Loving Your Enemies
The Book of Jonah (1-4)
During my personal quiet time this week, I read the Book of Jonah which is only 4 chapters long. I thought to myself, “This has the potential to become a devotional”, but as I was reading my mind jumped around as to the topic. There is the classic “You can’t run from God” part that would be a great topic for a devotional. My Bible so there are small paragraphs that help explain certain chapters or specific passages from the book. So after reading this description over the chapters of Jonah I realized that there is more to the story of Jonah.
If you grew up in church you probably know a song or a cartoon describing the book. It is one of the classics. So this is what I had in mind when reading it, just the basics. But we see clearly that Jonah was not going to get out of what God wanted Jonah to do. He basically wanted to die, telling the fisherman to throw him off the boat in the storm. Then he gets swallowed by a “huge fish” and still lives to fulfill God’s mission for him. That is crazy and only a God thing!
You are probably wondering what I am getting to. It is the second part, which shows that Jonah was running from the thing he was scare of doing. He was rebelling against God’s mercy towards an invading power, stated from my study bible. Jonah was given the mission to preach in the city of Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. This whole empire was known for its evil. In the study section in my Bible, it said, “think of nations known for human rights abuses in more recent times: Nazi Germany, Cambodia, China, Rwanda, Iraq, and Yugoslavia”. This is what Jonah was running from. Jonah had a hard time with the concept of loving your enemies. He didn’t want to aid in the chance for the Assyrians to repent, knowing how they treated people. But then Jonah follows through with what God asked of him and there is a revival happening. Then the story goes on to tell us that Jonah sulks under a shriveled tree (4:5-6). Jonah is upset and frustrated with God for showing such mercies to his enemies.
Wrapping this all up, a question that can be asked is: Can we put a limit on God’s mercy and forgiveness? It can also be understood is that God’s purpose for His people is for us to love our neighbors. We are called to love and forgive God’s people. Now reflecting on our own lives are we more like Jonah or more like who God calls us to be? I know it’s easy for us to say we can forgive and love our enemies, but to actually put that love and forgiveness in action is where we can show that we are not like Jonah. My encouragement to you is to take it one day at a time. Maybe you don’t have enemies, but there are sinners out there just like you that you may need to show love and forgiveness.
Pray: Lord, You are the ultimate provider for my life, I want to commit my life to You. Guide me today, show me where You need me. Help me to let go of my sins which are holding me back from fully surrendering to You. Show me who I need to extend love and forgiveness. I want to glorify You every step of my day. Thank You, Lord, for my life and for providing for me daily.
First Baptist Broken Arrow