So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:5-8 (NKJV)
I am not going to spend much time on talking of the patriotism of the prophet Jonah. He loved Israel, Jerusalem, and God’s people, and despised all the enemies of God’s people. The prophet had much to learn about God; as we all do.
Compassion is the heart of God. We are told by John the apostle “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Where is the prophet’s compassion and love?
In these four chapters God prepares four things to teach Jonah compassion.
- God prepared a great fish (1:17);
- God prepared a plant (castor oil plant);
- God prepared a worm;
- God prepared a vehement east wind.
God had compassion on the people of Nineveh, and on the prophet. The prophet had compassion for a plant, and lack of it for Nineveh.
Is it better to be patriotic, or compassionate? When patriotism is greater than our compassion there is something mighty wrong.
Father forgive me. Forgive us.