Jonah 4:6
Welcome was the broad shadow of the gourd rising round the booth and above it! The great glare in subdued green light streamed through the leaves to the calmed and cooled and comforted prophet. Just now he wished to die. Now he was willing to live - "exceeding glad of the gourd." Short-lived was his gladness. Worm-smitten, the gourd withered. A day of beauty and value, and then the end of it. And now, unsheltered by the plant, exposed to branding sun and burning wind, Jonah longed again to die. Note here: Divine discipline. The gourd, worm, wind, divinely sent, have each a ministry for the prophet. He needs correction if he is to amend. They are to teach him. But such is the Divine pitifulness that there comes -

I. THE LESSON OF REFRESHMENT. There was sent the gourd "to deliver him from his grief." He needed a shadow. It was given, and the plant shielded him from the oppressive, life-exhausting heat. The gloom of his mind had been increased by the heat of the booth; the outer had aggravated the inner weariness. In the coolness of the gourd he was calmed and soothed. The mind affects the body, and the body the mind. "Heaviest the heart is in a heavy air." Much mental and even spiritual depression must be put to the account of physical causes. Jonah sheltered was cheered and refreshed; gloom became gladness. Did he rejoice in the gourd? How, then, must God rejoice to spare his human creatures! And did Jonah meanwhile, "glad of the gourd," with, we may hope, thankfulness to God for it, think that after all God was favourable to his bitter longing for the punishment if not utter destruction of Nineveh though repentant? If so, he thought wrongly. Outward prosperity is no proof of the Divine approval. In doing wrong, in feeling wrong, all may seem to go well with us; still, it is none the less wrong. Are we in accordance with Divine truth and righteousness - our will in harmony with the Divine? Then all providences are in reality friendly, and "even the night is light about us."

II. THE LESSON OF BEREAVEMENT. Did Jonah pity, miss, and mourn for the gourd? Shall not God have pity on the myriads in Nineveh? That was the lesson of his loss to the prophet. But how reluctant to learn it! We may be bereaved of our strength, competence, loved ones. Ah! how God is bereaved! "Shall a man rob God?" What multitudes do - of their love, loyalty, service! He appeals to each. "How can I give thee up?" he says. He may take away his gifts. It is the more fully to give us himself. All earthly gourds will wither. But for all who will, there is an abiding shelter from every storm; a living shelter - Christ, in him, though the tempests come of sorrow, bereavement, death, we have peace, safety, and eternal life. - G.T.C.







And the Lord God prepared a gourd.
Is there any gourd in Palestine of growth so rapid as to lay a foundation for the statement that Jonah's grew up in a night? Certainly not. Without any of that anxiety about the how and the possible in miracles, we may remark that there is an economical propriety in selecting this vine rather than any other, and for several reasons. It is very commonly used for trailing over temporary arbours. It grows with extraordinary rapidity. In a few days after it has fairly begun to run the whole arbour is covered. It forms a shade absolutely impenetrable to the sun's rays, even at noonday. It flourishes best in the very hottest part of summer; and, lastly, when injured or cut, it withers away with equal rapidity. In selecting the gourd, therefore, there is not only an adherence to verisimilitude, which is always becoming, but there is also an economy, if we may so speak, in the expenditure of miraculous agency. The question is not about power at all. The same God who caused the gourd to grow in a night could make a cedar do so likewise; but this would be a wide departure from the general method of miraculous interposition, which is to employ it no further than is necessary to secure the result required. Is there any reason to suppose that, after all, it was not a gourd, but some other plant — that of the castor-bean, for example, as many learned critics have concluded? Orientals never dream of training a castor-oil plant over a booth, or planting it for a shade, and they would have but small respect for any one who did. It is in no way adapted for that purpose, while thousands of arbours are covered with various creepers of the general gourd family. As to ancient translations, the Septuagint gives colocynth, a general name for gourd; and the Vulgate, castor-bean.

(Thomson's "Land and Book.")

Learn —

1. That all our comforts, small and great, come from God.

2. As our comforts, so also do our trials, come from God.

3. Every gourd of earth, every enjoyment here, has a worm at its root.

4. There is a plant, better than any gourd of earth, under the shadow of which we may live in peace and die in hope.That plant is Christ.

(E. Blencowe, M. A.)

Here the Lord doth first give Jonah matter of delight in a plant miraculously raised up to cover his booth, and keep him from the heat which increased his grief. Then again, his passion is stirred up by occasion of the Lord's sudden removal of the gourd, and raising such a wind as might effectually make the sunbeams beat upon him. By all which the Lord lays a ground of more sensible reproving of him for his former bitterness. Doctrine —

1. A spirit once broken and embittered with troubles is easily grieved and stirred up.

2. The Lord, in healing the infirmities of His people, uses first to lance their sores, and discover more of their putrefaction, before He apply any healing plasters; there. fore is Jonah's passion more kindled ere the former distemper be healed.

3. God in His holy providence may ensnare men who are wilfully given to passions, with more occasions to vent more of their corruptions.

4. From this sending of the gourd and the worm, and the effects of it in Jonah, we may see —(1) The vanity of all earthly delights, in that they all carry a worm of instability in their root, which in short time will turn upside down all the expectations which men have from them.(2) Much delight in earthly contentments is ordinarily a fore runner of much sorrow in their removal.(3) Passion given way unto will soon turn men furious and absurd. So little are men themselves in their passions.

(George Hutcheson.)

There is that in the conduct of Jonah which claims our pity and provokes our resentment; especially when we see him have more regard for his own honour than for the lives of so many thousands that know not their right hand from their left. Perhaps, in passing our censure upon him, we shall condemn ourselves. Is it an uncommon thing, to find Christians in the same spirit? The history records an instance of God s pity in the provision of the gourd. But the swiftly growing plant more swiftly faded. This reminds us of the vanity of all earthly enjoyments. What are they, even the best of them, but as the gourd that grew up in a night and perished in a night? We refer to those pleasures which have their root in corruption and luxury. But it is also true of those enjoyments which are consistent with virtue and piety. Which of them can afford us more than a momentary delight? Mutability is the characteristic of all things under the sun. The scene is ever shifting, and like the vagaries of a dream, which only appear to amuse for a moment, and then are gone. Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. He set great store by it, more than by the lives of all the inhabitants of Nineveh. And how apt are we, like him, to overrate our comforts! We forget that our happiness has its root in the earth. There lurks a worm at the root of every gourd. Sin has marred our happiness and given the death-sting to all our comforts. Sometimes our enjoyments are our punishments. Where is the heart that does not ache at the loss of some earthly good? The same God who prepared the gourd prepared the worm. The hand of God is to be acknowledged in all our pleasures, and in all our so-called calamities. He does not measure His kindness by our merit. Blessings that come in the ordinary way deserve our sincere acknowledgments; much more should we be thankful for undeserved favours. But we often complain of the evils we suffer that God sends to us. We look to second causes, and fret as though there were no God to rule in the earth. There cannot be good or evil without the Divine permission. The gourd grew up in a night; might not this circumstance have taught Jonah to expect it as suddenly to decay? Pleasures that are quick in their growth seldom last long. The vanity and uncertainty of all our earthly enjoyments show us that error lies somewhere, and where should we look for it but in the nature of man? Whence is man's misery but from his inordinate attachment to the creature? God Himself is our only end. Let our trims remind us of our sins, and we shall see in the end that God has been correcting us for our profit, that compassion has guided the rod to recall us to our proper resting-place. Here we learn the importance of religious principle. Without it, what can we do in a changing world where all perishes in the using, and is sometimes blasted by the touch? Religion will produce a satisfaction in the mind which no evil can disturb; let the worm destroy, let the gourd wither, let all natural things take their course, or perish by violence, yet the well-principled man shall be happy without them all, for none of these things are essential to his bliss; having God for his portion and choice, he is blessed.

(Owen Morris.)

From the history of the prophet thus brought to a close we learn —

I. NOT TO PRIZE EARTHLY COMFORTS TOO HIGHLY. Jonah finds comfort in life only from the gourd which God had suffered to grow up. Improve this.

1. Let us remember that all our comforts spring but from the earth.

2. Earthly comforts are only gourds; they rise up suddenly, and aa suddenly decay.

3. Earthly comforts have a worm at their root. They carry in themselves the seeds of their own dissolution. The very means by which we are supported in life have in them the seeds of disease, decay, and death.

4. Earthly comforts are short in their duration. As they rose like the gourd, so, like that, they may wither in a night.

II. NOT TO BE GRIEVED OVERMUCH AT THE REMOVAL OF EARTHLY BLESSINGS.

1. Consider their real character.

2. We should believe that there is much wisdom and mercy in their removal.

3. Remember that God can either restore these things to us, or give us better in their stead.

4. We should look forward to a better and more enduring substance.

III. LEARN FROM OUR OWN TROUBLES TO FEEL FOR OTHERS.

1. Learn to pity those who have not such comforts as we have.

2. To mourn on account of those who are losing their souls. Let the people of God seek resignation to His will.

(W. Cooper.)

I. EMBLEM OF MAN'S EARTHLY GOOD. The gourd represents this. It was like it in its development, its decay, and its destruction. It came out of the earth. It came out by Divine agency. The decaying agent was mean. The decay was prompt. The work was done in secret.

II. EMBLEM OF GOD'S DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE.

1. God disciplines man by facts.

2. These facts are varied in their character.

3. These facts are adapted to their end. Learn —

(1)Not to trust in earthly good.

(2)Improve under the disciplinary influences of heaven.

(Preacher's Finger-post.)

I. THE SPRINGING UP OF THIS GOURD. This took place under very remarkable and truly affecting circumstances.

1. Learn that a gracious God sometimes visits us with mercies when we have reason to expect judgments. Rage drives Jonah out of Nineveh into the scorching heat of an eastern sun, and there, while he is quarrelling with God and asking for death, springs up suddenly a wide-spreading plant to shelter and comfort him. In seasons like these faith is weak, and a compassionate God stoops to its weakness. He gives the soul sensible indications of His love, recalls it to its duty and happiness, by mercies which it can feel and understand.

2. There is no want of His servants too small for God to notice, and no suffering too light for Him to relieve. Jonah's worthless head is as much an object of His concern as Jonah's guilty soul. In no point do we mistake more than in this. "This matter," we say, "is too contemptible to be taken to God." We limit, we dishonour God when we say, "This is too small for Him." The care He invites us to roll on Him is, all our care.

3. The Lord often reveals His greatness by the mode in which He imparts comfort and manifests compassion. Refer to those dispensations of Providence, those unexpected deliverances, and blessings and comforts which every servant of God occasionally experiences: things occurring so that he must be blind who does not see in them the Divine hand. We have not to run after goodness and mercy.

II. THE EFFECT PRODUCED ON THE PROPHET'S MIND BY THIS INTER-POSITION OF GOD ON HIS BEHALF. Jonah rejoiced in the gourd with great joy

1. Well may we wonder at the folly of that heart which could take so much pleasure in so mean a thing; but there is still greater reason to wonder at its amazing selfishness. This history is like a libel on human nature.

2. The ingratitude of the human heart. We too have often' forgotten God in the comforts He has given us. Those very comforts have been the causes of our forgetting Him. They have separated between Christ and our soul.

III. THE WITHERING OF THIS OVERVALUED GOURD.

1. All earthly comforts are short-lived; they are frail and perishing. They often die while we are rejoicing in them.

2. The comfort that most delights us is generally the first to perish. The mercies we lose the soonest are those we love the best. This is the testimony of fact.

3. Our comforts are often taken from us when they appear to be the most needed. Our prop gives way when we are the weakest. The gourd withers in the morning, just when the sun is beginning to scorch.

4. Our comforts often perish from unforeseen and very inconsiderable causes. A trifle — a worm — destroys them. Such is the history of this miraculous plant — it sprang up, it gave delight, it brought into sight the baseness of the human heart, and then it withered. Is not this the history of every comfort the earth yields? It speaks to us all. It bids us care less about a passing world. It calls us to seek after that refuge and comfort of which no creature, either small or great, can rob us. Is there such a refuge? Yes. It is in Christ Jesus, in a manifested, incarnate God; in His cross and righteousness and spirit, in union and intercourse with Him. And it is nowhere else. A crucified Jesus is the one only remedy for all human ills, the one only source of all solid happiness.

(C. Bradley.)

Let the subject be — The precise personal action of God in the discipline, or teaching troubles, of His people. The Lord's teaching by grouping and combination. One teaching suggested to us by these combinations of God is the need of profound humility in judging any of His dealings while they are going on; and of unlimited faith in Him as the preparer and arranger of everything. In no case do we know the whole of a matter. We see but one part, and do not understand the relation of that part to the whole. Jonah did not know what real relationship that gourd had to him. We are taught that we must not quarrel with any one dealing of God. We must not think there is failure because one part of a dealing is, to all appearance, not doing its work. Though one mean and another has apparently come short in your hand, view God in combination, and do not despair. God taught Jonah by a combination of facts, by personal experiences, personal suffering. The incidents of our lives are instinct with educational power. Only, we must see God in them. Alas! that life's facts are so barren of teaching to many. Men fail to read their own lives. By this education of facts God's teaching is very penetrating. Observe also the grouping together of opposites — of pleasure and pain; God reproduces in daily life — the gourd, the worm, the wind. Often we see light and darkness; or conversely, darkness and light mingled in our homes, our business, our relationships, and our only way of being at peace, and being helped heavenward by all that comes, is by seeing in them the preparations of the Lord. The same thoughtfulness by which God arranged the prophet's teaching arranges ours, if only we will learn. The same sovereignty which has the gourd, the worm, and the wind at command has things great and small, all ready to do us good. The same patience in waiting while His combination of circumstances were doing their work is waiting on us now.

(P. H. Power, M. A.)

So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd
Homiletic Monthly.
The sequel shows clearly that the prophet had not one spark of gratitude to God for His merciful interposition in his extremity. He was "glad of the gourd," which, springing up in a night, sheltered him from the burning rays of a fierce sun, but not thankful to God whose goodness had provided it; the feeling was purely selfish and sensual, destitute utterly of piety. Glad of the gift, but not a thought of the Giver; for as soon as the gourd "withered away" he was angry," and "wished for death, and bitterly complained to God, and justified his folly and petulance.In all this, Jonah is a type of multitudes of nominal Christians — "glad" because of God's great mercies, but never grateful; the temporal gift, but not the Divine Giver, is thought of.

(Homiletic Monthly.)

Links
Jonah 4:6 NIV
Jonah 4:6 NLT
Jonah 4:6 ESV
Jonah 4:6 NASB
Jonah 4:6 KJV

Jonah 4:6 Bible Apps
Jonah 4:6 Parallel
Jonah 4:6 Biblia Paralela
Jonah 4:6 Chinese Bible
Jonah 4:6 French Bible
Jonah 4:6 German Bible

Jonah 4:6 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Jonah 4:5
Top of Page
Top of Page