10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.
12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and [d]throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
Jonah is known as the reluctant prophet because he was reluctant to go where God had sent him. He was not willing to go to Nineveh to proclaim the message that God had given him because these were Israel’s enemies. Jonah knew that God is merciful and if the people of Nineveh cried out to God, he would forgive them, and he did not want that.
Jonah out rightly deicides to disobey God and instead of going to Nineveh, he boarded a ship to Tarshish. This is in completely the opposite direction of where he had been directed to go.
Jonah tried to run away from God, forgetting that you cannot do so. Psalm 139: 7 tells us If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
Because of Jonah’s disobedience, his companions on the ship were at risk. God sent a storm their way and their ship was about to be broken into pieces. When we walk in disobedience, not only are our lives affected negatively, but also the lives of others around us. Jonah’s disobedience would also have meant that the people of Nineveh would not have received an opportunity to turn back from their sinful ways.
Interestingly, even after it is known that Jonah’s disobedience was the cause of the storm, the prophet would rather be thrown overboard and die than go where God was sending him. Talk about a stubborn man!
Had it not been for God’s mercy that sent a fish to swallow the prophet, he would have died at sea. God gave Jonah the very thing he was denying the people of Nineveh, a second chance. By God’s mercy, Jonah’s life is preserved and God gives him a second chance to walk in obedience.
In what area of your life are you walking in the opposite direction of what God has directed?
What are some consequences of walking in disobedience that you have experienced in your life?
Have others suffered the consequences of your disobedience? What happened?