Summary: We have seen the Choice and now we proceed with the wrong choice.
THE WRONG CHOICE
1. CBS News reports that, since its inception in the 1970s, the Human Intervention Motivation Study has given second chances to thousands of men and women in danger of losing their families, careers, and even their lives.
Eighty percent of HIMS participants never relapse at all, and of the ones who do, most only relapse once. Lyle Prouse, who was able to retire honorably after a previous arrest, a stint in prison, and entry into the HIMS program, said:
"I've gotten to live out more miracles than anybody I know, I suppose without sounding preachy or evangelistic, the only thing I can attribute it to is God's grace."
2. We have looked at God giving Jonah a Chance at a wonderful opportunity, but unfortunately he makes the wrong Choice. But by God’s grace He will be given another chance.
B. The wrong Choice. 1:3
1. He fled from God’s Plan.
3 But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish – As one notes:
Tarshish is uncertain. Its association with ships (1Kg 10: 22) suggests it was near the sea. The “ships of Tarshish” used by King Jehoshaphat on the Red Sea were probably merchant ships of design similar to those used by sailors from Tarshish on the Mediterranean Sea. Tarshish has sometimes been identified with Paul’s home of Tarsus in Cilicia or the city of Tharros on the island of Sardinia west of Italy. But the most probable identification of Tarshish is the Phoenician colony of Tartessus, located on the Guadalquivir River on the southwestern coast of Spain about 2,000 miles west of Palestine. This is about as far in the opposite direction from Nineveh as Jonah could have gone.
Tarshish was in the opposite direction from Nineveh, located in the tip of Spain about 2,000 miles from Joppa. Like the prodigal son he is now headed for the “far country” of carnality.
We must all choose between Nineveh and Tarshish, between God’s plan and ours. One of the problems is we tend to live by fleshly impulses instead of the steady Word of God.
Spurgeon has a helpful comment on this:
Jonah felt it come upon him, all of a sudden, not to go to Nineveh, but to Tarshish… It came upon me that I must do so-andso.” I am afraid of these impulses— very greatly afraid of them!... Our impulses are not to be depended on… You must never obey an impulse to do wrong! Now, in Jonah’s case the impulse was, “Go to Tarshish. Go to Tarshish.”… We are no more to follow vain impulses than cunningly-devised fables. The Word of the Lord is to be our leading star in all things… God is not the Author of evil desires and suggestions! It is much more likely that these thoughts come from the devil —and most of all likely that they rise from a foolish and corrupt heart. If anything says to you, “Flee to Tarshish,” when God says, “Go to Nineveh,” shut your ears against the evil impulse and hasten to do as God bids you.
A December, 2010 article in Newsweek argues that after a brief period of cutting back Americans are starting to spend again—whether they can afford it or not. Some experts call it "frugality fatigue"—in other words, we're weary of cutting back, and we're ready to splurge again. The authors argue, "The truth is that spending may be hard to contain. Entire generations of consumers have grown up with the idea of instant gratification and the credit culture that comes with it."
These are some of the key statistics from the article:
• American households have pared their debt (from $12.5 trillion in 2008 to $11.6 trillion in September of 2010), but most of that came from home foreclosures and defaults on credit cards.
• From the start of the recession, we have continued to increase our spending in the following expense categories: Telephone equipment (up 16.6 percent), pet expenses (up 14.4 percent), and child care (up 12.8 percent).
• Although 89 percent of Americans say they're watching their expenditures, spending has increased anyway.
More tellingly, the authors include two stories that epitomize our runaway spending.
Maria Diaz, a 30-year-old waitress who was forced to move in with her mother, said, "I keep waiting for things to get better, and they just don't. After awhile I just decided, 'Screw it. I need some new clothes. I'm going to get them.' My mama's not happy, but I don't care. You stop spending, and you stop living."
Then there's the story of Harry Dugan, a 50-year-old respiratory therapist from New Jersey. Although he's "underwater" on his mortgage and he tried to curtail his expenses, he recently "had a bit of a relapse": he purchased a $900 television and a $21,000 car. "It was an impulse buy," he confessed. "If I could go back, I'd get something cheaper."