But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?” (Jonah 4:1-4 ESV)
After Jonah was vomited up by the fish, he went to Ninevah as God instructed and preached to them of the coming judgment of God. But when the people heard they repented. God, seeing their repentance, relented from His judgment. Jonah grew angry and explains that it was God’s mercy that led him run away in the first place. Jonah did not want the Babylonians odd the hook for their treatment of Judah.
I see the same thing from my children at times. When one child hurts another or irritates another, the one wronged lets me know and gets very angry with me if I do not act as he thinks I should in terms of bringing down judgment. He does not want mercy for his sibling. We are all more like Jonah than we care to admit. But God is merciful. To fail to love mercy is to forget our own need of it. At the same time, God’s mercy is not cheap to the Lord. Because He is a just God, It costs him dearly. We forget that.