"Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil a has come up before me." 3 But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD." (Jonah 1:1-3 ESV)
Some thoughts on Jonah’s run from the Lord from James Montgomery Boice and Donald Grey Barnhouse:
“In his excellent preaching on Jonah, Donald grey Barnhouse often called attention to it by highlighting the phrase about Jonah “paying the fare.” He noted that Jonah did not get to where he was going since he was thrown overboard, and that he obviously did not get a refund on his ticket. So he paid the full fare and did not get to the end of his journey. Barnhouse said, ‘It is always that way. When you run away from the Lord you never get to where you are going, and you always pay your own fare. On the other hand, when you go the Lord’s way you always get to where you are going, and He pays the fare.’ That’s worth repeating [says Boice]: When you run away from the Lord you never get to where you are going, and you always pay your own fare. But when you go the Lord’s way you always get to where you are going, and He pays the fare.”Boice then draws the parallel between Jonah and Moses infant life. Jochebed, Moses’ mother, hid him as long as she could until she was forced to put him in a basket of reeds and place him in the river. Miriam, the sister to Moses, watched to see what would become of him. When Pharaoh’s daughter discovered Moses, Miriam asked her “Shall I go and call you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you? And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Go." So the girl went and called the child's mother. And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this child away and nurse him for me, and I will give you your wages." So the woman took the child and nursed him.” (Ex 2:7-9)
“I will pay you.” That is the point for which I tell the story. Jonah went his own way, paid his own far, and got nothing. Jochebed went God’s way. Consequently, God paid the fare, and she got everything. I repeat it once more: When you run away from the Lord you never get to where you are going, and you always pay your own fare. But when you go the Lord’s way you always get to where you are going, and He pays the fare.”Boice then concludes this section drawing one last parallel and promise as written by the Apostle Paul: “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Ph 1:6)
”Quite often we look at that verse merely as a statement of the “eternal security” of the Christian, which is all right. God will certainly continue His work with us, regardless of what happens, and will preserve us for Heaven. But this verse also means – we must not miss it – that God is so determined to perfect His good work in us that he will continue to do so with whatever it takes, regardless of the obedience or disobedience of the Christian. Will you go in His way? Then He will bless your life and encourage you. Will you run, as Jonah ran? Then He will trouble your life. If necessary, He will even break it into little pieces, if by so doing He enables you to walk in His way once again. If you disobey, you will find your initial disobedience easy. But after that the way will grow hard. If you obey Him, you will find the way paved with blessing.”All too much like Jonah, I am.
James Montgomery Boice. The Minor Prophets: Volume 1, An Expositional Commentary, Hosea-Jonah(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1983 rpt 2006), p. 267-268, 270