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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jonah's Pity Party

Jonah held a pity party and invited only himself, but the Lord crashed the party.

Jonah had lost face. His prediction that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days had not come to pass. Furthermore, he was extremely upset that God had spared the city. He was so distraught he wanted to die. He even asked the Lord to end his life. When the Lord confronted Jonah about his negative attitude, Jonah went out of the city, built a shelter, and watched to see what would become of the city (Jonah 4:1–5). Obviously, he was hoping the Lord would cheer him up by destroying Nineveh.

But the Lord did not destroy Nineveh. Instead, He prepared a plant and made it grow rapidly to provide shade for Jonah, much to Jonah’s appreciation. After all, it was blazing hot. But the next day God prepared a worm that attacked the plant, causing it to wither. Suddenly, without shade, Jonah whined and wished again for death (v. 9).

That’s when the Lord brought a halt to the pity party. He rebuked Jonah for caring more about his personal comfort than the destiny of an entire city (vv. 9–11).

Like Jonah, a believer may be more interested his personal comfort than in the spiritual wellbeing of others. If he loses a few creature comforts, he may host a personal pity party. What might the Lord do to shake a self-centered believer out of self-pity and shift his focus from himself?

Are you and I hosting pity parties? If so, we can expect the Lord to crash them—for our good and His glory.

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