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. 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. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 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.”
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.”
Jonah sits outside of the city to take it all in, watching and waiting to see what will happen to the city of Nineveh. This verse gives me hope that Jonah is searching for joy; however, I quickly realize that he has deliberately positioned himself away from the celebration. Jonah continues to be angry. God continues to provide for Jonah, creating a leafy plant to shade his head making Jonah more comfortable.
Jonah is very happy about the plant, yet he finds more joy in the plant than he does for the lives that were saved. God shed light (literally) on Jonah’s lack of empathy for the people of Nineveh by taking away the plant, stirring up a scorching east wind and positioning the blazing sun upon Jonah’s head.
Jonah claims he would be better off dead. God questions Jonah about his anger, providing an opportunity for Jonah to talk with God about his feelings, but Jonah dismisses God insisting he does have the right to be angry.
We all struggle with anger. God has much to say about anger in His Word. When I am feeling “justifiably” angry over something, I turn to God and His Word. The one Scripture that stands out to me is “For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:20 NASB
Dear God, Thank You for the opportunities that You provide for us to come to You with anything. We appreciate Your understanding and are grateful for Your instruction. We learn so much through Bible stories like Jonah. Thank You for reminding us through Your Word of all that is good and pleasing to You. Help us to live the righteous life that You so desire. In Jesus Name, Amen