By: Steve Negley

Posted: July 15, 2023

Category: Daily Devotional

Jonah 4

But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning, for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from punishment. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.

The Lord God appointed a bush and made it come up over Jonah, to give shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort, so Jonah was very happy about the bush. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the bush, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared a sultry east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint and asked that he might die. He said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the bush?” And he said, “Yes, angry enough to die.” 10 Then the Lord said, “You are concerned about the bush, for which you did not labor and which you did not grow; it came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should I not be concerned about Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who do not know their right hand from their left and also many animals?”

What would the story of Jonah be without the whale? Or the worm?

I marvel at God’s sense of humor in appointing a whale to swallow and then vomit out the reluctant messenger, Jonah. And I laugh to myself at the idea of a worm being appointed to attack the plant that was giving shade to this whiny, self-righteous believer who wanted to only tell the good news to people like him, whom he liked. God will not allow us to keep the good news of God’s steadfast love to ourselves. Don’t try to withhold the message of God’s love, or you might be confronted by an appointed worm, or worse.


God, let me revel in the fact that You are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. Let me share the good news of what you have done for me in Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen.