But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD – Jonah 1:3

Jonah had been told by God to go preach to Ninevah, to call out against it. He would warn them of the impending wrath against them. Understand Jonah’s attitude towards Ninevah – Ninevah wasn’t just the enemy; they were the brutal, violent, vicious enemy that would end up destroying the northern kingdom of Israel. In fact, no one in the ancient world mourned when Ninevah eventually fell.

But Jonah doesn’t want to go. (It turns out it’s because he’s worried that Ninevah would repent and that God would be merciful, but that’s later on in the book.) Instead, he attempts to flee from the presence of the LORD. He will just run away and try to forget God and forget what He has said.

It doesn’t work. Even in the midst of the storms in a far flung sea, God is there. Even in the depths of the sea into which Jonah is cast, the LORD is there. The LORD wants Jonah to get to Ninevah, and the LORD will get him there. Period.

We don’t get to run away from God. Oh, we may certain end up pouting and disobeying and being quite stupid – but that’s our problem, not God’s. He remains faithful and just. His Word remains true. And if we try to run, well, He’ll use our running against us. Jonah’s life was more difficult and less comfortable, but the LORD remained faithful to him. And the LORD remains faithful to you. He claimed you in Holy Baptism as His own, and so you are. And there’s never a good reason to run from that.

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