Google+ 09/07/13 It is Not Up To Us!

Jonah 4: 1-11

 

This change of plans greatly upset Jonah, and he became very angry.

So he complained to the Lord about it:

“Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish!

I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.

You are eager to turn back from destroying people.

Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”

The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry about this?”

Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under

As he waited to see what would happen to the city.

And the Lord God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there,

And soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah’s head, shading him from the sun.

This eased his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.

But God also arranged for a worm!

The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away.

And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah.

The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die.

“Death is certainly better than living like this!” he exclaimed.

Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?”

“Yes,” Jonah retorted, “even angry enough to die!”

Then the Lord said, “You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there.

It came quickly and died quickly. 

 But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?”

 

Part six of our seven-part devotion series entitled, "Jonah and the Whale," points out that happy endings are often a myth!  Let's review.  Jonah disobeys God and travels in the opposite direction by ship.  He puts the entire crew in peril because of his disobedience.  The crew throws him overboard and he is sure to die.  God rescues him by sending Jonah a whale!  Jonah repents and listens to God.  The whale spits him out on land, safe and sound.  He travels to Nineveh and delivers God's message.  An entire nation repents and turns to God.  God changes His mind and saves the entire city of Nineveh.  Sounds like a great story and happy ending to me.  I was expecting to next read, "And they all lived happily ever after!"  Of course not!!!  Jonah is mad because no one has been punished.  Jonah looks at God, shakes his finger at Him, and justifies his disobedient behavior by saying, "I told you so!"  Then, Jonah tells God he would rather die than live in this merciful environment.  Really?  Jonah goes outside the city and sits down to wait on God.  While Jonah is sitting there, God provides him shelter from the sun.  All seems good again, but God causes a worm to eat the shade plant and it dies.  Jonah is once again angry.  God then teaches us all a lesson.  While Jonah is being indignant about his angry behavior, God tells him, and us, that we have no right to be angry.  After all, we had nothing to do with creating the plant!  We don't know if Jonah got over his anger.  God simply ends the book of Jonah by explaining why He was merciful and compassionate.  Let's hear God clearly.  Even when times are desperate, God's grace and mercy can save us if we only repent!   It is Not Up To Us!