"Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 'Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.' But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord." Jonah 1:1-3
Have you ever felt like running from God? What happened?
Because Jonah was a prophet, he was accustomed to being sent to a variety of places by God to share His truth. This was his appointed "job" from God Himself. But when the Lord instructed him to go to Nineveh, Jonah rebelled.
From the beginning, it seemed as though Jonah had a chip on his shoulder. Perhaps he was simply a difficult person to get along with. We all know someone like that--one who's never really happy. Jonah probably always had something to complain about. He was still being used of God, but he was a reluctant prophet who was harboring a critical spirit within. The bottom line: Jonah didn't want the Ninevites to be forgiven! He was angry with them and wanted to see them pay for their sins.
God is gracious and forgiving. Unfortunately, His prophet, Jonah, wasn't. So off he went. . .to get away from God. When we run from God, Satan will always tempt us with what seems to be an easy way out. And sure enough, there was a ship just about to pull away. Jonah purchased a ticket, climbed aboard, and thought he'd outwitted God.
But God is always one step ahead of us! He sent a terrible storm. Jonah was thrown overboard and was swallowed by a giant fish--and eventually delivered to Nineveh. Wow ... what a story! What an ending. It was a great ending for Nineveh, but it wasn't such a great ending for Jonah. Instead of rejoicing in the salvation of a nation, he complained to God. "This is what I knew would happen. I knew You'd forgive them if they repented." Jonah still had a bad attitude.
We don't know what happened to this reluctant prophet. But we can surmise that unless he sought forgiveness for his critical attitude and established God confidence, he never became all that God desired of him.
The story could have ended with a giant celebration: the prophet Jonah and the entire nation celebrating God's goodness and His forgiveness of sins. But because of no God confidence, the ending is bittersweet.
Lord, I want to be Your humble servant. Help me to trust Your plans and to follow Your will for my life. Amen.