6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
If you're not familiar with the story of Jonah I would recommend reading through it. It is a good story. To sum up what happens...
Jonah is a prophet whom God speaks to and sends him places to share His messages. God tells him to go to Nineveh. Jonah knows the people in Nineveh are bad and doesn't think they deserve a second chance so he flees from God. He gets on a boat going in another direction. While at sea a big storm hits. He realizes it is his fault there's a big storm there. He tells the men on the boat to throw him overboard. They do and the storm stops and then a big fish swallows Jonah. A few days later he is spit out and Jonah finally goes to Nineveh and shares God's message which the Ninevites receive.
now with all that said...
Many people hear the story of Jonah and don't understand how he could respond towards God's kindness for the Ninevites the way he did. He walked away pretty upset that they were not destroyed. He thought that they should get what they deserved. Most people would read that and wonder how on earth he could act like that.
I dare say that at times we might also act like that. In the passage above God confronted Jonah and mentioned how upset he got about the gourd dying and how he didn't care very much about the people of Nineveh dying... people whom God created and loved despite their sin.
I know I'd like to think that I would never act like that in any way... but unfortunately I cannot say that I haven't.
Some years ago I was at a minor league baseball game. I saw someone in a marylin manson shirt or something like that. I got to complaining about it to the guys next to me who were also from the church I attended at the time. I mentioned a kid I knew back in High School. This kid had a shirt with a band name on it, a band called deicide. The back of the shirt had the supposed definition of the band's name and it mentioned how dei meant God and cide of course meant to kill. I was not pleased with that shirt and a few years later, sitting at this ball game with people from church, I commented that I wished that kid could wear his shirt on the day of judgment when he met God face to face. One of the guys next to me was quick to tell me how that was a bad attitude to have. He said that he wished that kid would meet Jesus some day. I'll never forget that conversation. That guy was right. God created ALL of us and we have no right to decide how anyone should be judged.
You might not have a story anything like that, but I'll give some more possible examples of the message I'd like to share with this passage...
Ever see someone bad get what they deserve? Ever see someone bad get treated badly? Ever sit there and get excited that they're finally getting what they deserved? Or maybe you wanted to defend the person?
How about the gourds in your life? Gourds? Well, there's many things in our lives that are SO temporary and meaningless that we get very much involved in. I imagine some people out there might be more upset about losing their cell phone than they would losing their bible or something. That's just one comparison. I hope you can see what I am getting at though.
The point of it all is... There is much in this life that is quite valuable to God that we take for granted or pay little attention to. This very much applies to people but could easily apply to other things such as God's word and different topics in it, etc... Such things and/or people we might toss aside and not take seriously because we have our own opinions of them. We might think a certain topic in the bible isn't important or doesn't apply to us for whatever reason. We might think certain people don't deserve God's grace. There's so many things you could fill in here. But we really must remember how much God cares about ALL people and about us and the laws He has given us. And yet quite often we put a lot more of our focus on our own comfort and joy. We put ourselves above others more often than we ought to.
I hope that all made at least some sense. I do hope that if nothing more you can take from this message that the story of Jonah isn't just a message to us that we need to follow wherever God leads. There's much more in there that does apply to us. And even when we shake our heads and can't understand how a person in the bible could act the way they do, that perhaps we act like those people a bit more often than we might realize.
Dear Lord, thank you for today. Thank you for your word. Thank you for all the wonderful stories you've shared with us in your word. I thank you for the valuable lessons they teach and I pray with all my heart that we might take your word seriously. I pray that I would go out of my way to help those around me. I pray that I would care for the things you care for and put aside the silly vain things that might otherwise fill my life.
A new subject or passage each week for all to discuss.
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