Have you ever felt like Jonah pouting under the withered gourd vine? Before you answer, let’s review his story.

The Lord called him to go to the city of Nineveh and “preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” Rather than obey, Jonah decided to run. He found a ship headed to Tarshish, paid the fare, and sailed away.

The trip didn’t go as planned. The Lord sent a great wind, and the mariners began throwing the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. Then they cast lots to find out who had caused this circumstance. The lot fell on Jonah, who’d already told them he was running from the Lord. He accepted responsibility and said if they’d cast him into the sea, it would become calm.

They kept rowing but couldn’t reach land, so they threw him overboard—and the raging sea became quiet. You’ve heard what happened next.

“But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”

In that wild place Jonah prayed to the Lord. The Lord heard him and spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out on dry land.

I don’t know about you, but I believe those events happened just as recorded in the book of Jonah.

The Lord again told him to go to Nineveh and preach. This time he went, declaring that in forty days the city would be overthrown.

The people believed his message from God and proclaimed a fast. The king urged the people to “call urgently on God” and turn from their evil ways. “Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

God saw their response and spared the city!

“But Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.” He was so angry that he prayed for God to take his life. Then he went outside the city, made a shelter, and sat in the shade watching to see what would happen.

I call that pouting.

God prepared a gourd to grow up over Jonah to shadow him, and in the morning he sent a worm that chewed the vine, causing it to wither. Then he sent scorching wind and blazing sun. Jonah grew faint and again wished to die.

A few thoughts for anyone pouting under a withered gourd vine. Click To Tweet

God said, “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?”

Jonah said, “I am angry enough to die.”

Can you believe it? I call that a major anger problem.

The Lord rebuked the prophet for having pity on the gourd and not on the thousands in Nineveh who listened to his preaching and repented.

When I was young, one of my school teachers often told our class, “Don’t frown. Your face might freeze.”

The book that bears his name freezes Jonah in that scene, under the withered gourd vine pouting.

I’ve been there. Haven’t you? Sitting under a cloud of despair, pouting because of what God did, questioning why he did it that way, complaining that he could have chosen a better method and outcome.

If you’re there now, stand up before you freeze in that position. Don’t let “pouting under the withered gourd vine” be the defining statement of your life.

Don’t let “pouting under the withered gourd vine” be the defining statement of your life. Click To Tweet

“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Accept that our Sovereign God doesn’t have to explain himself. He does as he pleases and he’s always working on our behalf. We don’t have to understand his purpose to believe he has a purpose.

I call that a reason to praise!

“I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving” (Psalm 69:30).

© Dianne Barker 2019

(Scriptures from NIV)

Would you tell me about your pouting-under-the-gourd-vine experience and how God brought you through it to praise his glorious name? And please share this with your friends!

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