But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. –Jonah 1:3 ESV
My family and I have a group text. Sometimes if one of us gets a little salty, someone will drop a wide-eyed “oh snap!” gif in the thread. I feel like that would be an appropriate response to verse 3. We established yesterday that Jonah “understands the assignment,” but in the very next verse, he blatantly disobeys. In fact, he goes in the opposite direction. Like, he pays money and takes days off from work to rebel against God.
Most of us haven’t boarded a ship for Tarshish to disobey God, but plenty of us have acted in rebellion. At times our disobedience is rooted in laziness. We know what God is calling us to, but we just sit back, wait until we feel like it, or even try to justify why we can’t act. We probably even feel conviction over it. But other times, we actively rebel against God and embrace directions, attitudes, lifestyles, and postures counter to what God has called us to. We fully embrace our pride and say, “I know what God says, but I disagree.”
Can I just tell you something? Active rebellion against God is particularly dangerous. Let me show you why in Jonah 1:4 (ESV):
“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.”
Skip to verse 8:
“So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah …”
Skip to verse 11:
“Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?’ For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, ‘Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.’”
I encourage you to read all of chapter 1 from Jonah’s perspective and then again from the crew’s perspective because in our lives, we’ll experience both. At times our sin will cause us to actively rebel against God. Other times we’ll be affected by someone else’s rebellion. You’ve likely already experienced this. Maybe not on a ship in tumultuous waters but rebellion often creates a turbulent scene clouded in despair, depression, anger, sadness, pain, fear, and embarrassment. Sadly, we have no ability to predict or contain the consequence of sinful rebellion. And compounding this problem, sin’s consequences often affect the sinner and those surrounding them like in Jonah’s case.
Have the consequences of your sin ever cast a wider net than you imagined? Let’s ask God to help us hear and obey His voice and guard us against active rebellion.
Tasha Calvert is an author, speaker and Bible teacher. She currently serves as the Global Director of Women’s Ministry at Prestonwood, in Dallas, Texas. She is married to Robert and has four daughters and a son-in-law. Connect with her at www.tashacalvert.com