Fleeing from the Lord, in Jonah’s case, was a literal, buy-your-own-ticket trip to Tarshish. For us, fleeing from the Lord relates to the entirety of life: what I think, what my priorities are, what’s important to me, what is God’s will for my life, for today. Whenever I am failing to put Him first, I am fleeing from Him (even if I’m in my place in my pew in my church!).
What’s the opposite of “fleeing from” the Lord? Fleeing to Him, of course. Eagerly and without reservation (or with as few reservations as possible) submitting my will and plans and dreams and goals to Him. The Bible calls that submission.
This raises several critical issues for the believer. What is the “Nineveh” to which the Lord is sending me? It might not be a geographical location, but a specific mission that I need to fulfill.
What is the “Joppa” for me, the place of resources that enable me to run away from doing what He has called me to do? And what is my “Tarshish,” that place of rebellion and insensitivity to His plans for me?
I wasn’t a very good geography student in school, but those three cities might well represent three spiritual conditions of my heart. My Nineveh — the place or task to which God is calling me. My Joppa — my resources (given by the Lord) which I can use to run away from His will. My Tarshish — the condition of my heart when it rebels against Him. May I ask, which city are you in right now? (to be continued)