Jonah 1: 3
“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.” (NKJV)
Jonah is one of my favourite characters in the Bible. I see him as a guy who knew God, understood His ways and yet held his opinion. Jonah stood his ground, knowing well who God is and capable of.
God had asked Jonah to go to a city called Nineveh to preach there. The people of Nineveh had gone away from the Lord. So He decided to send them a reminder via Jonah. (vs. 2)
Jonah didn’t like the idea, so decides to do a ‘But’. “But Jonah arose to flee” in the opposite direction. He went the whole way – bought his own tickets, packed his bags and went aboard. He set sail away from God’s will.
Does it ring a bell somewhere? God asks us to do something and we decide we got better plans.
I think it is important that the author mentions ‘presence of God’ twice in the same verse. Jonah knew what he was risking. He was not simply going away from the responsibility given to him. He was going away from God.
It was a rebellion to the task given him. It was outright denial of his boss. A plain no. He was clear about not carrying out the job.
But I think Jonah didn’t realize what he was getting into. He did not understand that he was going away from the presence of God. For him, it was just Joppa and then to Tarshish. He was hoping that God finds someone else to do the job. He actually considered getting away with his actions.
So the next time you decide to go someplace where God does not want you to go, remember it is not just another plan. Not just another place. You are going away from God’s presence. You are going away from the One who gives you success in your journey. And your life. Jonah’s story proves it. You don’t want to go without Him.
Pray in your own words: Test your ways. Are you doing God’s will? Are you in tune with Him? If you are going the opposite way, ask forgiveness and come back on His will. Tell Him.
Daily Bible Reading: Exodus 7-8 (Old Testament), Matthew 15: 1- 20 (New Testament). (Click here to read)
(This plan is a yearly plan where you can read the full Bible in a single year.)