If there is a master theme for in our country right now, it might be anger. Anger at racial injustice, anger at the disruption caused by the coronavirus, anger at the spin and sensationalism of various media outlets, anger at our elected officials, anger at the other side, we could go on. As Christians, how should we process this anger? Should we simply say, keep calm, God is in control? Put not your hope in princes, and the rest?
Of course God is on the throne. But if we read the prophets, we see that God’s sovereignty is never opposed to human anger against injustice. Our problem is not usually that we are angry, but that we are not angry enough: at injustice, exploitation, and oppression. God’s anger at sin is a corollary of his love for the world, and his commitment to oppose anything that threatens his good creation.
And yet, even when our anger begins in the right place, so often it goes off the rails into unrighteousness. It becomes less about justice and more about my side winning. This leads to a kind of anger that seeks to shame and humiliate, to defeat and destroy. And so the question for all of us is the question that God asks Jonah twice in the passage: “is it right for you to be so angry?” In other words, is our passion rightly placed? Are we angry enough about the right things? And are we too angry about the wrong things? This passage is an invitation to self-examination, because it is a picture of a prophet who is boiling with anger. (Watch the whole thing below)