Running from God
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. ~Jonah 1:3
Jonah is listed in the Bible as one of the Minor Prophets. He is considered minor because the length of his book is smaller than the Major Prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. As we study his life and the book he wrote, there is nothing minor about his actions, life, and message. The first chapter of Jonah is the sad account of how Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord. We want to see this morning why disobedience to God can be very costly.
We see Jonah’s decision.
God called Jonah to preach a message of repentance to the city of Nineveh. This highly populated city was the capital of Assyria. Jonah was God’s designated man to carry a strong message to this city. Instead, Jonah rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord. He despised the Assyrians and was not in agreement with being selected to preach this message to these people. He lost his desire for serving the Lord and concluded that he should just get away from the presence of the Lord.
We see Jonah’s decline.
Whenever we run from the presence of the Lord, this is an indicator that we are on a spiritual decline. We become irrational in our thinking and judgment, and we decide that getting away from the Lord or spiritual authority in our life is the best thing to do. Jonah was trying to leave his calling and responsibility. To depart from the presence of the Lord has some serious spiritual implications. His decision took him out of the perfect will of God. He was in a spiritual downfall and was moving downwards very quickly.
We see Jonah’s delusion.
He found a ship going south to Tarshish and paid the fare, or cost, to board this ship so that he could avoid the presence of the Lord. He thought that if he traveled away from God’s calling, he could avoid the duty that he was assigned to. He paid the fare to board the ship. You always pay a price whenever you depart from the presence of the Lord. He had no idea what this cost would be: he just wanted to avoid the calling that God gave him.
We see Jonah’s downturn.
Instead of making his journey to Tarshish, God sent a major storm on the high seas. This storm almost sunk the ship, its passengers, and its crew. Jonah amazingly slept through the storm. Soon, he was awakened, and he realized that the storm was sent from God to get his attention. Jonah realized that his bad decision brought the storm also into the lives of other people. Things were looking bad for Jonah and all of the ship’s occupants. Jonah would have to be thrown overboard so that the storm would be stopped. Jonah’s life was completely upside down because of disobedience.
We see Jonah’s deliverance.
God prepared a large fish, or whale, to swallow Jonah whole. Jonah would spend three days and nights in the whale’s belly. That terrible experience would bring him back to his senses and lead to his restoration with God.
Be careful of being disobedient to God. Be careful of trying to avoid God’s presence and calling in your life. Don’t put yourself where you wind up being swallowed by your disobedience. Instead of running from God, run with God and have faith in the responsibility he has entrusted to you.
Have a resilient God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Psalms 1-8