Summary: God give an object lesson in His mercy and nondiscrimination concerning salvation to all and exposes Jonah's lack of grace.
Jonah Chapter 4
If I am allowed to headline the four chapters one maybe humorous way would be like this:
Politically perverse prophet purposefully pursued by God
Prayerfully penitent prophet precisely protected by God
Powerfully preaching prophet pointedly pushed by God
Pitifully petulant prophet progressively penalized by God
THE PROPHET’S PERSONAL PROGRAM
Here in the final chapter we see the reason for Jonah's original action in the first chapter...why he ran away instead of obeying Yahweh!
Jonah knows and testifies here to Yahweh as a God who is gracious, merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness! He knows Yahweh as ONE who is quick to forgive. And paradoxically Jonah, Yahweh’s servant, is a bloodthirsty soul who wants to see Nineveh destroyed...well maybe he was not bloodthirsty, just patriotic to the marrow! Is there a difference? So maybe, just maybe, if he did not warn them their wickedness will result in their destruction.
Knowing Yahweh is a merciful and gracious God is also probably the reason for Jonah's original little escapade when he ran away from his duty. He counted on God's mercy, which makes it all the more ironic that he becomes angry when the Eternal God extends the same mercy to a vicious enemy.
Jonah wanted to be the hero, a celebrity in his people's eyes and he cared nothing for God's glory.
Now he must be thinking of how his “patriotic” brothers will look at him...as the one who allowed Nineveh to have a new lease of life when Israel's enemy could have been wiped off the face of the map!
How he must have wanted to boast to his countrymen that Nineveh fell because of him!
What would he have to say to them now that Nineveh was spared, and he was mostly responsible for that?
Jonah seems to be more concerned about his own standing in society and popularity among his countrymen than about the will of God, and the weightier matters of mercy and righteous judgment.
Jonah has more compassion for a plant he had no hand in preparing, but just because it gave him shelter from the sun! Creature comfort selfishness!
An angry man who is concerned more for a plant than for people! Our priorities need to be examined! What takes precedence? God or...?
There are so many today who are more concerned with trees and plants and trivialities while giving wholehearted consent to murdering of innocent young lives, perversion of God's laws, deception, lies and compromise. Trying to save the planet without first saving the man in like trying to heal the effects and ignoring the cause!
How often we are engrossed in and caught up with the trivial than with what really matters? How often we make the gnat our object of attention and miss the whole camel?
How often we major in the minor and ignore the major?
How often we follow our own minds rather than trying to find the mind of God on a matter?
How often we fight for a vague principle and miss out on what God really wants us to do?
Many still take up arms against social sores and political ploys that completely blind their minds to what God really wants them to see…the big picture.