Jonah: "Runaway"

Jessica Heikoop

READ : Jonah 1:1-17

Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (v. 3)

Think of a good label for Jonah (“Fish Food,” maybe?). Here's a better one. Jonah's story started when he chose to try to hide from God, becoming “The Runaway.”

When God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to warn the people there of his judgment, Jonah hopped on a ship going the opposite direction. How ridiculous, to try to escape from God! As the psalmist reflects, it simply cannot be done (see Ps. 139:7-8). Didn't Jonah know that? If he didn't, he learned it quickly enough. After sitting in the belly of a fish for three days and nights, Jonah got the message loud and clear.

But do we get it? It's easy to laugh at Jonah for thinking he could flee from God's presence, yet how often do we do the exact same thing—not physically, but spiritually? We drift away from church, perhaps believing it won't hurt us. We ignore his call to serve, thinking we won't be missed. We try to hide our sin, hoping it will escape God's notice. We need to learn the same lesson Jonah did—that it is impossible to be a runaway when it comes to God.

PRAYER

Lord, help us to remember that you are always with us, no matter where we are.