Jonah’s angry words were affirmations of God’s character: “I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (v. 2). These were things that Jonah knew in his head to be true. His theology of God was excellent. Yet what he knew of God had not affected his heart; he did not love these things about God. This was at the root of Jonah’s disobedience. What he knew and what he loved didn’t match up.
We don’t often think of sin as a theology problem, but we should. We know what God thinks about lies, gossip, lust, and greed, so we aren’t disobedient in these ways because of uncertainty. Instead, we disobey because our hearts do not love God completely; we don’t love the things that He loves. Jonah did not want God to save Nineveh because he didn’t love sinners and desire their salvation the way that God did. Jonah and his will were at the center of his heart. God wanted to put Himself and His will at the center of Jonah’s heart. To do so, He first had to show Jonah what was truly in his heart.
Where in your life do you see a misalignment between your theology (what you know is true about God from His Word) and your heart (what you love)?