My Vine, My Vice
“You have been concerned about this vine…But Ninevah has…people who cannot tell their right hand from their left…” Jonah 4:10-11.
At first glance, it seems that God keeps hammering Jonah with lessons. We must remember that God is all about relationship first. Jonah eventually did what God had commanded him to do, but God wanted more. God wanted to mold Jonah’s heart and experience more intimacy with him.
How many times have we looked towards God and told Him that we have had enough lessons for now? The further we are into our flesh, the more distant we become from God’s Spirit. Jonah’s obsession (anger) with the vine dying became a barrier between his heart and the heart of God. Obviously, the death of the vine placed Jonah in a very uncomfortable set of circumstances. He enjoyed the vine and what it provided; his anger was a result of feeling entitled to have the vine and ease his comfort. I would certainly say that Jonah seemed to be narcissistic and overly dramatic regarding his comfort versus God’s will. (I am so angry I could die!)
On any given day we can also be Jonah, focusing on our own comfort instead of on the spiritual condition of those around us. We get so wrapped up in our self-made comforts that we sometimes miss the opportunities God places before us in helping others. At some point, we place our trust in the vine for comfort and joy instead of in the God who gave us the vine. It is tough to see God’s perspective on kingdom work when we are cozy and comfortable. It is when we live outside of the vine and walk towards God that we will begin experiencing genuine fellowship with Him. ‘Come near to God and he will come near to you’ James 4:8.
Until we recognize that all vines are created equal…temporary in life…given by God… not eternal…we will feel the sting and devastation of their absence. The closer we get to God the more complete our joy will be.