Monday, February 19, 2018

The Gourd and the Worm


[Drawing of Jonah sitting under the tree after preaching]

Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed
for Tarshish…
[Jonah] answered,
“I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the
God of heaven, who made the sea and the land.”
—Jonah 1:3, 9

Jonah was proud of his Hebrew heritage, and considered himself a prophet of the Most High God. Yet, somewhere he lost his way, and cared less about God ’s will than his own.

Yet God, in His faithfulness, not only to the Ninevites to whom He had called Jonah, but to Jonah himself, took extraordinary measures to discipline his servant Jonah. The Hebrews hated the Ninevites and would have rather seen them destroyed by God than saved. Jonah bought into this cultural opinion, and therefore, Jonah turned away from helping them in their return to God in repentance and headed in the opposite direction by ship.

Even after God called Jonah a second time and he reluctantly obeyed, he became very angry that the people of the wicked city of Nineveh turned and repented. So, he sat down outside of the city and pouted.

In kindness, God provided for Jonah a gourd with large foliage to protect him from the sun and scorching wind. This vine became the only thing in this story that made Jonah happy. Then, God did something that again made Jonah angry. God sent a worm to eat the gourd, causing the foliage shading Jonah to wither and die.

God went to extreme lengths to call His wayward servant back to Himself. What a readjustment Jonah needed! God used a storm, a fish, a gourd, and a worm to call Jonah back. If God would do this for Jonah, we can be assured He will not let us disobey and turn from what He has called us to do. God is faithful. He will keep us from going and straying away from Him.

The Scripture passage found in 2 Thessalonians 3:3 tells us:

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.

God expects of His servants today the same thing He expected of Jonah—complete obedience to His will. And, God will not let us think more of our own comforts than we think of His sovereign plan. Even if He has to provide a gourd and a worm to prove it!