There is so much to write about in this little book of Jonah that I'm having a hard time picking out the one thing to apply. The story of Jonah is definitely one of my favorite old testament stories - probably because I remember it :) - because it is comical to me how a prophet of God can be so ungodly. Now, I'm not a prophet, but I can definitely relate to Jonah!
I have a love/hate relationship with Jonah. I love him because I can relate but I "hate" him because he is so foolish. In chapter 4, we see Jonah hopping mad because God let the city of Nineveh off the hook for their previous bad behavior. The word "angry" is used 4 times in 11 verses to describe Jonah's state of mind. First, he was mad about God's mercy (v 4:1). Then, he was mad because the plant providing him shade died (v 4:11).
God provided Jonah the plant, and also provided the worm that ate the plant. When the plant died (i.e. when Jonah didn't receive mercy any more from God from the heat), it was the final straw for Jonah. Let's listen in to what happened after the plant died in Jonah 4:8-10(NKJV).
And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah's head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, "It is better for me to die than to live."
Then God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?"
And he said, "It is right for me to be angry, even to death!"
But the LORD said, "You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left - and much livestock?
God sure told Jonah what he thought about his ungrateful, judging behavior. I only wish I knew what eventually happened to Jonah. I wonder what was behind his stubborn, angry, judgemental attitudes. He didn't listen to God and somehow I don't think he understood the meaning of "be ye angry, and sin not" from Ephesians 4:26. Rather, I believe he was too caught up in himself to hear anything God was saying.
To think about: What preconceived ideas am I hanging on to that I won't let God change because I'm too stubborn?
I Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.