Rhetorical

Jonah 4:4 But the Lord replied, “Have you any right to be angry?”

Jonah was being a baby.  He did his job and told the people of Nineveh that God was going to destroy them.  Because of their response, God decided to spare them and Jonah got ticked off.  God was making a liar out of him.  I mean, what kind of a prophet would he be if the prophesy he told didn’t come true?  His reputation was at stake; he had wasted his time delivering a message that God changed His mind on.  “It’s just not fair, God. Why are you doing this to me?  Why won’t you just destroy them like you said you would already!?” So he sat down and sulked.  He had a little temper tantrum.  Yes, the anointed man of God had a hissy fit.

At this point, God asks a very pointed question:: “Have you any right to be angry?”  And He asks it again in verse 9.  The second time, Jonah answers the question.  The problem is, it was a rhetorical question – God wasn’t looking for an answer.  Because in reality, God was saying to Jonah, “you don’t have the right to be angry.”  You see, it wasn’t Jonah’s right to judge the nation of Nineveh.  He thought he had the privilege of announcing their impending doom, but God’s real purpose was to use him as a catalyst for change.  It wasn’t his right to decide what God would do next.  It wasn’t his right to be angry about what the Sovereign Lord might decide to do.  God didn’t give him rights, He gave him responsibilities.

A river can’t flow higher than it’s source.  An object can’t be greater than it’s creator.  These truths are captured in God’s rhetorical question.  I do love this about my God.  When He asks, “do you trust me?” He means “trust me.”  When he asks “will you worship me alone,” he means “worship me alone.”  Did Jonah have the right to be angry? Did he have the right to tell God what He should do?  The answer, my friends, is no.  We must let God be God and be content with being his messengers, his servants, and his children.  That’s the way the relationship is supposed to work.

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