Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 9th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
Take your personal ministry to the Next Level by helping StudyLight build churches and supporting pastors in Uganda.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Jonah 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-11

Chapter 4

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the LORD, and he said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this what I said to you, when I was still in my own country? And this is why I fled to go to Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, and you're slow to anger, and of great kindness, and you do not want to bestow evil ( Obadiah 1:1-2 ).

"God, I knew it. Oh, I'm so mad. Just what I was afraid was going to happen happened. Isn't this why I tried not to come here?" Oh, what a character this Jonah was. Angry at God because of the tremendous success of his revival meeting in Nineveh. "Okay, God, I've had it."

take my life from me ( Jonah 4:3 );

I don't want to go on living.

for it is better for me to die than to live ( Jonah 4:3 ).

Boy, he was really angry. "All right, God, I've had it. I knew this might happen. It was what I was afraid of, Lord. It was what I told You about when I was in my own country. That's why I fled to go to Tarshish. I knew that You're so gracious, You're so merciful, You're so slow to anger, You're such a softy. I knew, God, that this might happen. Kill me, Lord, kill me. I don't want to live. Better for me to die than to live. Had it."

And the Lord dealing with this over-wrought prophet said,

[Jonah,] do you do well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and he made a booth [little thatched lean to, shelter], and he sat under it in the shadow of it, till he might see what might become of the city ( Jonah 4:4-5 ).

Maybe God will wipe them out yet. I'll go out and just sit and wait and watch.

And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and he made it to come up over Jonah, that it might give shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was very thankful for the gourd [because he was able to have some shade from that burning sun]. But then the LORD prepared a worm ( Jonah 4:6-7 )

Now the Lord prepared a great fish. He prepared a gourd. He prepared a worm, or appointed a gourd, appointed a worm.

and the next morning, the worm had eaten the gourd and it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind ( Jonah 4:7-8 );

God prepared the storm. He has charge of the elements. I mean, God's in control of the whole scene.

and the sun beat on the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished to die, and said, I would be better off dead than alive. And God said to Jonah, Do you do well to be angry because of that gourd that was destroyed by that little worm? And he said, [You bet your life] I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the LORD, [Isn't that interesting, Jonah,] you have pity on that gourd, for the which you did not labor, you did not make it grow; it came up in a night, and perished in a night ( Obadiah 1:8-10 ):

Something that was so short-lived; came up in a night, perished in a night. You didn't do anything to plant it. You didn't do anything to water it or to develop it. You had really nothing to do with it. It's just a gourd. It's just a vine, and yet, when it died because the worm ate it you felt sorry for the thing because the worm killed it. How strange, Job. For you see, I created the Ninevites. I had something to do with their existence. It isn't just an overnight process; there are eternal souls. It's not just a plant. They are people.

And shouldn't I not spare Nineveh, the great city ( Jonah 4:11 ),

And why is God sparing it? Because of his compassion upon the children,

in which there are sixty thousand little children not old enough to know their right hand from their left hand ( Jonah 4:11 );

And interestingly enough, God also spared it because of the animals, because of the cattle.

So the book of Jonah ends with an insight into God who is gracious, who is merciful, who is slow to anger, who does not want to bring judgment upon evil people, who has great compassion and interest in children and in the animal kingdom that He has created. Fascinating story. So many lessons to be learned, the chief of them, "They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy."

Don't try to run from God. Don't try to hide from God. Surely God knows what is best for you. And for you to do anything other than what God wants you to do is only to create a misery and a hell for yourself. You are inviting and courting disaster. God knows what is best. Therefore, submit your ways unto the Lord and follow Him.

Father, we thank You for the book of Jonah and the lessons that it teaches us, lessons concerning Your nature. Lord, we're so thankful that You are a gracious, loving God; full of mercy, slow to anger. We thank You, Lord, for that grace that we have experienced through Jesus Christ, the mercy and the pardon and the cleansing of our sins, the escaping of the judgment, because Jesus bore that judgment for us. Oh God, how thankful we are that You have redeemed us and that You now claim us as Your children. Help us, Lord, that we might walk in obedience to Your will in all things. In Jesus' name. Amen.

May the Lord be with you, may the Lord bless you, may the Lord keep you through the power of His love through Jesus Christ. And may you this week be obedient unto the voice of God as He calls to your heart for that work that He would have you to accomplish for His glory. In Jesus' name. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jonah 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jonah-4.html. 2014.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile