But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish…
This dereliction of duty could not arise from imperfect acquaintance with God's will. That is nowhere intimated in the narrative. It was deliberate disobedience.
1. The arduousness of the duty may have been one cause of the sin. He shrank from the service because of the hardships he supposed to be involved in it. He thought of the journey; of the probable reception of his message by the Ninevites; and of possible violence done to himself by them. If God calls to arduous duty, He is prepared to give all needed grace for doing it.
2. The mortification of his own vanity. God's mercy and forbearance on repentance Jonah feared would be a personal dishonour to him as a prophet. Rather than subject himself to the possibility of such mortification Jonah chose to decline the duty altogether. This motive argues a painful obtuseness of right human feelings. Learn —
1. In the prosecution of arduous and self-denying duties to seek the help of God, and not throw off our responsibilities by shunning them. Responsibility can only be met by the conscientious discharge of duty. Human nature often shrinks, as Jonah did, from this duty, but let us be faithful to God, and depend on Him for strength and blessing.
2. And let us discharge all our obligations to our fellew-men from a sincere desire to benefit them and please God. Let us not mingle personal vanity with any of our religious endeavours, nor be too anxious about our fame and reputation. Our record is on high, our judgment is with our God.
Parallel VersesKJV: But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
WEB: But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid its fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Yahweh.