Author: Dr. Yvonne Huggins-Mclean
HEAT, ANGER & OTHER LESSONS
Jonah 4:5 Then Jonah went out 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. And 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 which attacked the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, GOD appointed a sultry east wind, and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah so that he was faint; and he asked that he might die…But GOD said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant? And he said, “I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” [Revised Standard translation]
Summary, The 4th chapter of Jonah is worth reading again and again because of the valuable lessons in GOD’s WORD. At the beginning of chapter 4, Jonah is “very angry.” The reason for Jonah’s anger is because GOD is “gracious, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and full of kindness.” (Verse 2) More specifically, Jonah is angry about GOD’s compassion for the people of Nineveh because instead of destroying the city within 40 days, GOD is giving Nineveh and its inhabitants another chance.
Unable to see straight (because Jonah literally cannot “spiritually see” that the GRACE GOD is extending toward Nineveh is the same GRACE that GOD extended to Jonah when Jonah disobeyed GOD), Jonah sulks and angrily tells GOD, “Kill me.” Jonah would rather die than have GOD cancel the original plan to destroy Nineveh. GOD then asks Jonah (and one might envision “A HEAVENLY PARENT” extending, more and more and more and ever more patience toward this “petulant Jonah child”), “Is it right to be angry about this?” But instead of answering GOD, Jonah sets up a booth with a view of the city to “wait GOD out” and see what would become of the city, which suggests that Jonah still hoped GOD might still destroy Nineveh (much like a child might hold his breath and then wait to see if the parent will give the child what he wants).
But what GOD gives Jonah is a visual spiritual lesson.
GOD “prepared” “a gourd” (King James]; “a vine” [New International/Living Bible] “a plant” [Revised Standard]. 1 The plant grew fast and completely shaded Jonah. Jonah was both very comfortable and exceedingly glad. But the next day, GOD “prepared” “a worm” that ate through the stem of the plant, causing the plant to wither and die. Then GOD “prepared” a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah’s head. Under the heat, Jonah became faint and angrily tells GOD it was better if he (Jonah) died than live. When GOD asks Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?” Jonah answers, “Yes!” (Verse 9)
GOD then points out the following:
Jonah’s concern (i.e., the Living Bible states, “you feel sorry for yourself”) because Jonah lost “a creature comfort,” namely, his shady shelter. His concern is totally self-centered, for himself and not the plant.
Jonah was not the gardener. He did not plant the vine or plant, nor did he tend it, nurture it nor even have enough time to form any attachment to the plant. Jonah put in no work, and the plant was “short-lived.” [But, perhaps worse still, Jonah seems to have more concern for a simple vine or plant or his own creature comfort than for the souls of people---the inhabitant of the city of Nineveh.
GOD, unlike Jonah, is a “MASTER CREATOR/GARDENER” (See Genesis 2:8). In fact, Nineveh is an “old city” (not short-lived), one of the great cities created by Nimrod, a descendant of Cush, “a mighty hunter, blessed by GOD.” See Genesis 10:8-12. [Living Bible translation]. Unlike Jonah, GOD is concerned about the souls of people. And, as CREATOR, GOD has the right to be concerned about people everything who need and desire GOD’s GRACE and MERCY, including gentiles, like the people of Nineveh. (Verse 11)
One might ask, is Jonah a “tragic example” of religious disobedience and lack of concern for other nations or people? Is he an example of spiritual blindness when it comes to GOD’s GRACE toward us or our unwillingness to have GOD extend that GRACE toward others? Is Jonah an example of how in heated situations that affect our comfort level, we can be more concerned about ourselves or things than the souls of others?
One might also ask is Jonah a lesson about anger. We are told GOD is “slow to anger,” but Jonah seems quick to get very angry. For example:
Jonah is angry that GOD is compassionate toward the people of Nineveh.
Jonah is angry that the “fire and brimstone” message he preached would not happen.
Jonah’s anger meant that Jonah, the preacher, never intended or wanted to preach about GOD’s love. Jonah only wanted to deliver a message of death or exclusion.
Jonah’s anger and willingness “to die” when he “grew faint” when things were heated may also suggest how little Jonah values GOD’s gift of life to Jonah as well as GOD’s gift of life to the 120,000 people in Nineveh.
What lessons can we all learn about what kind of GOD we present to others as GOD’s ambassadors? What kind of lessons can we all learn about what makes us angry or how seriously we consider (or trivialize) life and death? What lessons can we learn from the Book of Jonah, Chapter 4, about what to say and what not to say in the heat of anger? And, given GOD’s infinite LOVE and GRACE, is it every right to be angry with GOD?
EATING IN A HEATWAVE
Heatwaves can often be difficult to manage. During heatwaves, some people experience poor sleep, lack of energy, poor appetite, sluggishness, or other heat-related problems. Sometimes people wonder what to eat.
What Foods to Eat?
Some foods are more hydrating than others. Some of the foods that nutritionist consider high in water include:
Other water-rich foods include oranges, apples, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, and Brussel Sprouts.
See for example: “Foods That Are A Good Source of Water,” https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/ss/slideshow-hydrate-food.
LESSONS TO BE LEARNED
Sometimes we can learn from the lessons of others. Sometimes lessons help us grow in the image and spiritual likeness of GOD. (Colossians 3:10)
Pray all of us developing children of GOD continue to learn.
Pray we be true ambassadors of GOD.
Pray, we learn to extend GOD’s love and mercy, as God has extended grace and mercy to us.
Pray we BE A BLESSING and BE BLESSED!