7.14.14 "Relentless Compassion!"

Jonah 1 New International Version (NIV) Jonah Flees From the Lord

1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.

Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.

But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”

10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)

11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”

12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”

13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.

17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.


I can really relate to the story here! When the preacher on Sunday mentioned that Nineveh was located in Iraq, and that Tarshish was like a resort in Hawaii, I could see why Jonah would choose to go there instead of Nineveh! I believe most people would follow in Jonah’s footsteps too.

I mean, sometimes it’s scary to go where God wants you to go! And sometimes it takes a little more persuading from God to get us in the right direction (not unlike this experience for Jonah!), but what this shows us is that even when we resist, God will still get us where He wants us to be – where He wants to use us for His glory.

One nugget I took away from this and the sermon on Sunday was in regards to how through all of this struggle in Jonah’s heart, God was never angry at what Jonah had chosen to do. He just sheltered Jonah and worked on his heart to guide him to Nineveh. He was patient and protective, like a loving and caring Father.


God, I just thank You so much for the story you have given us in this book in the Bible. It’s a great reminder of how Your Word was relevant when it was written just as much as it is in today’s world. I thank You for keeping us safe and loving us. And Lord, today, make us a little bit bolder. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You may recognize the last part of that prayer from the message on Sunday. If we can all just use this in a daily prayer with God, we will slowly see how He changes our lives. Just like the preacher said “Changed lives, change lives!” Please pray that one more time “Lord, today, make me a little bit bolder