I can picture this man, stomping out of the city and muttering to himself how he had been wronged by this mission from God. Thinking that God didn't understand why he was so angry. Jonah went to the east of the city. In many situations in the Bible it wasn't such a good idea to go to the east. Cain went to live east of Eden after killing his brother and the people moved east to build the Tower of Babel. When the Bible was written it would have been in Hebrew, which reads right to left (east to west). The sun rises from the east and sets in the west so maybe that is how they saw time. So going to the east could represent going to the past or away from your present situation. For us this could mean that when we continue to dwell in the past, in our sinful nature, we give up everything God wants to give us. When we are facing the past what is in the rear view mirror will never show the future, but when we face ahead everything in the rear view mirror will start to get smaller and smaller until we can't see our old nature any more.
Instead of going home since his mission was over, Jonah decided to stake out a spot in the distance and wait. Jonah was still in defiance of God here. Do you think he was waiting to tell God, I told you so? Maybe, he seemed determined to see these people destroyed while he watched with eagerness. I know what it is to be Jonah. I have been stubborn against things that God has asked me to do or I wanted to do them in my timing, not His. When we don't get our way, we often will sit right down and have ourselves a temper tantrum. Just like a child who will sit down in the middle of a store and cry, we dig our heels in the dirt and refuse to move.
I think Jonah made a shelter while he waited so he could see Nineveh be destroyed. We often will have no problem pulling up a seat and being comfortable in someone else's discomfort or destruction. This book shows us that God is gracious to those we think are unworthy and to check our heart's for any unwillingness to fully turn everything over to Him. It does not matter if we agree with what God is asking us to do, He wants our obedience and to give ourselves over completely to Him.
When we become Christians we say, God I want your will for my life. We don't have a clue what we are asking Him to do at first. Do we really mean it? What happens when our plans get derailed? What happens when we don't like; what God is asking us to do, what He is asking us to say, where He is asking us to go, what or who He is asking us to give up. This is where due to the pressure, we will show our faith and put it into practice or we will fall away and say I can't do this. These moments will define our life now and in the future and direct our path until out last day on earth.