Daily Devotions

God’s spares Jonah — and also the city of Nineveh!

Jonah 4:3-11

‘Jonah…prayed to the LORD, and said: “O LORD, take…my life from me! For it is better for me to die, than to live!”… Jonah went…and…made him a booth and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city [of Nineveh]…. So the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah — so that it might be a shadow over his head to deliver him from his grief…. But, God prepared a worm…, and it smote the gourd!… God prepared a vehement east wind! And the sun beat on the head of Jonah, so that he fainted and wished in himself to die…. But God said to Jonah…: “Do you well, to be angry because of the gourd?… Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city?!”‘ Jonah 4:1-11.

Calvin comments: “This prayer proceeded from a pious and holy zeal. But Jonah sinned, as to its measure or excess. For he had…forgotten himself, when he ‘preferred death to life’….

“He says: ‘Jehovah, take me away!’ He was…not free from blame, in hastily wishing to die. For it is not in our power, to quit this world…. Jonah…says, ‘Take away my life!’ This was one fault. But the other was that he wished to die, because God spared the Ninevites!…

“Let us then learn…to love this life!. Let us also learn…so…to live to the Lord and to proceed in the race set before us, until He Himself leads us to its end!….

“‘Jonah went…and…made him a booth’…. He thought that…the ruin of the city was at hand…. ‘So the Lord God prepared a gourd’…. It was a shrub…. It soon grew into…a great size…. Jonah…had the booth as an additional cover….

“But it is said afterward that ‘a worm was prepared’…by the hidden providence of God….. The gnawings even of worms are directed by the counsel of God…. ‘When the sun arose the day following, a wind was prepared’…. It was not usual…. God wrought then…beyond the usual course of nature….

“(‘The sun beat upon the head of Jonah…; he fainted, and wished…to die’ –) when the shrub withered…. He was so much grieved for the withered shrub, that through weariness of life he instantly desired death…. ‘He desired,’ it is said, ‘for his soul — that he might die!’ It is hence probable that Jonah was so overwhelmed with grief, that he did not lift up his heart to God. And yet, we see that he was not neglected by God. For it immediately follows — ‘And God said to Jonah: “Do you well, to be angry because of the gourd?…. Should I not spare Nineveh, that great city?!”‘…

“Here God explains the design He had, in suddenly raising up the gourd and then in causing it to perish or wither through the gnawing of a worm. It was to teach Jonah that his conduct towards the Ninevites, was very inhuman…. God preserves men, for the purpose for which He has designed them…. God does not create men in vain. Is it then no wonder, that He wishes them to be saved?!”

God’s spares Jonah — and also the city of Nineveh!