Jonah 1:1-3 KJV
Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Arise, go to
, that great city, and cry against it;
for their wickedness is come up before me. Nineveh
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.
Jonah chose to disobey God and turn away from what is modern day
Iraq in favor of what is probably modern day Spain.
In fleeing toward Tarshish Jonah attempted to flee from the presence of the
was a continent away. Its cultures and past seemed disconnected from that of
the Middle East.
But Jonah could go nowhere to escape God's presence.
- He could not escape it in the ship
- He could not escape it in the fish's belly
- He could not have escaped it even in hell
- He certainly would not have escaped it in Tarshish
There is more comfort in this than dread. Sometimes a man wants to get away from God. His self destructive tendencies may drive him into absolute desperation where there is apparently no escaping the catastrophe he finds himself in. Being in that place he may come to himself, as the Prodigal Son did, and that is when he will be most happy that he had been unsuccessful in getting far from God.
Nineveh represented the great power of gentile middle
easterners while Tarshish seemed like worlds away. Some even believer that there
is even a connection between Tarshish and the lost city of Atlantis.