JONAH PART 25
In Jonah Ch. 4 verse 5 it says, “So Jonah went out of the city (Nineveh) and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth (shelter) and sat under it in the shadow (shade) till he might see what would become of the city.”
Even though he knew God had decided to spare the city due to their repentance, he was still hoping God would change His mind again and proceed with His original plan of judgement. God had forgiven them, but Jonah had not.
He went to camp out to the east of Nineveh. Jews may have expected Messiah to appear out of the east, so it would make sense that if God sent calamity, it might appear from the east, thus giving Jonah the ideal view of it.
Not knowing how long it might take to see the overthrow, he built himself a booth in which to dwell temporarily. The booth was familiar to Jewish culture and history. During the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, they built booths for their families. They were quick and easy to put up and take down.
The Hebrew word for booth is “cukkah” which can mean a booth, cottage, tabernacle, or tent. Sometimes booths were erected as part of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot or Sukkah)to remind them how they lived after escaping Egypt with Moses.
Even though Jonah had preached, and they had repented, and God had forgiven, Jonah still could not let go of his negative feelings toward these Assyrians. We cannot be like Jonah. Jesus said (NKJV) in Matthew 5:43, “You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” That is exactly where Jonah was. He loved his neighbors, fellow Israelites, and hated these pagans. But Jesus goes on to say to us in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who spitefully use you and persecute you, so that…” These things are against our natural impulses. It may seem very difficult, or maybe even humanly impossible. However, it is possible when the Holy Spirit imparts into us God’s (agape) love, so that we can love with the same love whereby we are loved. I John 4:12b says, “…God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples (followers), if you have love one to another (everyone).” Love is the true test of our discipleship. We must love even our persecutors.
Click here to read more of Russell's daily messages