The Jonah In Me- Part 2

Jonah 1:3, “…and [Jonah] went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshsish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish FROM THE PRESENCE OF THE LORD.”

Did the prophet Jonah actually believe he could escape the presence of the Lord? He obviously made the greatest effort possible at that time to do so: In biblical times, one could only expect to walk 24 miles in one day; so to get to a ship in Joppa from his hometown of Gath-Hepher (which was over 68 miles away) was no small undertaking. Then he paid what would undoubtedly have been a hefty fee because the destination, Tarshish, was as at the edge of the known world to an Israelite– as far as he could go in the opposite direction of Nineveh. I wonder if his desperation to avoid Nineveh led to irrational thinking; or perhaps, he was trying to convince the Lord that he absolutely was not going to go there.

Before we write Jonah off as sinfully and inexcusably disobedient and stubborn, we might consider how we would have reacted. As a side note, Nineveh was a wicked city that was the capital of Israel’s mortal enemy, Assyria. Furthermore, we know from their own inscriptions that they flayed (skinned alive) their enemies. They were pagan. They ruthlessly dominated whomever they conquered. Jonah simply did not want to see them saved.

Do we have a Nineveh in our lives: An individual, a nation, a race, an enemy etc. that we might judge to be totally undeserving of God’s grace? Do we avoid doing good to them; are we fleeing as Jonah did from administering mercy, grace and love to them? It is good to remember Micah 6:8, “What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” In this verse we, as believers, are given the simple requirements (demands that are necessary and needed) from the Father that we serve. Consider this– could it be that we are another person’s Nineveh? Thankfully, God did good to us; He showed us mercy, love, and grace despite the fact that we deserved judgement rather than His love.