Grace and Wrath Podcast
Ep. 145: Jonah and the Vine
Once again, God said to Jonah, “Leave right now and go to Nineveh. You’re to tell them I’m going to judge them because of their wickedness.” This time, Jonah immediately got up and went to Nineveh.
The city of Nineveh was extremely large. It took three days to walk from one side to the other. So Jonah started his walk across the city. He shouted, “God is going to destroy this city in 40 days!”
The people of the city heard him preach and believed what he said was true. They passed a law that said everyone was to fast – no exceptions. Everyone was to go without food, and they were to wear burlap sacks. They prayed and asked God to be merciful to them.
The king stepped down from his throne and laid aside his royal robes. He put on burlap sacks and sat on a pile of ashes. He sent out another law that said, “No one is to taste any food or water. That includes animals as well. Everyone is to wear burlap sacks, and stop any evil they are doing. Maybe God will change his mind and allow us to live.”
The Lord saw all they were doing. He knew they turned away from their wickedness, so he stopped the judgment that was about to kill them and destroy their city.
Jonah was furious when he heard about this. He said, “I told you this would happen! I knew you were a merciful God. I knew you were quick to forgive. That’s exactly why I didn’t want to come here. That’s why I ran away. Kill me right now. I don’t want to live.”
The Lord said, “Do you think it’s right to be so angry about this?”
Jonah didn’t answer, but went to the east side of the city. He made a small shelter so he could sit and see exactly what God was going to do with the city.
While he was sitting there, God caused a vine to grow up next to him. The vine had large leaves, which provided shade from the hot sun. Jonah was pleased with the plant, and enjoyed the shade it provided.
The next morning, God caused a worm to attack the vine and kill it. As the sun got hot, the plant withered. Then God caused a hot east wind to blow on Jonah. As the day went by, the sun and the wind got hotter and hotter, and there was no vine to protect him. Jonah cried, “I don’t want to live anymore. I want to die!”
God said to him, “Is it right to be angry about the vine?”
“Yes, it’s right for me to be angry. I’m so mad I want to die.”
The Lord said, “You’re angry about a simple vine. You didn’t plant it. You didn’t water it. It came up one day and died the next.”
“Shouldn’t I also care for the people of this city? If for no other reason, there are over 120,000 children living here, not to mention all the animals.