There is a natural human tendency to look for comfort, to be selfish, to think of what I want. That is the story we see in the life and ministry of Jonah. It would appear that Jonah felt like he had begrudgingly done what God wanted him to do. After doing so Jonah wanted God to do what Jonah wanted, which was to go ahead and destroy Nineveh.
Jonah is angry because he knew that God was so good and kind that He would probably forgive Nineveh if they repented. He clearly tells God that this is the very reason he didn’t want to preach the message in Nineveh. He didn’t trust God to really destroy Nineveh. He was convinced that God would show His usual character and forgive Nineveh. That is what Jonah says to God in Jonah 4:2
And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
So Jonah is angry and reminding God that he was right all along. He had fled to avoid preaching a message that he knew God wouldn’t honor. It was all about Jonah. Jonah hated the people of Nineveh. Seeing them destroyed by God would have pleased Jonah. Seeing them forgiven made Jonah very angry. That is what brings us to this section of Scripture.
God is going to show Jonah that Jonah really only thinks about Jonah and what Jonah wants. I know I used the word Jonah too much in these sentences but Jonah is thinking Jonah too much and that is one of the main points to be seen here.
God wants Jonah to see how much he only thinks of himself. So God makes a gourd grow up and give Jonah relief from the sun. Then God destroys the gourd. Jonah gets angry and says that he has every right to be angry. God should be concerned for Jonah and what Jonah wants.
Jonah 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. 7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. 8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. 9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. 10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
That brings us to the question of our lives. How much are we seeking our comfort and what we want over what God wants? When was the last time we said forget me and what I want, please show me what you want. Are we more concerned about the gourd that shades us or the lost souls around the world.
We will always tend to seek comfort. Once we get where we can breathe in live we want to enjoy breathing. We live to get to the good life. The question is are we living God focused or comfort focused?