Daily Devotional Friday 22nd April 2022

by William Moody

Jonah 4

Jonah’s Anger and the Lord’s Compassion

4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,1 and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the LORD God appointed a plant2 and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.3 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.” 10 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. 11 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?”

Footnotes

[1] 4:1 Hebrew it was exceedingly evil to Jonah
[2] 4:6 Hebrew qiqayon, probably the castor oil plant; also verses 7, 9, 10
[3] 4:6 Or his evil

(ESV)

If the story of Jonah ended at the end of chapter 3, it would have been a great story of triumph for Jonah, but sadly chapter 4 gives us a different ending. Here we begin to see the real reason for Jonah’s reluctance to preach in Nineveh. He was controlled by an intense bigotry and hatred of the Ninevites (v1-2). So strong is his hatred that now that the Ninevites have received mercy he feels that life is not worth living (v3).

The question each of us are confronted with here is ‘Do we have a sincere desire to see all people reached with the Gospel and be saved?’ Are there people we have little concern for spiritually due to prejudice? Maybe they are people who rub us up the wrong way. Maybe people who have wronged us in the past. Maybe it is because of the family they have come from. Maybe it is because they ‘kick with the other foot’.

We need to check if behind our reluctance to do certain things there are prejudices against people. There is no room for prejudice in the Christian as it wasn’t to be found in Jesus’ life. Pray for the love of Christ to flow through you so that you reach out to all others.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®),
copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.