“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.” (Jonah 1:3)
Obeying God is hard sometimes. The Bible records numerous examples of people who felt completely overwhelmed when God called them for a specific task.
Moses, for example, was called to go to Pharaoh and to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. But he objected: “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”. He had a whole list of objections: the Israelites would not believe him, he was not eloquent enough, and so on. But in the end, Moses did what God commanded him to do. And he experienced God’s help.
Prophets like Isaiah and Jeremiah also objected to their callings; they felt too young or too sinful to be God’s messengers. But God dealt with their objections, and they were prepared to obey Him: “Here I am! Send me” (Isaiah
These people initially did not like their commission, but they submitted to God’s will and trusted in His care. Jonah decided otherwise. Through his disobedience, he withdrew himself from God’s love and presence (or at least, he tried to).
Rebellion against God comes at a huge cost. If we turn away from the Lord, we will face His wrath. Separation from God leads to eternal death. Only when we submit ourselves completely to Him, can we receive forgiveness, peace, and joy.
Do you live in obedience to God, even when it is hard?