Summary: Jonah was concerned for God's plan and God's plant when he should have been concerned for God's people.
SHOULD I NOT BE CONCERNED?
Years ago, there was found in an African mine the most magnificent diamond in the world's history. It was presented to the king of England to blaze in his crown. The king sent it to Amsterdam to be cut. It was put into the hands of an expert gem cutter. And do you know what he did with it? He took the priceless jewel, and cut a notch in it. Then he struck a hard blow with his instrument and the diamond lay in his hand broken in two. Did he do this out of recklessness, wastefulness, and criminal carelessness? Indeed not! For days and weeks that blow had been studied and planned. Drawings and models had been made of the gem. Its quality, its defects, its lines of separation had all been studied with minutest care. The man to whom it was committed was one of the most skillful gem cutters in the world. Was that blow a mistake? No! It was the climax of his skill. When he struck that blow, he did the one thing which would bring that gem to its most perfect shape, radiance, and jeweled splendor. That blow which seemed to ruin the superb precious stone was, in fact, its perfect redemption. From those two halves were wrought two magnificent gems which the skilled eye of the craftsman saw hidden in the rough, uncut stone as it came from the mine.
Sometimes, God lets a stinging blow fall upon your life. The blood spurts; the nerves wince. The soul cries out in agony. The blow seems to you an appalling mistake. But it is not, for you are the most priceless jewel in the world to God. And He is the most skilled craftsman in the universe. Let us beware of questioning the methods and approaches of almighty God. We lie in His hands, and He knows just how to deal with us.
Jonah 4:1 But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry. 2 He prayed to the LORD, "O LORD, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, O LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live." 4 But the LORD replied, "Have you any right to be angry?" 5 Jonah went out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the LORD God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah's head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live." 9 But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." 10 But the LORD said, "You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
1. Concern for God’s Plan (vs. 1-5)
Jonah was angry with God for sparing the lives of the Asyrians. God’s grace and the fact that He might spare them was part of the reason that he had run away in the first place. Jonah saw what they as a nation had done, and knew what they were going to do. He wanted them to be judged and suffer. God had a different plan.
There will be things that happen to you in life that are out of your control – things that will bring you pain. At times like that it is easy to cry out to God and blame Him for the pain you are going through. Have you ever questioned God’s plans for your life.
The will of God will never lead to where the grace of God cannot keep you.
Jonah's sulking disappointment came from a failure of imagination, a failure of heart. He had no idea what God was doing -- the largeness of his love and mercy and salvation. He had reduced his vocation to his own performance -- he was in the right place, doing the right thing -- but he interpreted everything through his Jonah ideas, his Jonah desires. -- Eugene Peterson