Disobedience, rebellion, and hardening of the heart are processes. Interestingly, Prophet Jonah chose the downward journey as he tried to flee from God’s call and commandment. Jonah was righteous and had the right relationship with God, hence, he was appointed to go as a cross-culturally missionary to Nineveh. (Jonah 1: 2) Some Jewish traditions state that Jonah had prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem. As the city repented, there was no destruction. Jonah thought the same may happen to Nineveh.
Thought and will: Jonah’s immediate response was partial obedience. He debated in his mind and decided to go but not to the exact destination God had called him. He went down to Joppa (seaport) in his thoughts and his will (decision). (Jonah 1:3) At the seaport he found the ship going to Tarshish. Which was far away from the God-given destination.
Physical action: After finding a ship going to Tarshish, Jonah went down to the ship. (Jonah 1:3) By doing so, he has shut any possibility of going to Nineveh.
Depth of sleep and ship: Jonah wanted the bottom deck of the ship. (Jonah 1:5) Jonah was able to put off any thought of going to Nineveh, which was towards another destination. He thought no one would bother him anymore. Probably, he estimated that when he would wake up, he would be nearer to Tarshish or reach his presumed safe haven.
Depth of the sea: The storm created a commotion in the ship. The captain of the ship was annoyed to see Jonah in a deep sleep. He was woken up and found that he was fleeing from the presence of God. Jonah himself gave a solution to throw him into the sea. Jonah went down to the bottom of the sea. (Jonah 2:7)
Depth of God’s love: God could have left Jonah to drown and die, the path he chose. However, God’s grace was evident through a fish that swallowed Jonah. The fish stomach became his secret prayer chamber, where he could commit again to do God’s will.
Do I flee from doing His Will?