Jonah’s Gourd & God’s Love

Recently, a thought struck me regarding God’s response to Jonah about the gourd or leafy plant that He made for him, when the latter was sitting and angrily waiting for God’s judgment to befall the city of Nineveh. Jonah had been enjoying the covering and comfort of this gourd, while waiting to see his prophecy come to pass upon the city’s inhabitants. Shortly afterwards, God caused a worm to ravish the gourd at a critical point in the day when the sun was at its harshest. The sun unrelentingly beat upon and scorched Jonah’s head that he was in such agony that he wished for death. And then, God made a response to him, that intrigued me, and in this response, He made an analogy between what the gourd was to Jonah and what the Ninevites were to Him, the Almighty God. I’d share my thoughts on that in a moment but I thought I’d love to hear your own thoughts on that analogy. How is the gourd symbolic of God’s relationship to His children?

As Jonah delighted in the gourd and found comfort in its succor, God is greatly pleased and comforted when He looks at His children. Even when you are not aware of God’s gaze on you, He fixes His eye on you continually in a loving, tender gaze, watching you as you prepare to go to work, as you face temptations and conquer, as you burst out laughing, eat your favorite meal, or rush out the door to catch the bus to work, or drive your car to work. In short, He delights in His children. You know how a new mother fusses over her baby, peering lovingly, sometimes, anxiously into her baby’s face? Yet, this mother’s GREAT love for her child pales beside God’s LOVE for His children! There is something POWERFUL in thinking about God’s infinite, loving gaze upon you. His gaze encompasses all eternity! In light of this, what He says in Isaiah 49:15 & 16 makes profound and complete sense: “Can a mother forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.”

Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Even much more than Jonah’s love for the gourd was God’s love for the people of Nineveh and by extension for His children today.

10 “Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:

11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

Olanike Lawore

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