4 But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. 3 At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”
4 The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” 5 But Jonah went out from the city and sat down east of the city. There he made himself a hut and sat under it, in the shade, to see what would happen to the city (Jonah 4:1-5, Common English Bible).
“Preacher! God is not the same, yesterday, today and forever. God isn’t even the same in the Old Testament and the New Testament. In the Old Testament God is vengeful. God is full of wrath. God is not only waiting for us to slip up, sometimes God is even the one placing the banana peel on the ground in front of us. Then, on the other hand, the God we see in the New Testament is a God that is full of love and forgiveness and grace. There is nothing of wrath there.”
I have heard all that many times over. Well, except for the banana peel part. Only one person said that and you know who you are. And, as far as that last sentence, “There is nothing of wrath there?” I would suggest you go spend some time reading Revelation. While I don’t particularly like reading Revelation, there is plenty of wrath in those pages.Equally untrue is the idea that God is only wrathful and
Equally untrue is the idea that God is only wrathful and vengeful in the Old Testament. As angry as Jonah was with God and as much as he might have wanted to escape God’s presence, Jonah clearly recognized the love, forgiveness, and grace of God. Jonah recognized it and wasn’t happy about it at all. Jonah even said this was why he ran away in the first place.
In one way I guess I understand Jonah’s attitude. Who would want to make the trip, do all the work and it turns out for nothing because the boss changes his mind? As a prophet, Jonah had no earthly boss. His boss was God and he knew before he ever got started how this thing was going to turn out.
The point of all this is to say, God really is the same on both the pages of the Old Testament and the New Testament. We may read and interpret the two sets of Scripture differently. The various writers of both the Old and New Testaments may have placed emphasis on different elements of God’s character.
Think about it this way. I, a finite creature, in a single day, can be happy, sad, pleasant, angry, frustrated, giving, comforting and so much more. If I, a finite creature can be all this and more in a single day, how much more can the infinite God be during all of created, divine history? Further, with God all that and more, there is no possible way the Biblical writers could record every aspect of the divine personality.
In short, God is the same, yesterday, today and forever. God never changes. Thanks be to God for the grace given to each of us, even if sometimes we fail to see it.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
With Joy and Thankfulness,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reseved