Immediately when someone begins to talk about Jonah, someone else is bound to get all worked up about the great ship, or the great storm or the great fish. The message of Jonah is not about a whale; it is a message about witnessing. The message is not about a devouring humungous fish; it is a message about a devoted heavenly father. The truth of the matter is that Jonah is not so much about a reluctant prophet as it is about a compassionate God. You see the message of Jonah is really about a Great God with a Great Love for a Great Big World!
When you study the book of Jonah, the underlying theme is that God loves all the people of the world. The God who loves the world, wants the whole world to hear the message of the Gospel. But it must be said, that Jonah is a disobedient prophet because he was unwilling to tell the people of Nineveh that there was a loving God that wants to save them.
There are three imperatives (commands) that God gives to Jonah. These underscore the urgency of the call of God. It is a very plain call. It is a very clear call found in Jonah 1:1…
Stated another way, God said…
- Get UP
- Go UP
- Speak UP!
But what did Jonah do? Jonah RAN! Jonah 1:3 says, “Jonah rose to FLEE to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went DOWN to Joppa…” Then Jonah 1:5 says, “But Jonah went DOWN to the inner part of the ship and had laid DOWN and was fast asleep…”
Jonah was so reluctant to see the salvation of Nineveh that he arose and fled. He headed for Tarshish. As far as we can determine, Tarshish was on the coast of Spain. It was thought of as the end of the earth. It was more than 2000 miles in the wrong direction. How foolish is it that a man thinks that he can run from God?
The Bible says that Jonah paid the fare to Tarshish! When you run from God you always pay the price! It is a bit remarkable that a prophet had enough money available for a 2000-mile journey. But listen, whenever you run from the will of God, the devil will always provide the transportation and the fare. Any time you want to run from God, the devil will open the door. Whenever you run from the will of God, you will always pay the fare. There is always a price to pay when you get outside the will of God.
Sin take you farther than you want to go. Sin will teach you more than you want to know. Sin will keep you longer than you want to stay. Sin will cost you more than you want to pay. There are no free rides on the devil’s transportation system. You always pay the fare. On the other hand, when you follow the will of God, HE will always pay the fare.
- He paid the fare for our sin debt
- He paid the fare for our salvation
- He paid the fare for death
- He paid the fare for the grave
If you will go God’s way, He will pay the fare. He will take care of you.
If you have experienced the mercy of a Great God, He has a call on your life: Get UP, Go UP, and Speak UP to those who have yet to experience His mercy. Don’t run from God. Run with Him, to a world desperately in need of the hope and mercy and grace He offers! Jonah ran…don’t make the same mistake, or you may find yourself in a whale of a mess!