But God said to Jonah, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”
“I do,” he said. ”I am angry enough to die.”
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” NIV
I love the story of Jonah. God has a plan, and he uses Jonah to achieve it.
Jonah is an unwilling participant in the whole thing … downright rebellious.
I love that this story shows the dominion of our Holy Father. In the book of Jonah, He commands the weather, a big fish, a vine and a worm to do things that will achieve His purposes. The weather, the fish, the vine and the worm all do exactly what they are supposed to do, presumably without argument.
But Jonah first runs away from God, and then, after he does what God sends him to do, and is successful, he pitches two horrendous fits, one at God for saving the Ninevites and then one over a vine.
Then, instead of completely giving up on Jonah, God takes the time to reason with him … “do you have a right to be angry?” God asks.
And Jonah says he does! Yet, Jonah knows that God made the earth and everything in it. Back in chapter one, verse nine, Jonah tells the sailors, “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
Jonah knows that the God of creation has all things on this earth under His dominion. Jonah knows that only God can save him, as we see when he cries out from the belly of the whale in chapter two. Jonah knows that God is good. He prays, “I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshis! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!” Jonah 4:2 The Message
And yet, knowing God as he does, intimately enough to argue his point to his Holy Father, Jonah still gets distracted and worried over a vine. He gets the big picture … he understands God’s plan, but, he is not on board. Still, God made Jonah key to achieving His plan.
I will think about all of that today.