Ignoring God’s Call Successfully, the Jonah Way

As we all know, Jonah is the shortest book in the bible, coming in at a mere three verses. It tells us of a call placed upon Jonah and Jonah’s successful attempt at ignoring it,

The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish. (Jonah 1:1-3 NLT)

Why the canon compilers chose to include this fragment, but wholly contained story, in the canon is beyond me, but I believe that looking closely, we can see that Jonah was successful in escaping God’s call. No doubt, what the story which ends abruptly with Jonah boarding a cruise ship would have recorded was that Jonah enjoyed himself during the cruise and landing in Tarshish, finished life on a beach, perhaps even with a pina colada or something.

What does this tell us? That our freewill trumps the will of God, and that unlike some who believe that they have to surrender to God’s call, all we really need to do is to jump on a cruise ship and relax.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

2 thoughts on “Ignoring God’s Call Successfully, the Jonah Way

  1. The book of Jonah contains much more than that. You are reading a corrupted version of the Bible if that is all that is in there. Not all Bibles are the true Word of God, some wolves have smuggled their own false versions in with the real ones, and spread much confusion over the years, like those idiots in the Jehovah’s Witnesses, or the Catholics.

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