Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
God spoke to Jonah ... Jonah disobeyed.
But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
As we learn from the book and life of the prophet Jonah, running away from God leads us into more trouble, not away from trouble.
Imagine if God asked you to share the Gospel with wicked people, people who had wronged you and mocked you when you were in trouble, people who actually hated you, would you do it? That is why Jonah ran from this mission, he didn't think they deserved God`s mercy, but rather His judgement.
So Jonah went in the opposite direction to where God asked him to go. To get there he had to board a ship. During the journey, the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, tossing the ship about, causing all on board to be in danger of losing their lives.
But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
It`s amazing how we would rather choose to do our own will, thinking it would be safer for us, only to discover that we should have obeyed God in the first place.
We must be careful not to lean on our own understanding, thinking we know better than God.
We say that our disobedience doesn't hurt anyone else. As it turned out, all of the men on this vessel found they were in danger of losing their lives. If Jonah had been where God wanted him to be these men would never have been affected by Jonah`s sin of disobedience.
And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah.
However, God had it all under His control, He allowed the men to draw straws to find who was responsible for this storm. Notice Jonah never spoke up until they came to him accusing him of being the one, then and only then did he realise he had a huge problem. If he chose to deny it was he, they would probably have all perished on that vessel, on the other hand, if he owned up, he alone would have to die. Jonah`s hatred for the Assyrian`s had affected his perspective.
Jonah owned up that the storm was because of him. He was willing to give his own life for the sailors, although he had refused to do the same for the people of Ninevah!
Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
Usually when we know that we are being disobedient we find it difficult to sleep, but Jonah obviously wasn't too concerned about running from God as he was found sleeping in the lower part of the ship. Apparently he wasn't bothered by his conscience to be able to sleep.
The absence of guilt isn't always a good indicator of whether we are doing right. It just shows how we can justify ourselves at any given time when we rely on our feelings to guide us, this is why we must know God`s Word so we can know right from wrong, regardless of how we might feel about it.
You cannot seek God`s love and run from Him at the same time.
The sailors did not want to throw Jonah overboard, they thought if they lightened the load it might help.
Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
TO BE CONTINUED…