But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord…
Do you know Jonah’s story? He was told by God to go to Nineveh, and to speak a word of warning there. But he didn’t want to go to Nineveh, or to speak of judgment to the Ninevites. So he went in the opposite direction. He was running from God. The rest of this verse says that he got to Joppa, and paid the fare for a boat to Tarshish. When we sin—insist on living life on our terms—there is always a fare to be paid. It costs us something to run from God.
I know a married woman who fell in love with another man. She left her husband, and went off with this man for three weeks. At the end of that time, she could not bear her guilt any longer, and she came home to her husband and daughter. Her husband, like a modern-day Hosea, took his wayward wife back and forgave her. But she is still struggling in her relationship with the daughter she abandoned. “I’ve lost her,” she said. “She’s angry and rebellious, and she won’t listen to a word I say. I’m afraid my sin has cost me my daughter.” It’s expensive to live life on our own terms, with no regard for God and His commands. He will forgive us when we repent, and remember our sin no more, but He does not erase the consequences. It costs something to run from God, and sometimes the price tag is higher than we ever could have imagined.
~ Dr. Edwin Young ~