Jonah Flees From the LORD1 The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
3 But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
4 Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the LORD, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the LORD, “Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, LORD, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him.
Right away in verse two we see God's call to Jonah. “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh”. This is a pretty straight forward command. God wants Jonah to fulfill a purpose. That purpose is to go and tell the people of Nineveh how wicked they are. Understandably, this is not going to be an easy task. I don't know if you have ever had to call someone out on their sin but more often than not this not as simple as it sounds. Yet, this is what God is calling Jonah to do.
Unfortunately, Jonah does the exact opposite. The text says that he simply, “got up and went the opposite direction”. His hope is that he would escape the will of God. So, he bought a ticket on the nearest boat that would take him the farthest away from God.
Jonah had made it up in his mind that his plan for his life was better than God's plan. Jonah decided that instead of following what God wanted was not as important than what Jonah wanted. Yet, I can't fault Jonah. I think back into my own lifetime and think of the many times that I have turned my back on what God wants for my life and proceed to take myself as far away from God's plan as I could get. While I didn't end up in the belly of a great fish I did find my self in a place distant from God. Far to many times we live life trying to distance our self from the will of God. Placing our own will before his. So, what is you Nineveh?
God has a plan
Jonah decided that his plan was better than God's plan.
What is your Nineveh?