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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

God Prepared a Worm (Jonah 4:7)
Date Posted: December 21, 2021

Sometimes we have to speak about things we don't understand. Today is one of those times for me. Just so you will see that I am speaking truthfully of such needs, we don't understand light, but we speak frequently of it. We don't understand gravity, but we assign values to it and calculate its effects routinely in our universe. We don't understand electricity, but thousands upon thousands of books have been written about how it behaves and how we can use it to our benefit. Today, I speak of something I do not understand, but it needs to be said.

Our thoughts are spurred by four verses in the Old Testament book of Jonah. We quote them here for your reading and we highlight some interesting phrases that relate to today's study.

Jonah 1.17 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

Jonah 4.6 “And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant.”

Jonah 4.7 “But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered.”

Jonah 4.8 “And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, 'It is better for me to die than to live.'”

God's purpose was not fulfilled in preparing the fish, nor was it fulfilled in preparing the plant. The same can be said for the worm and the wind which He prepared. Rather, the fish, the plant, the worm, and the wind were all prepared so that His purposes could be fulfilled as he prepared the man Jonah. I truly doubt that the fish that God prepared looked any different than others that swam the seas at that time. I don't think that the plant was different from other plants that might have grown, nor was the worm. Had a weather man experienced the east wind, he simply would have reported that a menacing east wind was blowing through the land. What we see in all of this is God's providential care for Jonah. That is the general subject I don't understand, but about which I must speak.

How did God prepare the great fish? How did He prepare the plant? How did the LORD prepare the worm and compel him/her to chew the vine that provided shade for Jonah's head? Did God whisper in the worm's ear and tell him/her, “See that gourd over there? Doesn't it look delicious? Well, go and have yourself a feast!” I speak somewhat humorously, but not really! How did God provide for Jonah? Although I don't understand, I know that He provided by using the seemingly ordinary things around him. God's providence worked in Jonah's life.

Providence contains the word provide. It literally involves looking ahead (that's the pro part of the word) and seeing (that's the videre [video] part of the word). God's providence involves His looking ahead and His seeing. It is here that God and God alone can act infallibly. I can look ahead, but my ability is extremely limited. I can also see, but I frequently misconstrue what I see. God has unlimited abilities to look ahead and to see. It is this ability that we speak of when we speak of God's providence. I don't understand it, but I am convinced that life would be unbearable without it! God prepared a worm!

Questions:

1. What/who was God really preparing when He prepared the fish, the plant, the worm, and the wind?

2. Why would God go to all that trouble? What were His purposes by acting in and through these animate and inanimate objects?

3. What did God see that Jonah did not? If Jonah could have seen what God saw, would God have needed to prepare these things to impact Jonah's life?

4. If God could and did use such ordinary things in Jonah's life, doesn't it open up the possibility that He might use such ordinary things in ours so that His will for us can be accomplished? Why or why not?

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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