Wednesday 06 October 2010

Bible Book:

"God said to Jonah ... "You are concerned about the bush ... And should I not be concerned about Nineveh?'" (v.9-11)

Jonah 4 Wednesday 6 October 2010


To understand today's reading, you need to look at the story sofar, especially Jonah1 and 3. What was displeasing to Jonah was that the arch enemy- the people of Assyria - had now been accepted by God! It was thatpossibility that led Jonah to run away in the first place.

There is honesty in Jonah's prayer - just as there is in his prayerin chapter 2. God's "steadfast love" is something which Jonahrecognised, even if he was not happy with it. It is acharacteristic of God which permeates the Old Testament, not leastin the Psalms (for example Psalm107:1).

To use a non-biblical word, we might say that Jonah was grumpy!Once again he offered to die, but this time for his own sake,unlike the time on the boat when he offered his life for the sakeof his fellow mariners (Jonah1:12).

He set up camp to watch what was going to happen to Nineveh. Thebooth which he made for himself is a reminder of the booths inwhich God's people lived in the desert and during particularfestivals (Leviticus 23:42-43).

Despite all this, God's steadfast love still extends to Jonah. Godprotected Jonah by providing a large fish (Jonah1:17), and then provided a bush which grew up and providedshade from the sun. The result was a happy Jonah! But God's powerover all things was shown by the appointing of a worm to kill thebush. Jonah's resumed anger seemed to be on behalf of the bush aswell as himself.

However, God had used the rise and fall of the bush as a parable -a story with a meaning. If the bush was important to Jonah, then itshouldn't be surprising that Nineveh was important to God.

What became of Jonah we do not know, but God's steadfast love isamply demonstrated in the care for Nineveh as well as forJonah.

To Ponder

How do you feel about God's behaviour towardsJonah?

Can you think of people today who might beperceived like the inhabitants of Nineveh? What do you think shouldhappen to them?

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