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Jonah 4:9 – But God said to Jonah, "Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?" "I do," he said. "I am angry enough to die." (NIV)
When I was a boy, I was very moody at times and would go into a huff at the drop of a hat. Usually, it happened on the soccer fields close to my home. Whenever the opposing team, which was frequently skippered by my younger brother, began to beat my soccer team, I would pick up the ball and shout, "Game over! It's my ball, and I'm going home."
The prophet Jonah was a moody person, too. He didn't want to go to Nineveh to preach in the first place. He wanted his enemies to be punished by God. Jonah sat outside the city, waiting for God to do what he wanted, but when God destroyed the plant where Jonah enjoyed some shade, he exploded.
"I'm angry about this," Jonah huffed. "Angry enough to die." In other words, he was saying to God, "If you don't do what I want, I'm going to sit here and sulk until it kills me."
God, however, was not buying any of it. The plant was just a plant, but in Nineveh, there were more than 120,000 people who couldn't tell their right hand from their left, which is Old Testament code for pre-kindergarten kids. Jonah was more concerned about a plant than he was about all those children.
Today, we may get ourselves involved in situations that we don't like. We may try to enforce our way upon others, or even withdraw our support to show our contempt. Let's try not to fall into those kinds of self-destructive patterns or self-afflicted traps. We only end up hurting ourselves. We only end up isolated and alone.
Prayer: Lord God, when You taught Jonah that lesson all of those years ago, You were also speaking to us today. Guard us against the heinous sin of self-importance, and help us to look for mutual peace, unity, and support in all of our relationships, and in all the situations we experience today. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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