Running Away from Home
from the Jonah reading plan
Read the Word
Jonah 1:1-3 | Genesis 10:9-12 | 1 Kings 10:21-23 | Genesis 3:8-9
When you were a child, did you ever try to run away from home? Maybe you were angry at your parents for some reason, or you were feeling neglected. Maybe you did something wrong and were hoping to avoid punishment. You may have packed a bag and headed down the street, fully planning to never return. But eventually, you came back – perhaps even minutes later – and were reunited with your family.
Jonah’s story begins with his attempt to run away from God. God tells him to go to the great city of Nineveh, the soon-to-be capital of the Assyrian empire. But Jonah decides to head in pretty much the exact opposite direction. Instead of journeying 500 miles northeast by land, he boards a ship that is heading to Tarshish, 2500 miles in the opposite direction.
From the moment that sin entered the world, humans have been trying to run away from God. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve hid from God because they were ashamed of being naked and of disobeying God’s commands. Two times the text tells us that Jonah’s goal was to flee “from the presence of the Lord.”
Jonah is about to find out that running away from God is impossible. God is everywhere. And He relentlessly pursues us when we stray. David said in Psalm 139, “where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! … If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me” (Psalm 139:7b-10a).
David knew what Jonah failed to grasp – there is no place we can go to avoid God’s presence. Even if we try to run away, our loving Father is there, patiently waiting with open arms for us to return.
Why do you think Jonah tried to run away from what God asked him to do? Have you ever tried to run from something God was asking you to do? What happened?
Did you ever run away from home as a child? What happened? Regardless of whether it is a positive memory for you or a painful one, take a moment to thank God today for being a loving Father who welcomes us home with loving arms.