10 : ‘But the Lord said, ‘You are concerned about a vine that you did not plant or take care of, a vine that grew up in one night and died the next.
11 : In that city of Nineveh there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell right from wrong, and many cattle are also there. Don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city?’
a) God has used the vine and the worm to challenge Jonah’s emotions and his reasoning – if Jonah had got so worked up about the loss of the vine, which had appeared and disappeared within a day – how much more should concern be shown for a city of 120,00 wayward inhabitants?
b) I think God is also making the point that the vine was never Jonah’s – he didn’t even work to make it grow; he could stake no claim over it; and yet, he became very attached to it, and mourned its loss – or even let his anger and rage get the better of him again. How easily we lay claim to things which were never ours by right. We should live with a healthily loose attachment to things, and nurture the sense that all things are a gift to us from the Almighty Giver.
c) Finishing the book with those two questions, ‘do you have the right to be angry about the vine?’ and ‘don’t you think I should be concerned about that big city?’ is a clever literary device.
It gives us a glimpse into the heart of God, of His passions, His purposes, His mission to ALL the world.
And I think it raises a mirror up for the reader / listener.
How would you / I answer those questions?
What do you have to say on all this?
Give to me, Lord, the eyes of faith
the heart of compassion
the arms of love and welcoming embrace
the feet swift to take Your gospel good news to all the places You send.
Give to me, Lord, Your grace to forgive my many faults and failings
Your love to inspire me
Your passion for the lost, hurting and lonely
Your Spirit to guide me
from where I am now
to where You would have me be.
I love You, Lord, for I know You are watching over me.