God provides ALL things - both the good and the bad.
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Jonah 4 (ESV)
1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly,
and he was angry.
2 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.
3 Therefore now, O Lord,
please take my life from me,
for it is better for me to die than to live.”
4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
5 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.
6 Now 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.
7 But when dawn came up the next day,
God appointed a worm
that attacked the plant,
so that it withered.
8 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.”
9 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?”
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Jonah 4 Summary
When God's Word came to Jonah the second time, the freshly vomited Jonah had learned his lesson about pushing against God's will. Jonah had been called to preach to Nineveh, the wickedest city in the world, so he preached... a total of six words.
Amazingly, God used the power of that preached word to bring a city of over 120,000 people (and don't forget the cattle in v11!) to repentance. And that really upset Jonah.
In protest, Jonah headed out of Nineveh to the east, which is often the direction people in Genesis would go to get away from God.
One of the key themes of Jonah is that God's will will always be done. All throughout this humorous story, Jonah wants to die. It was his idea to jump into a stormy sea, not God's. He preaches an inflammatory sermon, hoping to incite violence against himself. And now we find him huddled under the shade of a plant, asking God to take his life.
But that's not God's will. So once more, Jonah needs to learn that no matter how hard he pushes back, God will always win.
How different this story would have been had Jonah simply aligned himself with God's will!
We often think of God's providence in terms of the good things He gives to us, but Jonah helps remind us that all things are given by God.
Here's a quick review of what what God provided Jonah:
1:3 - a ship to flee on
1:4 - "The Lord hurled a great wind" upon Jonah
1:7 - The pagan lot fell upon Jonah
1:17 - God appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah
2:10 - God spoke to the fish and it vomited Jonah out
3:5 - God blessed Jonah's awful sermon
4:6 - God appointed a plant for shade
4:7 - God appointed a worm to eat the plant
4:8 - God appointed a scorching east wind to bake Jonah
Be reminded that everything that happens to you today, be it good or bad, as been appointed by God and will be used for your good, even if you don't know how.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father is a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting upon disaster.
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will recognize God's providence in all things and that unlike Jonah, you'll be fully aligned with God's will.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: