Jonah 4:5-11 – Jonah went out of Nineveh 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. Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God sent 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.” But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” Jonah said, “and I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” But the LORD said, “You cared about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”
You and I may not struggle with a desire for God’s judgment against an entire people group, as Jonah did. However, the tale of Jonah’s plant ever potently confronts and convicts us, asking, “What really matters to you? What do you get passionate about? What are you genuinely invested in? How much do you care about the truly momentous matters hanging in the balance for masses of humanity, as compared to your own selfish concerns?”
That Jonah tells us this story, therein confessing his sinful heart and implicitly testifying to his repentance, should greatly encourage us in facing our own mis-ordered values and priorities. Christ loved us and died for us “while we were yet sinners” (John 15:13; Romans 5:8), and where we are powerless to change our own Jonah-hearts, He is committed and “able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him” (Hebrews 7:25)!
Just as the crowds brought their diseases, ailments and infirmities to Jesus for healing, so He welcomes us to come to Him with our selfishness, pride, defiance, lusts, idolatries, and all other corruptions of heart, for His transforming power. We need not despair, but can “with confidence draw near to His throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and grace to help with our need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Spend some time today asking Christ to show you your Jonah-heart, and to capture and fill you anew with the awesome beauty of His heart.