So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. ~Jonah 4:5
A Western idiom that we use is the term “sitting duck.” This is a way of saying that a person is vulnerable to attack or other source of danger. The term comes from hunting, where it is much easier to hit ducks when they are sitting on the water than when they are in flight. When you are a sitting duck, you are a very easy target for someone to take you out. Let us see how sitting at the wrong place with the wrong spirit at the wrong time places us in a very dangerous spiritual position.
We see the cause.
“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.” Jonah was very angry and displeased that God spared Nineveh from destruction. The fact that God was merciful in sparing the lives of everyone who lived in Nineveh was intolerable to Jonah. Jonah had a disdain for the Assyrians and their barbaric practices. As far as he was concerned, he would just as soon want to see them judged and killed. He was angry with God. Sinful anger reveals a selfish spirit in us. It reveals areas of our life that are not under the control of the Holy Spirit. It reveals a spirit that is at strife. Cain was angry that God had respect unto Abel’s sacrifice. God told him, “Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” Many times, our anger problems with someone else is really an indication of our anger with God. Jonah was pouting in self-pity and selfish indignation because God was merciful to terrible sinners.
We see the corruption.
“So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.” Jonah went out of the city and made himself a booth that he sat under to give him shade while he waited and hoped that God would reverse His decision. Later, God gave him a gourd that gave him shade. He was sitting under a shade when he needed to be under the shadow of the Almighty! We see other instances where someone sat in the wrong place with the wrong spirit at the wrong time. Elijah sat under a juniper tree and prayed for God to take his life. An unnamed man of God sat under the shade of an oak tree when he was tricked into disobeying God. David said, “Blessed is the man that sitteth not in the seat of the scornful.” We must be careful not to be sitting with a critical spirit. We must be careful of sitting in the seat of complacency. Four lepers said, “Why sit we here until we die?” We must be careful of sitting when we should be praying. We should be careful of sitting when we should be serving. Jonah went out of the will of God when we went out of the city and made a booth to sit under. While he sat under this self-made shade, he lost his desire for ministry, his discernment for God’s purposes, and his direction for his next step.
We see the correction.
First, God corrected Jonah with a worm. This worm came about and destroyed the gourd that he was sitting under. The worm quietly ate away at the gourd, thus killing it. God will use a “trial by worm” to eat away at our false trusts and carnal thinking. Second, God corrected Jonah with His Word. He rebuked Jonah for having more pity on the gourd that was smitten than for the hundreds of thousands of people who needed God’s mercy. God said, “Should I not spare Nineveh?” The book of Jonah ends with a question to Jonah. It could be that God is sending you a question to correct your attitude and spirit so that you realize that God is in control and not you.
Don’t be a sitting duck for discontentment, displeasure, or disappointment to move you out of God’s perfect will. If you’ve been sitting in the wrong place with a wrong spirit, catch it now, get back in the spiritual race, and run with God!
Have a submissive God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: 1 Kings 3-5