Instead of following God east to Nineveh, Jonah fled to Tarshish in the west.
God might not have called you to go to Nineveh, but human nature does not change. Throughout your Christian life, there will be times when you will be tempted to go west instead of east. Sometimes you will succumb to that temptation, for the same blood that ran through Jonah’s veins runs through yours. When you read his prayer in the belly of the fish, you see just how much he understood about God.
Jonah would have been the tried and true Christian of today. If he lived in our day and age, he would have been a Bible believer who prayed, witnessed, and attended church regularly.
We tend not to realize this about Jonah, but before his disobedience, he was a servant of the Lord.
The warning for you and me is even more severe. We need to understand that the same thing that happened to Jonah could happen to us. We could turn away from our Lord. We could make the same bad choice Jonah did.
And at first, we might not see God’s chastening hand.
Jonah spent some time in travel to Tarshish and then some time on the boat before his judgment began.
Let us all take a warning from Jonah. Follow God and be blessed. Don’t follow and be judged. God won’t send His children to Hell, but He has promised that just as a good father disciplines his children, so He will chasten us.
I simply taught, preached, wrote God’s word; otherwise I did nothing. – Martin Luther
Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder