The second of the 10 commandments is to have no idols. Essentially, they’re anything that takes God’s place, but they can be hard to pick out.
For Jonah, after preaching to Nineveh, the people repented, and God decided not to destroy this city. However, he wasn’t happy with that, he had the idol of nationalism. When it came to Israel, he asked for God’s mercy, but for those outside, he demanded justice.
What’s interesting is after first refusing, he did go to Nineveh. The problem was he went based off on an intellectual conviction and not a heart one. If you’re to go back and read Jonah’s prayer from inside the whale, he even says there in Jonah 2:8-9: “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them...What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord’” Based on this, you would think that Jonah has genuinely repented. Instead, his prayer comes back to haunt him.
He had clung to a worthless idol. When push came to shove, what Jonah knew in his mind hadn’t worked into his heart.
Is God thee priority in your life or has something else that could even be linked to him taken centre stage? We need the gospel to work deeply into our hearts to push the idols out.