Jonah’s heart was cold and embittered

Last updated on April 19, 2021


‘But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.”’ (Jonah 4:9)

Jonah had told God plainly that he was angry because Nineveh was not destroyed. Instead of starting a philosophical discussion, God made a plant grow that provided Jonah with shade. Jonah was exceedingly glad about this. But the next day God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. Jonah lost the benefit of this miraculous
plant, and he was faint and angry. “Angry enough to die”, as verse 9 declares.

God used this plant to reveal what was in Jonah’s heart. As soon as God did something good for Jonah (rescuing him
from drowning, saving him from the big fish, providing a plant for shade), he was glad. But as soon as his privileges were taken away, or when God blessed other people, he was exceedingly angry. Jonah’s heart was selfish and embittered. He lost his temper about trifles, but did not mind the destruction of “more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left”.

Jonah was a prophet; he knew a lot about God. He had preached and he had seen God at work. But his heart was cold. He did not know God’s love.

What is at the bottom of your heart?

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