On the Run from the Lord (Jonah 1:3)
Jonah 1:3, 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.
When God records the failures of His people, it's not to discourage us, but instruct, help, teach, and warn us. What can we learn from Jonah? Nineveh was a city of wickedness in desperate need of the Lord. The opportunity for revival was great, but Jonah was not concerned about their need. Jonah's self-will took greater priority in his life than God's will.
Jonah had no interest in going to Nineveh to preach to those people. Jonah was willing to serve as long as it was something that was pleasing to him. The problem was not that Jonah did not understand the will of God, but that he did not like it. Choosing your personal will over God’s will always results in consequences. Running from God is a dangerous position in which to be. We can run but we have to "pay the fare." Jonah paid more than the monetary fare for the trip. He paid dearly for his rebellion to God. It costs to disobey, and you will pay for the ticket. The fare included many hidden expenses. Sin costs more than the price tag. Obedience to God will help the economy of an individual, of society and of the nation more than anything else.
When Jonah refused to do the will of God, we find that the devil had a boat waiting. While running from God, Jonah hitched a ride with some Gentile sailors. God sent a storm that threatened to capsize the ship, so the sailors began to wonder about their Jewish stowaway. Even Gentiles knew about the Hebrew God, and these guys had no interest in finding themselves on the business end of his wrath. They knew the risks of harboring a fugitive from the God of Israel. They fell to their knees and pleaded for mercy, then threw Jonah overboard. Favorable circumstances and the absence of pain or difficulties does not mean we have gotten by with disobedience. The storm was disciplinary, intending to teach Jonah and call him back. It was also damaging. Sooner or later others will have to pay for our disobedience.
Jonah was sound asleep (Jonah 1:5) and God had his eye on him. The worst thing about running from God is that one day we run out from behind His protection and are turned over to Satan (I Corinthians 5:5). Still in His permissive will, we miss the blessings of His desired will. The lesson is clear, don't run! If you are running, go back now! Before running from God, ask yourself, How much is my sin going to cost those around me? Because it is usually those near us that suffer the greatest harm for our mistakes.
PRAYER: Lord, I know that You pursue me because You love me. Forgive me for the times I have failed to fulfill Your plan for my life. Thank You for hearing me call out to You as You heard Jonah call out to You. May I have the courage and passion to do Your will the next time You call upon me. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.