November 2 I Tuesday
“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.”
God called Jonah to be an agent of reconciliation, but he became an agent of rebellion and ran away from his calling. There is just one problem: we cannot run away from God. There is literally no place in the world that we could go to get away from Him, and Jonah was about to learn that lesson. As Jonah got on board a ship heading the opposite direction that he was called, we are told, “Then the LORD sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up” (Jonah 1:4). Did we notice that God was the One bringing calamity? He was the One sending the consequences into Jonah’s life.
Even the sailors on board could discern that something supernatural was taking place. Jonah 1:5 tells us, “All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god.” Because of the sailors’ lack of understanding, they did not know which God it was, so they started to pray to all of them. In the midst of all this, what was Jonah doing? “Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep” (Jonah 1:5).
The captain of the ship awakened Jonah and said to him, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your God! Maybe He will take notice of us so that we will not perish” (Jonah 1:6). God confronted and rebuked Jonah’s stubbornness through the captain. The one who did not know God—the pagan in Jonah’s opinion—went to the prophet of God and basically said, “Call on your God. Get on your knees, maybe He will take notice of us!” This is a pretty sad situation when the pagan needed to wake God’s prophet to get him to pray.
In Jonah’s disobedience, God used the sailors to teach Jonah something about seeing others differently. He was using them to teach Jonah that all of humanity is searching for the truth. But Jonah still continued to display his reluctance to help in the situation. When they asked him to pray, there was no evidence that he offered a solution. There was a stubbornness to him.
When we are disobedient to God’s calling on our lives, everyone around us suffers. When we run away from what God is asking us to do, it brings calamity. Storms rage and lives are at risk. Even as Christians, we can be guilty of this. Are we currently being stubborn and rebelling against God? May we choose obedience to God and live in His gracious plan rather than our own stubborn heart and destructive desires.
Prayer: Lord God, there is nowhere in this world that I could hide from You. Take away my stubborn heart and help me be obedient to You. Thank You, Lord.