Jonah was an illustration to the people of the Wrath of God and of the Grace of God (Matt. 16:1-4, Luke 11:30). Not desiring the repentance of Nineveh, Jonah at first refused to go. He knew that God is a gracious God and would repent of evil (Jonah 4:2) upon Nineveh turning from their wicked ways.
“8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from His fierce anger, that we perish not?
10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not.” Jonah 3:8-10
God saw their “works” and did not do unto them that which He had said that He would do. To be sure, what did their “works” consist of? REPENTANCE!
“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” James 2:26
Dead faith produces dead works for it does not produce a repentant heart. Faith in the Cross of Christ Jesus is alive and produces a repentant heart…a humble heart; a heart that melts as wax upon the hearing of the Word of God.
Not wanting to go to Nineveh in the first place; knowing that they would indeed repent upon the proper hearing of the Word of the Lord, Jonah feared his fellow countrymen. He feared their reaction towards the turn of events concerning Nineveh and beseeched the Lord to take his life from him.
“3 Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech You, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
4 Then said the Lord, Do you well to be angry?“Jonah 4:3-4
Irrespective of Jonah’s attitude, the Lord was long-suffering with the Prophet as He beseeched him to consider whether or not his anger was reasonable.
Jonah, not wanting to go to Nineveh, prepared a fish to entomb him for 3 days and deliver him unto Nineveh (Jonah 1:17).
Jonah, not wanting to see Nineveh spared, went to pout even when he could be down there rejoicing with his Brethren, and the Lord, in His Mercy, prepared a gourd that it might be a shade unto him and deliver him from his grief (Jonah 4:6).
The Lord, in His Mercy, showing Jonah that He is the One Who gives and He is the One Who takes away, prepares a worm to smite the gourd and once again, the Prophet wished himself to die (Jonah 4:7).
Jonah, just like many of us today, are too often led by our religious emotions and not by the Holy Spirit. We are easily swayed by the affect of material comforts but not at all affected by what the Lord is trying to do through our circumstances for others. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, just ask Job…but NO MATTER the case, He is ALWAYS working all things together for good to us who love Him and are called according to His Purpose.
“27 And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His Purpose.” Romans 8:27-28
It is God’s Will that all be Saved. While Jonah pouted God was positioning…positioning fish, gourds and worms to constantly guide Jonah; keeping him in His Will and His Way. If that gourd withers, seek the Lord for the lesson.
Faith in the Cross of Christ Jesus, produces a repentant heart. As we run through the camp, lifting up Jesus Christ and Him crucified as we are told to do, do not be upset when faith comes and work follows…a good work; the work of repentance in the heart of man as the Holy Spirit superintends the work of God in the heart of hearers. In the heart of those who choose to believe there will be a change. Joy will come in the morning and the burden of sin is lifted. Don’t pout. Rejoice with them.
-Donna Clark Warren