Jonah 1:3 But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the LORD. He went down to the seacoast, to the city of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping that by going away to the west he could escape from the LORD.
There are several interesting things to note about Jonah. Jonah was told by God to go to Ninevah and he chose instead to go in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. We don’t always like what God tells us or gives us to do. Many of us balk against what God tells us and try to do just what Jonah did; we run away from God. Sadly for some, this means that they wander into lives of sin and stay there. Just like Jonah found out, nothing but misery follows those who try to run from God. Nothing good has ever come to those who have done it.
Jonah bought a ticket and went on board a ship that led him away from God. This was not an accident. He knew exactly what he was doing and thus had no one to blame but himself for the things that later happened to him. What the Lord told Jonah to do was not a pleasant assignment. Tarshish was the headquarters of Israel’s enemies, the Assyrians. God was sending Jonah right into the heart of the lions’ den. The way Jonah saw it, nothing good could come from this at all.
Like the rest of the Israelites, Jonah wanted to see the Assyrians come to an end. He wanted God to punish them, not deliver them. Jonah knew that if he obeyed God in this that the chances were good that God would be merciful and spare their lives. Instead of wanting their salvation, he wanted revenge on them. Maybe there is someone in your life that you too would rather see God judge than save. Like Jonah, maybe the Lord has been urging you to speak to them with the intent of reconciliation. Maybe like Jonah, you have been trying to avoid obeying God by running away from your assignment.
Dear friend, no matter how hard you try, you can’t run away and hide from God. You will never have peace in your heart by running away from Him. You will never know the joys of living in Christ by trying to avoid what He gives you to do. You will never be in fellowship with God while on the run. You will never avoid troublesome times while on the run. Stop it right now. Return to God and let Him restore you to a right relationship with Him. Yield to His will for you. It’s not too late. Do it now while He is speaking to your soul. You will be glad you did.