But Jonah…But the LORD.
—Jonah 1:3, 4
Read Jonah 1:1-6
Today we start meditating on the well-known history of the prophet Jonah. This short Bible book is different from other prophetical books; it does not focus on various prophesies that he made, but it is a narrative of a specific episode in the prophet’s life. From 2 Kings 14:23-25, we learn that Jonah lived before or during the reign of Jereboam II (about 760 BC).
The beginning of our Scripture passage clearly shows us that self-will is ingrained on man’s soul, as well as the misery that this self-will brings with it. But we are also taught that the Lord is able to deliver man from his self-will. We are intent on going our own way, but there is nothing as foolish and futile as attempting to evade the Lord. We would do well to use this Bible book as a mirror to discover how often we too are self-willed, giving no heed to God’s commands.
Jonah experienced the futility of evading God when he boarded a ship to escape bringing God’s message to Nineveh. Scarcely had the journey begun when God sent a mighty storm that threatened to destroy the very ship Jonah was on. By this storm, the Lord stretched out His hand to stop a deserter. God had commanded Jonah to go east, but he was going west. When the prophet was awakened in the middle of the storm, he realized that the Lord had caught up with him, and he had to confess, “O Lord, my in-most heart and thought, Thy searching eye dost see, Where ere I rest, where ere I go, My ways are known to Thee” (Psalter 384:1).
Are you able to understand Jonah’s behavior?