worm provision

One of my favourite verses in the whole Bible is Jonah 4:7 which includes the immortal words “… God provided a worm…”

That is just awesome. It is the provision part of that phrase, coupled with the bizarre nature of what was provided that brings a smile to my face every time. And when you consider the context, it’s even better.

Picture by Sally Lear (originally on Overhead Projector Slide, hence the 'shine')
Picture by Sally Lear (originally on Overhead Projector Slide, hence the ‘shine’)

Jonah (he of fish-food fame) had finally obeyed God and told the people of Nineveh that God was mightily displeased with them and that they should expect the full ‘wrath of God’ experience in 40 days’ time. Having delivered his message had Jonah left the city and went a safe distance away to sit and watch the fireworks.

Jonah became considerably disgruntled when God saw the people of Nineveh respond in humility and seek his forgiveness, and God had forgiven them and cancelled the fire and brimstone from heaven. He ranted at God, “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”

Isn’t that incredible, he ranted at God for being compassionate and forgiving. They were not getting what they deserved, it was making him look foolish, it was not fair.

So God made a leafy plant grow up to provide Jonah with some shade while he sulked. Jonah was happy with that. It is at this moment that God provided a worm. The worm ate the roots of the plant and Jonah was seriously dischuffed once again, launching into another rant at God about the plant: “I’m so angry [about the plant] I wish I were dead.”

Then the gentle word of God offered his perspective: if Jonah was bothered about the plant, shouldn’t God be much more bothered about the people?

What’s your plant? What details are bothering you at the moment? If you are bothered about them, remember that God is bothered about people in the big picture too – about people in peril, people in poverty, people in powerless situations. What might he want you to do to help them?

Be blessed, be a blessing

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