|Jonah and the vine|
TO CHEW ON: "So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city." Jonah 4:5
Jonah had done his bit. Now he made sure he had a front row seat for what would happen next.
And what did happen? Nothing!
A guest speaker at our church recently made this thought-provoking statement: "Whenever your experience doesn't live up to expectation, God is trying to give you a revelation"- Robert Madu
What revelation of God might Jonah get through his disappointment? One thing was surely that God was not only a God of black-and-white judgment, but that He was "gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness. One who relents from doing harm" - Jonah 4:2.
But wait, there's more. Jonah was delighted by the swift-growing vine that sheltered him from the sun. But when it died just as suddenly and he was subjected to the wind and sun, he mourned the vine's loss and wished for death for himself.
God brought to his attention how out-of-whack his values were. He was mourning the destruction of a vine, while hoping to see the destruction of an entire city including innocent children and animals. His second revelation was how unlike God he was in his shallow self-centeredness.
Leslyn Musch says in her "Truth-In-Action Through Jonah" article:
"Jonah's faith in God was unwavering. He knew without a doubt who God was and that God would be true to His character. Transforming faith, however, is more than just knowledge about God. It changes us and molds us into the image of the One in whom we place our trust and it is expressed through our actions and our attitudes" - Leslyn Musch, "Truth-In-Action Through Jonah," New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 1200 (emphasis added).
In the area of transforming faith, Jonah didn't have it. But am I any better? Are you? Don't we too often sulk when God does things differently than we expect? We too show off our faulty priorities when we are more preoccupied with our own comfort than the destiny of the souls of those around us. Sad to say, I detect more than a little of Jonah in me.
PRAYER: Dear God, as I learn about You, through happy and disappointing times, help me to incorporate these insights into my life. I want to pass the transformed-attitudes-and-actions test that separates head faith with lived-out faith.
MORE: What kind of plant was Jonah's vine?
The Quest Study Bible suggests the plant that grew overnight may have been a Castor Oil Plant which can reach a height of over twelve feet. However, its quick growth was miraculous--an act of God.
Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.