Beyond Self-Pity

Michael Beck

“And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.” (Jonah 4:6,7)

God prepared a gourd for Jonah’s protection from the heat and then destroyed it so he could feel grief. When Jonah was upset over the unrelenting pain he was in, God tells him that he has “pity” for the gourd, but not for the people of Nineveh.

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

Do we only feel for ourselves? Is our pleasure and our pain all that matters to us? Are we calloused and uncaring when it comes to the suffering of others? God is touched by the feeling of our infirmities. In all our affliction; He is afflicted. (Isa. 63:9)

Heaven is filled with those who share God’s merciful heart. Hell has no protection from the heat. It is a pitiless place reserved for those who could only pity themselves.

“For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy …” (James 2:13)

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.