By: Ely Lagajino
“Go to great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” Jonah 1:2
One of the requirements to be a passenger boat captain in local coastal areas is to be a long-distance swimmer. One day a captain of the boat and his company attended a fiesta. With strong winds and bigger waves, the boat capsized. The captain swam towards the nearest island to seek help, but he drowned before reaching the island.
Let’s go back to the story of Prophet Jonah, who was commanded by God to go to Nineveh and preach against its wickedness. Nineveh was located on the fertile land of Tigris and became a great city, and it was the capital of the mighty Assyrian Empire that was Israel’s cruel enemy. Nineveh was a center of crime and wickedness as prophet Nahum compared it to a cruel ravenous Lion. (Nahum 3:1, 19)
Jonah could be one of the prophets who helped in Elisha’s ministry and trained in the prophets’ school (2-Kings 6:1). He served under king Jeroboam II, the most powerful king of Israel. He might be the most influential prophet who could speak the Assyrian language, and he probably was a long-distance swimmer and runner.
Jonah hated the Ninevites, They wanted all nations to acknowledge the supremacy of the Nineveh gods (PK p. 353). Many of his countrymen from Samaria had experienced the cruelty of these fierce people who were scattered into the different territories of Assyria.
Jonah didn’t want them to receive God’s mercy and grace, so he ran away from the Lord, boarded a ship from Joppa, going to Tarshish.
How many kilometers can we run away from God? Obeying God is better than running a thousand kilometers and swimming backstroke away into bitter experiences.