Warning Sign – Hope 103.2

Warning Sign

Read Jonah 4:5-11 5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to […]

By David ReayTuesday 19 Feb 2019LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 2 minutes

Read Jonah 4:5-11

5 Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. 6 Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”


9 But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”


“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”


10 But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 11 And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?” (NIV)


Anger is a helpful warning sign, reminding us that something is not right. Much like a warning light in the car or an error message on a computer. However, anger itself does not tell us whether the problem is some external circumstance or whether the problem is within us.

Jonah was angry that God had spared Nineveh from judgement. Now he is angry that his shade protection has gone. It seems he is angry at Nineveh for repenting, at God for being merciful, and at the shade tree for dying. But the worm that ate the plant wasn’t the only worm at work.

The problem was within himself. He was a proud and arrogant Jew who wanted the enemies of his people to get punished. He wanted the thunderbolts of justice from God rather than the open arms of mercy. God seems to be prompting him to examine himself.

Which is a wise response to our own anger. What does my anger tell me about what is happening inside me? What is the true source of my anger? This sort of questioning saves us from simply blaming circumstances or others for our anger. And in this way, our potentially dangerous anger can be a source of enlightenment. Like any warning sign, if heeded, it can put a wrong thing right.

Blessings
David Reay