The Reluctant Prophet

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD” (Jonah 1:3)

I guess you could call Jonah a reluctant prophet. I imagine to some degree, all the prophets of the Old Testament were. Confronting sin is difficult and that’s what prophets did. God raised them up to call the people of Israel to repent of their sin and return to covenant faithfulness. As difficult as it may have been for Jonah to preach and confront the sins of his own people, imagine his shock when God called him to preach to the people of Ninevah, Israel’s enemy. They were evil. Upset at the mission God gave him, Jonah fled. When God said go east (to Ninevah), Jonah instead went west (to Tarshish), eventually ending up in the belly of a fish (Jonah 1:17). God pursued, preserved and delivered Jonah. He eventually preached to the people of Ninevah and they repented. Though grateful for his own deliverance, Jonah was angered at God’s compassion toward the Ninevites. God had more to teach him. Continue reading