But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish. – Jonah 1:3
Jonah received instruction from God to go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it because God had seen their wickedness and pronounced judgment on it. The prophet became self-righteous because he believed that these pagans would refuse to hear the message of God and would be a waste of his time. Thus, he rebelled against God by refusing to carry out his mission. To achieve his goal, Jonah headed in the opposite direction of the city and tried to sail to the port of Tarshish. He wanted to escape from the LORD.
It’s funny how we, people, tend to do what we want to do rather than what God tells us to do. God told the prophet to go and declare a message to the people of Nineveh with the sole intent of seeing a city of 120,000 people repent and turn to God, even though they were not under the blessings of Abraham at that time. The Israeli prophet knew the blessings and promises of God were for his chosen people and felt it a waste of time to go speak to this heathens. He ran in the opposite direction hoping he’d escape from God’s plan.
What this awesome man of the Almighty God forgot were the famous words of the great Israeli king, David. David said many centuries before the days of Jonah that if he made his bed in either heaven’s heights or hell’s depths, God would be there with him. There was no place that David could go that God would not be there with him. These words may have haunted the prophet when he’d later be swallowed by a great fish and face a living hell of gastric juices trying to dissolve him into food because of his running away from God.
So, the real question for us is this, Where are you with God? Are you trying to run from him rather than to him? Thus, let us learn this lesson from the prophet’s mistake. There is no need for us to repeat history and suffer from disobedience to God. Our disobedience may not send us to hell, but there will be a price to be paid for doing so. Be the smart one and listen to the words of David. God is with us no matter where we are! We can run, but we can’t hide!! God will find us and deal with us according to how we respond to him. He will always have love and grace for us, but disobedience has a cost.
Father, I’ve been on the Jonah Road for a while over the last few weeks. You’ve pointed me in one direction, but I decided to do a 180-degree turn and do my thing for a while. I let my pride rise up within me and tell me the lie that I could do my thing even if but for a brief moment. During that time, I’ve never felt so far away from you. It’s been a real struggle for me this year when it comes to being sensitive to your Spirit’s promptings. I don’t want to be in the moment, Old Testament style, and have your Spirit come upon me when I know he lives in me! I want to walk in New Testament faith like Jesus and Paul and Peter and James, John, Andrew, Thomas, Bartholomew, Thaddeus, and all the apostles. I’m tired of walking in the wrong direction. I repent of my pride and arrogance. Help me to humble myself before you and to do the right thing no matter what, even if it’s the hard thing to do and requires personal sacrifice and giving up some personal wants. I need your help!!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.