“Then the Lord God provided a vine and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the vine.” — Jonah 4:6 (NIV84)
Sometimes I just don’t get the way God thinks, and I am thankful for it. I am thankful that He doesn’t shift and change his moods and attitudes (like I do). I have to tell you, if I were God in this situation it wouldn’t be a vine to cool Jonah’s head that I would provide. After all of his stubbornness and disobedience my thoughts would lean toward lightning bolts and deadly snakes. But what do we see? God being who He is. He continued to lovingly and faithfully reach out to Jonah to teach him where he was off in his understanding of God’s heart of grace. One more time, God tried to crack Jonah’s hardened heart.
This reminds me of God’s dealing with the Israelites in the desert. Immediately after the golden calf incident, Moses went up to speak with God, and in Exodus 34 Moses asked to see God’s glory. God told Moses that He would pass by Him so Moses could see the trail (backside of His glory). While God passed by Moses He did an amazing thing. He declared His name. Read it: “Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, ‘The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation’” (Exodus 34:5–7, NIV84). This is the God that Jonah should have known. He is a God of compassion and grace. He is a God who abounds in love and faithfulness. And so once again, He lovingly supplied his disgruntled prophet a vine to keep him cool while he sat and pouted.
Now, tell me that each of us can’t look at our lives and see the many times God has done the same for us. He remains faithful to himself and His word even when we are unfaithful. Isn’t it true that even in states of anger, doubt, and disobedience, God faithfully remains our heavenly Father and works through what we are experiencing to reach our hearts? We have to admit that He continues to graciously provide for us through those dark times. He never abandons us — even when we abandon Him.
Tomorrow we will look at the next verse and see how Jonah deals with God’s next move. But for today, let’s be thankful that we have a God who never changes. He never stops loving and pursuing us. His mood doesn’t shift and change like ours does. Second, unlike Jonah let’s be discerning enough to know that while God is faithfully providing for us, He is also trying to teach our hearts. Is there anything going on in your life that God is trying to get you to see? If so, grab hold of it and deal with it. God will lovingly see you through whatever steps you have to go through to draw closer to His heart.