Jonah 1:1-5 (KJV)

1Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Jonah:
2Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
3But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
4But the Lord sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.sent out: Heb. cast forth was like…: Heb. thought to be broken
5Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.

When Jonah ran away from the Lord, he probably thought he’d escaped an undesirable assignment.

But rebellion never makes life better–or easier. Before long, he found himself in an even less pleasant situation: taking a wild ride inside a fish.

Two things stand out in this story.

Jonah’s determination to get away.

The reluctant prophet boarded a ship going in the opposite direction. Perhaps you’ve had the same problem he had: God’s plans don’t match yours. We can coast along with the Lord in sweet fellowship until the day He asks us to do something we don’t like. That’s the point at which our devotion to Him is tested. If you resist, He will allow a storm to rage in your soul until you submit to His authority.

God’s persistence in going after Him.

As a prophet, Jonah was to speak for the Lord. That’s a commitment God takes seriously. When you read through today’s passage, you’ll notice certain actions the Lord took to help Jonah fulfill his obligation–though they’re not the kind we want to experience. He “hurled a great wind on the sea”(v. 4) and “appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah” (v. 17). When we resist God, He will put pressure on us to get our attention and bring us back to Himself. That’s how important we are to Him.

Rebellion carries a high price tag.

We lose not only peace and joy but also future opportunities to serve God. Consequences can even reach into eternity. You wouldn’t want to stand before Christ, knowing that disobedience led to loss of eternal rewards.

Begin now to obey quickly and fully.

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