Wednesday: Our Excuses: Uncomfortable Confrontations

Daily Lesson for Wednesday 1st of November 2023

“Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:1-11:2, NKJV). What a beautiful prayer on the part of Jonah. Or was it?

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Jonah had such a deep hatred for the people God sent him to that he felt it was better that he die than to lose face when the failure of his doomsday preaching against Nineveh was revealed. Jonah wanted Nineveh to be the next Sodom and Gomorrah. He was hoping for God’s judgment on these hated people. When it didn’t happen, his worldview was being shaken to the core, and Jonah would rather die than allow his world to be turned upside down.

For the second time in the story of Jonah, God confronts him, not with a sermon or a saying but with an experience. Worldviews are not formed on demand. Nor do they change because we hear something new or different. Worldviews are often formed and changed based on life experiences and how they are interpreted or explained.

The new experience God gave was to help Jonah recognize his own distorted worldview. God made a plant miraculously grow large enough in one day to offer sufficient shade to protect Jonah from the blazing sun. Jonah was grateful, not for God, who performed the miracle, but for the plant. Rather than seeing this as an unmerited miracle, he saw it as an appropriate and well-deserved blessing that followed his good works. When the plant died, it was a misfortune that caused Jonah to grow angry and insecure in his self-worth, and his thoughts grew suicidal.

The experience is followed by God’s voice of gentle correction, helping Jonah see how foolish it was for him to value a plant more than the many thousands of men, women, and children in Nineveh, as well as their animals.


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