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September 6 – Anywhere but Nineveh!

“But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” – Jonah 1:3

Scripture Reading: Jonah 1:3-4

Jonah hears the command of the Lord and what does he do? He goes in the direct opposite direction of where he was told to go! He’s a runaway prophet, and he’s serious about running away. He’s not like a kid who says to his parents that he’s going to run away from home and then only gets to the neighbour’s driveway.

No, Jonah goes as far as he can: he’s gone, and he’s gone for good. He’s told to go eastward (toward modern-day Iraq) and he goes westward (modern-day Spain). Jonah goes up to the ticket booth, and says, “One ticket to NOT Nineveh, please!” Anywhere but Nineveh!

Jonah is determined to run away. Riding a ship was an unusual thing to do for a Hebrew because the Hebrews were not seafaring people. Plus, the Philistines had control over the coastal waters at this time. This was a very dangerous voyage.

One pastor has said: “If you start running from the Lord, the devil will always have a boat for you. And you’ll always have money to pay the way.”

Jonah is intent on running away from the presence of the Lord. But the Lord pursues Jonah. The Lord won’t let Jonah run away completely. This is God’s grace toward Jonah.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for those who might be running away from the Lord for whatever reason. May they know that they can’t escape the Lord’s presence.

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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