“But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa” Jonah 1:3.
In daily experiences, men respond differently to life challenges. The response of people to divine calls and situations are unpredictable. In the passage above, Jonah a referred messenger of God behaved differently to the wish of God. In John 6:66-67, many followers of Christ, left the presence of Christ; Jesus in his confidence asked the twelve disciples “will you also go away?”
Leaving the presence of God is a contrary step to the plans and programme of God for His creation. The Lord God our creator created man for the purpose of relationship and missions. The position He placed man reflect the love He had for us. God want human being to respond quickly and promptly at His beacon. However because of the nature of sin in man, we find it difficult to act promptly to the assignment of God. The passage above (Jonah 1:3) reflects the state of many people to the call of God.
The love of God for the Assyrian made Him to seek someone who would warn them before He executed the impending destruction. The man prepared by God for this mission was Jonah. He however declined to do the assignment. Likewise God had assigned us for special mission here on earth. How do you respond to the assigned mission? Do you rise up to flee like Jonah?.
Instead of going to Nineveh to preach the word as God bade him, Jonah disliked the work and went to Joppa to escape from it. There are occasions when God’s servants (believers) shrink from duty commanded by God; but the consequences are usually fatal and unpleasant.
(1). Jonah Lost the Presence and Comfortable Enjoyment of God’s Love: When we serve the Lord Jesus as believers should do, our God is with us; and though we have the whole world against us, if we have God with us, we are more than conqueror. The moment we sit back and seek our own inventions, we are at sea without a pilot. This opens the door of lamentations and groaning. It is the height of foolishness to shun God’s service. The price is too high to pay. Abiding presence of God is the major key to success in life enterprise.
(2). Jonah Lost all Peace of Mind: Sin destroys a believer’s comfort. It is the poisonous tree whose leaves distill deadly drops which destroy the life of joy and peace. Adam and Eve hid from God’s presence thus losing the peace of mind and comfort of God as a result of eating the forbidden fruit. So also we lose the peace of mind when disobedience takes us away from the presence of God.
(3). Jonah Lost Everything from Which he Might Have Drawn Comfort: No food, no friend, no companion. In the midst of sea he was lonely. He could not say “Lord, I meet with these difficulties in doing my duty, therefore help me through them”. When we go our own way, we detach our self from all godly opportunities and advantages. We are on our own. Jonah was reaping his own deeds because he was filled with his own ways. Christians, do not play the role of Jonah, unless you wish to have the waves and the billows rolling over your head in the midst of the sea of affliction.
(4). Jonah Lost His Time: For he had to go to Tarshish after all: It is hard to contend with God and win. He is our creator; your resistance cannot open another better door. We ought to learn from Jonah’s experience that the plan and purpose of God is inexcusable for man. Your failure to heed the command of God will promote violent affliction. In conclusion failure to accept God’s mandate in your life will cause you your time, resources and energy. Your experience will be bitter and you will find in the long run that it is far harder to shun the work and will of God than to quickly yield yourself to it. Let us yield ourselves at once to God’s will.