Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. (Jonah 4:6)
Jonah ditches the city and parks himself on a hillside, hoping God will still destroy the city. His heart has now turned completely back to where he started, knowing that God is a God of mercy, yet not wanting God to turn His mercy toward Israel’s enemies. -Adapted from Pastor Bob Botsford’s Daily Devotional
God has put up with an awful lot from Jonah: blatant disobedience, disrespect, running away, and a pretty major ‘it’s-just-not-fair’ laden temper tantrum. Even after all of of Jonah’s rebellious behavior, God is still nurturing, loving, and looking after him.
While Jonah retreats to the hillside to wait to see what happens to Ninevah, God provides a leafy plant to keep him from getting sunburned and chilled at night. Despite His constant provision, Jonah does not thank God. Despite being “very happy about the plant”, Jonah does not give thanks to God or see the illumination of the lesson that God loves him, is merciful to him, and provides for him, in the very same way He does for the people of Ninevah.
Jonah misses the boat completely. He fails to see that his rebellion against God and anger toward God is ever bit the same as the Ninevites to whom God sent him as a prophet. But God has grace for the rebellious.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)