Who hasn't run away from God?
Who hasn't had a little heart to heart with God and tried to sway Him to a different point of view?
Who hasn't sulked around for days because He wasn't doing according to our will?
We can relate to all of these actions that Jonah engages in. Too often we can see ourselves in Jonah's attitudes and much less in God's attitudes.
1:1 - The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying,
The word of the Lord, indeed, comes to us also as we feel led to take action on God initiated impulses.
1:2 - “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.”
We have been called to preach the gospel in all sorts of "Ninevehs", whether that's our workplace, our community, our family or our friends.
1:3 - But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. So he went down to Joppa, found a ship which was going to Tarshish, paid the fare and went down into it to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
Too often, out of selfish desires, we also run from God's command.
It is clear we are to pray, but we don't make the time.
It is clear we need to study God's word, but we don't have time.
It is clear we should give, but we don't have enough...after we satisfy ourselves.
It is clear we are to love only God, but we love just ourselves and idols.
We too, pay a price to run from God.
Here we find the premise for the entire book: God expresses His will and man refuses to do it. Everything that follows is a variant on this theme.