God Ministered to Jonah

From an unknown source comes an article titled, “How To Be Miserable.” It says, “Think about yourself. Talk about yourself. Use ‘I’ as often as possible. Mirror yourself continually in the opinion of others. Listen greedily to what people say about you. Expec … More

Self Pity

Though Jonah is angry at God (vv. 1-4), God still cares for him and demonstrates this by preparing a gourd to grow up and provide shade for Jonah’s head. Jonah was happy for the provision of this plant, but apparently he does not recognize it as having come from the hand of God (v. 6). However, the next verse shows how this plant was prepared to serve God’s purpose and not Jonah’s comfort (v. 7).

As Jonah sits under this plant he is neither praying for Nineveh or himself, nor resting to gather strength to continue his spiritual ministry, but is in complete dejection and self pity. Jonah enjoyed for one day the shade of the gourd but at dawn the following day the Lord prepared a worm to bore its way into the plant, causing it to dry up and die (v. 8).  God once again asks Jonah if his anger over the plant’s destruction is ethically justifiable (v. 9). He declares that he is justly angry. In fact, it reached the place he even wanted to die. Jonah’s distorted sense of values is clearly shown. He was more concerned with a plant than he was with people (vv. 10-11). When asked before whether his anger was justifiable, Jonah didn’t answer. But this time he answered, for his comfort was at stake.

As the chapter ends we can see how even the animals benefit when leaders and adults are in a right relationship with God. On the other hand, when the messenger is deliberately disobedient, God will cause even His creation to bring correction to His messenger and fulfill His purpose in the world.

Application

I should stop and ask myself if I am more concerned about my selfish desires or what God wants to accomplish in and through my life.

Jonah 4:6-11 (English Standard Version)

Now the LORD God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, "It is better for me to die than to live." But God said to Jonah, "Do you do well to be angry for the plant?" And he said, "Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die." And the LORD said, "You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?"

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