Focus verses: Jonah 3:10-4:11
Virtually all of us are familiar with the story of Jonah and the great fish or whale. But we seem to overlook the lesson of these verses.
Jonah was waiting to see what will happen to the city of Nineveh after his preaching the destruction of the Lord. But the king and inhabitants of the city had taken Jonah at his word and repented. They fasted and prayed in sackcloth and ashes. The Lord saw their hearts and had compassion on them. He withheld His destructive hand.
And Jonah was angry. I’ve never understood this part. The man was sent on a mission. The mission was successful, and the man sat on a hillside and pouted because his mission had accomplished exactly what God intended it should accomplish.
Then the vine grew and provided shade for Jonah, but the next day it was gone because of a worm that ate at it. Jonah was angry that the vine had been destroyed.
Lets see. He was angry that the city of Nineveh had been spared and angry that the vine was destroyed. God rebuked him for his misordered priorities. The vine was a thing which Jonah enjoyed, but had no part in. He didn’t plant it or cultivate it. And he couldn’t protect it from the destroying worm.
The city of Nineveh, however, wass a city filled with people – more than one hundred and twenty thousand people – whom he saved from destruction with his preaching. God was concerned with the people. The vine was of little consequence.
Jonah was out of line because his priorities were not the same as God’s priorities.
Where are our priorities? Do they line up with God’s priorities?
Grant us the ability to see this hurting world with Your eyes of compassion. Keep us in line with Your priorities, concerned about the lost and eager to share the good news.