Having grown up in the Midwest, where we enjoy the beauty in each of the four seasons, I can honestly say that one has not really known the meaning of the word “summer” until one has spent an unrelenting, amplified version of one in Central Texas. It will bring you to your knees and change your relationship with the sun… forever. I have never appreciated air-conditioning more, nor frenetically scanned the horizon more earnestly for one lone branch of shade. If what I’m describing resonates at all, then you will relate well with Jonah today.
- What types of weather turn your thoughts toward the Creator?
READ THE WORD: JONAH 4:6-8 (ESV)
6 Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. 7 But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- Who appointed the plant and why? What was Jonah’s reaction?
- What are the events that happened in verses 7-8? Who was in charge of this? What was Jonah’s response?
- Do you ever feel like God is messing with you? What attitudes rise to the surface when you go from a really good day, to a really awful one in a mere 24 hours?
RESPOND TO GOD
Jonah had made up his mind that he wanted Nineveh to burn to the ground. He had more than likely nestled into a makeshift shelter just to have a front row seat when the destruction began. But God had a different plan. His manipulation of the sun and shade, leaf, and worm was not to yank the sulking prophet’s chain, but to give an object lesson on what was truly of value. Jonah was glad for shade, but God was glad for repentance.
- Pray for a heart that values what God values.
- Ask God for eyes to see the difference between our small, sometimes petty ideas and God’s grand designs.