1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.” (Jonah 1.1-6, ESV)
Memory Verse: “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me” What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish. (Jonah 1.2, 6 ESV)
Jonah found a ship and paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord (vs. 3). Going, finding and paying is not enough when we run from God, notice here how Jonah went down into the ship. Disobedience requires us to continue down into it, to go further than we thought we would ever go. In most cases when we are running from something, normally the call to do something for God we are trying to hide from Him, hoping He will never find us and move on to someone else.
However, this is rarely the case, when God picks one of us for a task, He has chosen us because we are the one who will bring Him the most glory and honor. We have to remember each thing God does is designed to show who He is, to reveal something about His character or one of His attributes. He uses us in His plans to show this corrupted and sinful world just who He is (John 17 is a good example of this).
God chose Jonah for this task, to go to Nineveh and preach against that great city, because they had become extremely wicked in the sight of God. Realize the city of Nineveh was part of the Assyrian nation and they had been plaguing Israel for many years. They were very brutely to the point they would cut off heads and put them on spikes for all to see. The Israelites did not like the Assyrians, and therefore, Jonah could care less about preaching a message of repentance to the city of Nineveh.
So, here is Jonah down in the ship on his way to Tarshish, believing he is running from the Lord, but God has called him to ‘Go to Nineveh.’ So, what is God to do with a man who will not do what he is told? We like to believe God is all loving, and He is, but God also punishes those who disobey Him. The author of Hebrews writes;
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12.3-11, ESV).
As a child of God, you are never going to just get away with living in sin or open disobedience to God. He will at some point pass judgement upon you, what kind and when we cannot say, but as the verses also state, God will discipline those He loves. Therefore, if we are not being disciplined for our sin as we continue to live in it, what does this say about our status as a child of God?
One other word of caution, let us not test God to see if we are His child by sinning and see if He will punish us. The author of Hebrews also says;
For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10.26-31, ESV).
We cannot, for the sake of whatever, just live in sin to see if God cares enough to punish us. Because there is no more forgiveness for our sins, Christ has died already, and He cannot and will not die again. Therefore, when we live continually and deliberately in sin, we are thumbing our noses at God and saying take that, we do not care what Christ did, we do not care about His sacrifice, we are going to do what we want.
As the author of Hebrews says, “The Lord will judge His people. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10.30-31, ESV). So, God will discipline us, He will come after us, and He came after Jonah. He sent a storm like no other. The sailors were afraid, and threw the cargo overboard, and they cried out to their gods. But Jonah, where was he, the one running from the Living God, fast asleep in the belly of the ship.
God of the Heaven and the earth, Creator of all I see and do not see, Thank You for Your loving Kindness, Mercy and Grace. Lord thank You for Your discipline, for caring enough that You will watch out for me, and guide me back onto the right path when I go in the wrong direction. Lord, give me the wisdom to follow You each day, to know Your will in my life, to seek Your directions and to obey when You call. Help me to serve You in every circumstance without question or fear and to share Your gospel with others. In Your Son Jesus Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jon 1:1–6). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Ibid., (Heb 12:3–11).
 Ibid., (Heb 10:26–31).
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