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not”.
So we have a preacher preaching to sinners that they need to repent or be destroyed by a holy God. We have the sinners repenting and praying God will spare them. We have God accepting their repentance and changing His mind in that He would now not destroy them because they had repented of their wickedness instead of staying in it.
What did Jonah think about all of this? “It displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry”. Jonah even admits “I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.”, but he is still angry that God is even as he knows He is.
Then God shows Jonah that he had more pity on a gourd which God had made for him that a worm from God had destroyed than the sinners which God had made and had now chosen not to destroy.
I ponder are we any better today? Do we call people to repentance, scare them of hell to come, explain that the wrath of God is upon all that reject Him, and then when they do come we are happy for some yet mad about others?
You say, “No, not me. I am happy for everyone that comes to Christ!” Really?
Why then do we speak mockingly about deathbed conversions, jailhouse salvation, and terrorists’ enlightenment? Sometimes we act as if God can’t or will not convert, other times it is as if we believe they are merely faking it, yet still there are times when it seems that we just don’t believe they deserve it.
Think of the worse person (whether personally known to you or not) and/or the worse place you consider the most non-Christian. Ask yourself if you honestly believe they should be granted salvation by God, would you believe their testimony if given, and would you embrace them as a brother or sister in the name of Christ?
Or would you be mad like Jonah that a sinner received mercy from God?