7 : ‘but early the next morning the Lord sent a worm to chew on the vine, and the vine dried up.
8 : During the day the Lord sent a scorching wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, making him feel faint. Jonah was ready to die, and he shouted, ‘I wish I were dead!’
9 : But the Lord asked, ‘Jonah, do you have the right to be angry about the vine?’
a) we have noted that the various animals, and weather types, respond immediately to God’s ‘sending’ – here, the worm gets to work immediately, chewing up the vine, and the scorching wind does its best, straight away. This compared with Jonah’s resistance and reluctance to being ‘sent’
b) four times in this final chapter Jonah is described as ‘wanting to die’ – yet he was ‘rescued’ by God in chapter two, in the belly of the giant fish, and given new life / a new start on the shore where the fish had vomited him up – God gifts life, but Jonah’s disobedience and now bitterness / hard-heartedness at the new life offered to Ninevites, is literally destroying him
c) for a second time in this chapter, God asks if Jonah’s anger is justified – indeed the whole plant and worm episode is sent to make a big point. Jonah was happy / joyful / grateful yesterday for God’s provision of the plant (the only time we see Jonah happy in this story, although he appears to rejoice in his salvation as he prays in the belly of the fish in chapter two). Do we only thank and praise God when the unexpected, surprisingly good things happen? And are we then angry (for any right reason) when they don’t, or when they cease? Doesn’t that all seem selfish, self-serving, and self-interested? Where’s the bigger picture?
Take my life and let it be
consecrated Lord to Thee
take my moments and my days
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my voice and let me sing
always, only, for my King
take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee
Take my will, and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine
take my heart – it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.