Day 17

Jonah’s Flight

from the Lent 2016 reading plan

Jonah 1:1-3, Psalm 139:7-12

BY Raechel Myers

Text: Jonah 1:1-3, Psalm 139:7-12

This is part of a 7-day series on Jonah in the Lent 2016 reading plan. 

The book of Jonah begins typically enough. Another prophet, another message of repentance from God to be communicated to the world. It’s like the first bars of a familiar song playing softly on your stereo… but then the record screeches to a halt.

In an unexpected turn of events, the prophet Jonah hears the Lord’s message and bluntly refuses. He doesn’t simply squirm like Moses and Elijah and Jeremiah when the Lord called them to something beyond their wheelhouse. Jonah straight-up does not approve this message. You see, Jonah had an “us vs. them” view of salvation: God’s mercy is for us, but it is definitely not for the wandering hearts of those dirty Ninevites.

We know about Jonah, most of us. We know that God called Jonah to preach repentance to a crazy-wicked city and that Jonah disobeyed because he didn’t think these people deserved God’s mercy. But before we read further into this book, let’s break out a map and see in black and white Jonah’s heart-and-body response to God’s calling.

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 8.42.45 PM

Do you see what I see?

It takes very little explanation, really. God spoke to Jonah in the general vicinity of Joppa (see “The Call” on the map), Jonah barely glances east toward Nineveh, before he boards the nearest boat headed as far west as he can imagine (toward Tarshish).

And do you know what Jonah found in his escape? He found that nothing, not even his own dark, unwilling heart, can separate him from God. David discovered this, too, writing, “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I go up to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there” (Psalm 139:7-8).

Have you ever fled from the Lord? Ever sensed a strong tugging from the Holy Spirit, but chose to run in the opposite direction?

This is where we’ll leave Jonah today. But where will we find you?

Friends, I encourage you to sit in quiet for a while right now. Tune out distractions and pray.

Ask the Lord where He has called you and you have not obeyed. Repent of your disobedience and be forgiven.

Consider the places and people to which He has called you and you have responded with obedience. Praise Him for His direction.  

Ask the Father where He would lead you now. Who needs to hear His message of mercy today?

May we go in obedience and by His grace. May we have the courage to joyfully share the message of God’s salvation — a message that is just as much for the rest of the world as it is for our own souls.

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.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
-Psalm 139:9-12 ESV


Post Comments (113)

113 thoughts on "Jonah’s Flight"

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  2. Genovia says:

    Would appreciate prayer to whoever has the heart to pray. I don’t know if Satan is attacking me with fear and guilt and holding me back from walking in something wonderful or whether God is convicting me. This reading really spoke to me and I don’t know if I’m headed to Tarshish or whether this is a good thing. God please reign in my life and above all things. Help me to let you take control

    1. Genovia says:

      Prayer from*

    2. Erin says:

      Hi Genovia, I will pray for you! I’m not sure of your specific circumstances, but I am also facing a similarly difficult decision. I can’t tell if my heart is being convicted by God or fear. I pray that God would give you wisdom and discernment, but also confidence in God’s love and forgiveness.

  3. Della D says:

    I’m still catching up on this, my first Lent study, and I must say….this one was a special blessing to my heart. Thank you.

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