The Mighty One, God the LORD,
speaks and summons the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
~ Psalm 50:1
Most people remember Jonah as the one who was swallowed by a whale and then burped up like a bad yam. But there is a fascinating scene at the end of the story where Jonah finds a nice spot to rest for a while under the shade of a tree, protected from the hot sun. Overnight, God decides to send a worm to bore into its trunk and cause it to wither by morning.
This left Jonah in the sweltering heat, cooking his temperament to the boiling point. I CAN RELATE. In the lower right hand corner of my computer screen I have the current forecast: “Tue: 98° F”, followed by the ominous red thermometer icon. Sorry for being such a wuss, but I hate this weather! Typically, have glowing reviews of nature’s ability to point us to the glory and character of God, but I have to say that I struggle with that when we are knocking on the 100-degree mark.
However, God’s words to Jonah bring me back to center:
The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he started to faint. He prayed to die: “I’m better off dead!”
Then God said to Jonah, “What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?”
Jonah said, “Plenty of right. It’s made me angry enough to die!”
GOD said, “What’s this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night.”
Even though it’s not the main point of this passage, I am reminded that God is the One who lit the fire of the sun when it first came into being. It is a picture of God’s untamed power, even when it is hot as hell (perhaps especially then).
Before I run and hide into my air conditioned office tomorrow, I’m going to try and pause my grumblings to see God’s character through the sweat. It may be just the relief I need from the heat.