Share |

Jonah, the big fish and a message to pass on
 

The Tarshish Syndrome


  • * I would rather be somewhere else!
  • * I would rather be doing something else!
  • * I will physically and deliberately arrange my circumstances to avoid what it is I know I should be doing!

Yonah 1:1-3, "And the Word of יהוה came to Yonah, son of Amittai, saying,

"Arise, go to Ninewĕh, the great city, and cry out against it, for their evils have come up before me." But Yonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of יהוה and went down to Yapho and found a ship going to Tarshish and he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of יהוה.

It is an unfortunate truth, that the human condition is mostly and primarily concerned with self. Every single being on planet earth will admit, if they are honest at some time to have had at least the first two parts of Yonah's Tarshish Syndrome:

  • * I would rather be somewhere else
  • * I would rather be doing something else

But what about the third?

  • * I will physically and deliberately arrange my circumstances to avoid what it is I know I should be doing

Again the human condition prompts us to moan and groan, but to actually do something about it? Well, that takes effort, and not too many of us are willing to exert that energy. So the first two parts of Yonah's Tarshish Syndrome just become empty wants or wishes. And instead of doing what we are doing - to יהוהs esteem - we moan and groan in our labours, and sometimes even in our pleasures.

If you read Yonah 1:1-3, you would be forgiven for thinking Yonah received the Word of יהוה Elohim, then that same night he rose up to flee to Tarshish. And of course, that is possibly how it was. - But if you read Yonah 4:1-2:

But it greatly displeased Yonah, and he was grieved. And he prayed to יהוה and he said, please יהוה was this not what I said while I was in my own land? This is why I went ahead and fled to Tarshish. For I know that you are an Ĕl and showing favour, and compassionate, patient and of great kindness and relenting from doing evil.

The key words here are "he said, please יהוה was this not what I said while I was in my own land?" so to me it is fairly obvious that Yonah had been having a conversation, or series of conversations with יהוה about Ninewĕh. Did this really happen in one night? Or did it take place over several nights - or even months - because in the end Yonah got so fed up with  יהוה telling him to cry out against Ninewĕh, the last time יהוהs Word came to him, he said to himself, "That's it, I've had enough, I'm getting out of here, I'm going to Tarshish!" and of course, the rest as they say, is history.

How about you friend? Have you been given a message to pass on? Would you rather be somewhere else? Would you rather be doing something else? Or have you bought that ticket to Tarshish? To Yonah, Tarshish, he thought was his escape route. It was a distraction, a better option, or so he thought, of his own choosing. He was using Tarshish to take his mind off the task he was meant to be carrying out.

Friend, what is your Tarshish? What is your distraction? You may have many, or you may have just one. Whatever it is, or they are, think on:-

Because if you have a message to pass on - no matter how disagreeable that message may be to the recipient or recipients, or even to yourself, if that message is from יהוה Elohim, there will be no escaping - you may think you have escaped- but יהוה never gives up, and in the end you will do what He wants you to do anyway.

Let's face it - your Tarshish isn't going to involve being swallowed by a big fish... Is it?? So what is the worst that can happen? If יהוה has chosen you, there is no need to fear the consequences whatever they may be.

Hallelu-Yah for choosing you, for trusting you to pass on that message. Amĕn

 

Click on Articles for more reading


Assembly - First Shabbat of the month