God says to Jonah:
Then the LORD said, "You had compassion on the plant for which you did not work and which you did not cause to grow, which came up overnight and perished overnight. "Should I not have compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand, as well as many animals?
Jonah 4, 10f.
God taught Jonah a hard lesson: The castor-oil plant dies. And this is how it happened:
Nineveh, that great city, had conquered many other peoples and cities and ruled cruelly. A human life did not matter much. Therefore, God sent the prophet Jonah to Nineveh. He should tell them: Yet forty days, then God will destroy this city! But the people repented. Even the king was walking around in sackcloth and ashes. Perhaps God will change his mind? On the fortieth day Jonah went out of the city and wanted to see how God would destroy Nineveh. He looked forward to this spectacle, because everybody hated Nineveh for their crimes. But the sun beat down on Jonah and he suffered a lot in the heat. God caused a plant to grow, so Jonah had shadow and wanted to ease his anger. But Jonah was bossy. The next morning, God sent first worm which stung the plant so that it withered, and then a hot east wind, so that Jonah almost fainted in the heat. Jonah preferred to die, rather than serve this unjust God. God asked him: You feel sorry for the plant because it gave you shade. And I should not feel sorry for the great city with the many people and animals?
God sometimes used harsh lessons, so that we understand his point of view. We mourn a small loss, so that we can sympathize with how much God mourns people, cities and entire countries. He takes a little from us, so that we can understand the concept of "loss" and sympathize with him; – for all the earth and humanity have been lost to him. If we are sick, we ask for healing and a mercy; if others starve, we are not particularly affected; – but God is. He wants to awaken our compassion and great helpfulness. Why are we born in a fairly rich country? Why should it go well?
God wants to change our thinking. Away from self-centredness towards the other. Just as God is merciful, we should be too. There are ways how we can help others, it’s not all political factors and therefore beyond my possibilities. Do not be like Jonah! Think of God’s mercy and act on it!
Thank you, Father, you care well for me. You’re good and have mercy on me. And I want to be like that with others. Help me to find ways to share my wealth! I want to not only think of myself, but as you think. How fortunate that you are merciful!
Bible Reading Today: Psalm 103: 1 – 12
God says to Jonah: