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.
When I first picked up the game of golf, the best advice I received was to buy name brand equipment so it was warranted and would last a few seasons. I didn’t heed the advice and went to the local sporting goods store to buy the cheapest bag I could find. Back then, the good golf equipment wasn’t readily available and required either ordering or driving a long distance. After about three rounds, the padding for the carry strap burst at the seams and one of the zippers slid off its track. The next thing I knew, I was ordering a carry bag from one of the big manufacturers. I paid for two golf bags in the first month of my golf career because of my impatience and failure to heed the advice from someone who knew better.
Jonah was commanded by God to go unto Nineveh and warn its increasingly sinful people. Instead of following the order from our Lord, he attempted to flee into Tarshish with the hope of distancing himself from the matter. In verse 3, we find the hidden detail that Jonah had to “foot his own bill” when he found a ship headed in that direction. Sometimes when we receive direction or instruction from God we react in the same fashion. In an attempt to avoid God, it is necessary to pay an extra fare to go in the opposite direction. After we find ourselves failing and out of the will of God, we have to backtrack and pay double the cost in order to arrive at the same place we were originally directed. God’s will can never be thwarted or hindered by man’s impatience or disobedience. Just as we are told “today is the day of salvation”, the same is true with His commands and orders. Satan is most active from between the time the Holy Spirit convicts a soul and the decision to place faith in Jesus Christ. Satan is awakened and alerted when a soul is given spiritual direction from God. The only thing that can lessen his power and influence is to swiftly and fully obey the command of the Holy Spirit. We then are fully empowered and protected by being in His will. We as believers should yearn for the direction of the Holy Spirit. The costs of disobedience far outweigh the blessings of abiding in His will. The costs for obedience have been prepaid!