Jonah was a prophet who also disobeyed the word of God. He was known as a very straightforward preacher, but ignored God’s command. The reason(s) for his disobedience are irrelevant.
1. There are no excuses for disobedience to God’s word. We have a responsibility to obey the teachings of the Bible. If we are passionate about God, we won’t look for excuses. We will instead find a way.
The Assyrians, to whom Jonah was called to preach, were known as a wicked people. And Jonah told God “no.” Yet in verse 2, God refers to Ninevah as a “great city.” (It was a very large city at that time, about 175,000 people.) He wanted Jonah to cry against the city and call its people to repentance, for God had seen their evil. And when God goes out of His way to say someone is evil, they’re evil.
2. God never overlooks the evil of any civilization. Ninevah had the same choice we have today: judgement or repentance. We have become a wicked, godless nation. When you tell God “no,” He will walk away, and judgement becomes inevitable. Judgement may be delayed, but judgement will come. (This is the theme of the Bible.)
First, the church must turn from its wickedness. When God turns His back on a nation, it is obvious to everyone. Greater civilizations than the U.S. have fallen. You can say that God is a “cosmic bully,” but if this were true, He would give us no chance at all to repent. Instead, we have ample opportunity to turn from our wickedness.
So Jonah turned from the presence of the Lord. He was about to be in danger because he was no longer under the protection of the Almighty.
3. God’s presence and our protection are inseparable. If we cannot teach a younger generation to submit to an authority they can see, they will never submit to an authority they cannot see.
Jonah paid a fare to run in the opposite direction from what God called him.
4. Disobedience will always cost you. Sin does not free us; it puts us in bondage. We do not get a free pass from running from the teachings of God. We don’t get to do things our way and not pay for it. God does indeed forgive sin, but does not relieve consequences. We get to choose what we do, but we don’t get to choose the results.
We must live up to the responsibility for which God created us, or we will not succeed.