Jonah is a classic example of a recalcitrant prophet. He tried to hide instead of answering God’s call to preach to the people of Nineveh. God punished him by keeping him inside the belly of a big fish until he repented of his actions and vowed to obey. The venerable prophet, Moses, was also a victim of his indiscretion. At Kadesh where water was scarce, God instructed him to speak to the rock in the presence of the Israelites. The rock, on its own, will bring forth the water that will quench the thirst of the community. Moses, who was peeved by the complaints of the multitude, hit the rock twice with his staff instead of speaking to it. His failure to follow God’s instruction downgraded the magnitude of the miracle. The punishment he received for his omission was tough. Moses died without being able to step into the land promised by God to the Israelites. Why is God so quick to mete out punishments to prophets who disobey him?
God does not tolerate disobedience and transgressions especially when his chosen prophets are involved. The prophets were God’s instruments to relay His words and His will to the tribes of Israel. If they cannot follow God’s instructions, they will find it difficult to lead the people to God’s desired path. God emphasizes obedience at all times. He promises a mountain of blessings to those who obey Him.
When Jonah and Moses disobeyed God, they dishonored God. God is a jealous God. When He wants something done, he expects the prophets to put their hearts and souls into it. He also wants his prophets to show their belief and trust in Him by obeying Him.
Luckily for Jonah and Moses, God easily forgave them when they showed true repentance. He might have meted punishment on them but God cannot be angry with them forever.