We established a couple of days ago that God's call to go to Nineveh was dangerous for Jonah, but there was another reason Jonah disobeyed God. In chapter 4, he said he knew God would be merciful on the Assyrians. In Jonah's mind, "How could God allow them to be spared after their unspeakable acts of gross and violent sin?" God's call was just too difficult to be obeyed.
God's call is not always easy. It is not always glamorous. It is not without challenges. Jesus endured attacks, slander, hatred, and even murder for my crimes. Why would I expect anything less as his follower? This world is not done killing Jesus. According to him, "The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). There will be battle fatigue and harassment in serving Jesus, but don't quit when you grow weary. Look to Jesus. Cry out to him. Don't forget God wants you and has custom built you for this moment.
But sadly, when God said GO, Jonah said NO. He didn't misunderstand; he just didn't like it. And so he went to Joppa (a seaport) and found a ship going to Tarshish (opposite way). By the way, Satan always has a ship available and he'll make sure you find it. But his luxurious ships always sail in the opposite direction from God's best. In Jonah's mind, Tarshish was an easier way and more convenient. He could distance himself from God's call on his life. But nobody can get away from the presence of the Lord…not even you.
"Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD" (Jeremiah 23:24). Where are you going to go that God is not there? You can skip church or stop reading Scripture, but God will graciously not leave you alone. He has created you to glorify him in gospel ministry. Don't run from his call.
There is always a cost to obey God, but there is always a cost to disobey God. Unfortunately, we are too eager to pay that price. You will either pay for sin or you will pay for the Savior. But if you pay for sin, you'll never get to where you want to be. Have you ever noticed that Jonah never got what he paid for? He never got to the destination he wanted on the ship. You too will pay to disobey but you will never get what you paid for.
Once you know you're supposed to serve God but decide not to, you'll not be happy doing anything else. You will get by. Life will happen. You'll have a family and make money. But nothing else the rest of your life will make you totally happy. There is a consequence to disobeying God's call. Don't live your life your way. Don't be a selfish believer. Don't leave God.
Food for thought: Every decision has a price. What are you spending your life on?