Summary: Beware when you might consider it right to move in another direction!
How Far Will Some People Go at Times to Run Away From God?
We come to Jonah Chapter 1 and verse 3, where, having been called by God, and having been given a very real work to do, Jonah arose, and he begins to run away from God – disobedient and reluctant.
He should have gone east – but he goes west.
This is God’s man turning his back on God.
Trouble begins when we do not go and do what God tells us to go and do, and the trouble usually and invariably grows worse and worse and becomes more serious.
Never try to run away from God.
You can run, but you cannot hide.
Adam and Eve soon discovered that reality. But then today, there are those who no longer believe in the early chapters of Genesis either – but Jesus Christ did.
Jonah has the opportunity of sailing off to Tarshish. Tarshish is on the coast of Spain. It was as far as he could go.
This was a deliberate planned act of disobedience.
Jonah rose – went – found a ship – and paid the ticket – all to get as far away from God as he possibly could. What lengths some people will go to at times to run away – rather than stay and remain and serve and obey.
Did he really think he could get away from God?
Jonah is running away from the presence of the Lord and “from the presence” usually means and refers to, the Temple in Jerusalem – the place of worship.
Jonah does not want to be with God’s people in God’s house.
When a person is in a state of disobedience and rebellion he or she does not want to be in, or near, the local fellowship – and does not want to be with all the other local disciples in the place of worship – not in fellowship – nor in the fellowship.
He is a fully paid passenger, and a storm arose.
This is the picture of the Christian Church in retreat – running away – not wanting to be in the spiritual battle – given a message to preach and not preaching it – the church sailing in the opposite direction – the salt losing its savour – the salt being thrown overboard.
Circumstances and companions help him to go against God.
When you set yourself on a certain course you will find people there to help you run away from God.
A ship is ready, and there is somewhere far away to go! You could almost argue yourself into believing that this was God’s will.
One could almost argue that God was with Jonah, almost answering specific prayers – but the Word of God teaches differently.
There are men to take your money, and when you run away from God you have to go on paying one thing after another.
We must never evaluate our spiritual condition by circumstances alone.
It is Jesus and His Word which matter. Never rely upon feelings, but upon Jesus and His Word, and the supportive praying fellowship.
When we go God’s way, we will find circumstances and companions too – a fellowship through which God speaks and ministers.
Rely upon the facts – upon the Word – upon the fellowship of God’s people – but supremely upon Jesus and His Holy Word.
“If you rely upon the restrictive limitations of the Word of God, you will not go far wrong!” I am so glad I heard that wise advice many years ago, from a man who knew what it was to walk with God, and serve Jesus Christ faithfully.