Jonah tried to flee from the presence of the Lord

Last updated on April 19, 2021


“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 1:3)

Jonah feared God. He was a prophet. And yet, he disobeyed God’s commandment to go to Nineveh. He did not even respond to God’s words or start an ‘argument’ with the Lord as to why he did not like his commission. He simply went west instead of east to take a ship that would bring him as far from Nineveh as he could reasonably go.

Jonah 1:3 explicitly states that Jonah tried to flee “from the presence of the Lord”. That is really strange behavior for a
prophet who knew God personally. Given the fact that he lived long after king David, he might even have known Psalm 139, which states: “Where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me”.

It is impossible to flee from God. Jonah knew that. And yet he rebelled, he tried to flee from his mission, no matter how
irrational his attempt. Perhaps we are like Jonah sometimes.

Could it be that we also rebel against God, that we prefer to have things our own way, even if we know that we can’t really flee from Him?

Share post