Jonah was ticked off at God for not wiping out Nineveh like Jonah prophesied to them would happen. Now, it should also be noted that GOD sent Jonah to Nineveh and specifically told Jonah to proclaim this to them, and he disobeyed, went the opposite direction, and got swallowed by a big fish and so on.
I question whether God really is telling some “prophets” anything of the sort, but that’s for another post.
That being said, what Jonah prophesied didn’t happen.
But Jonah wasn’t a false prophet as a result of what he said would happen not happening. He obeyed and did what He was told, and spoke what he was told (well, after the whole running the opposite direction, but anyway).
The words Jonah spoke caused a change of heart in those people, and God was quite happy that when the Assyrians — who were kinda like if ISIS or Al-Qaeda were their own super power on the earth and conquering nations — repented and turned to God when a prophet told them God was going to wipe them out.
I have believed for a long time, even in the Old Testament God was long-suffering with both his people and his enemies. Sometimes he took centuries before finally bringing judgement like he threatened to through prophets. But more specifically, I believe He really wanted Nineveh to repent, and he knew if his prophet went and told them they’d be destroyed, that that was just what it would take to change them. I don’t think God is bipolar and in a bad mood and if it weren’t for “intercessors” he’d destroy everything and everybody in His path. Jonah on the other hand was quite irked when the destruction didn’t happen.
If you are supposedly an intercessor or a prophet, and you believe and tell people that these recent hurricanes in Texas and now Florida (during hurricane season in a hurricane prone area of the world, at that) are judgment from God, will you be ticked off if you’re wrong or they leave minimal damage and little loss of life? Will you be relieved if you’re “wrong”, or be mad like Jonah?
If you aren’t relieved when your judgment prophecy doesn’t come to pass, I’ll probably just assume you are no real prophet nor intercessor. The fervency and frequency with which Christians are so quick to attribute God’s wrath or judgment to things is quite embarrassing to me.
My friend Jonathan Brenneman recently posted on Facebook the following question. I quote from it below just in case after sharing the Facebook embed it gets deleted later:
“Some people are confused by the contrast between Christians proclaiming the Hurricanes are “God’s judgement” and others saying we should rebuke them.
2nd Corinthians 5 says God was in Christ, reconciling men to himself, and not counting men’s sins against them, and he has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation.
I have two questions:
1) Is God judging people for sins that he’s not holding against them?
2) Are those who call Hurricanes “God’s judgement” acting as ministers of reconciliation, or are they proclaiming enmity between God and man?”
I think this is a valid question and important way to look at the judgment talk. I saw another friend re-post a Facebook status post Clint Zeller (I don’t know him personally, but Derrick Day reshaped this), and I appreciated most of the thoughts.
“First, let me start by saying if God WAS who most people say He is, I wouldn’t be a Christian.
If God DID what most people say He does, I wouldn’t be a Christian.
I just watched a video from a popular christian actor and he said we need to be paying attention to these storms because God has a purpose for them. Who in their right mind would give their lives to a bipolar, temperamental God who would kill thousands of innocent people with a hurricane just to punish some others?!
He quoted from Job 37:11-13,
“He loads the clouds with moisture,
and they flash with his lightning. The clouds churn about at his direction. They do whatever he commands throughout the earth. He makes these things happen either to punish people or to show his unfailing love.”
This could lead someone to believe that God is control of every little storm and will even use them for punishment or to show His love. When we pluck verses out of context to prove a point, we can make the Bible say just about anything we want it to say!
We could easily pluck other verses from Job and see that he says all sorts of things that can make God seem like a terrible Father. For example, Job 1:21 is often taken out of context to mean that the Lord will give and take away depending on what mood He’s in that day. The truth is, it’s the THEIF who comes to STEAL, kill and destroy, but Jesus came to GIVE life in abundance (John 10:10)!
If we read Job in it’s entirety, we will see that Job said a lot of things that were incorrect. In Job 42:3, he says,
“Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” Job himself admitted that he was wrong in the things he said! Why in the world are we quoting things from this book when the main character even admits it’s wrong?!
God doesn’t give and take away. He gives us life abundantly. If He’s taken anything, it’s the sins of the world (1 John 3:5)!
God didn’t cause all these hurricanes. It’s called weather. It’s called science. It’s called living in a fallen world where things like this happen (Romans 8:22).
Were we given authority to speak the storms? YES! But, if we believe the storms are caused by God, what would be the point of exercising that authority?
God is good and doesn’t wish that anyone should perish. He didn’t cause these hurricanes and we need to stop telling people He did. Placing the blame on our good, loving Father is ignorant and simply isn’t doing Christianity any favors.”
These are some interesting things to keep in mind. I think a lot of Christians who sincerely believe the judgment narrative do so from a sense of wanting justice to be rendered. If a nation is so sinful they ought to “have what’s coming to them”, and it’s easy to place the blame on natural disasters when they happen. Except then you have to ask why God did it in one place but not another seemingly more wicked place elsewhere in the world.
[clickToTweet tweet=”It’s hard to trust God in the storm if you think He’s the one who sent it in the first place.” quote=”It’s hard to trust God in the storm if you think He’s the one who sent it in the first place.”]
If you have about half an hour, check out the latest episode of the Sons of Thunder YouTube show with John Crowder: