Jon 1:1-2 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
This story starts off with the Lord giving a command to Jonah. It was very straight-forward and clear what Jonah was to do.
Jon 1:3 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.
Jonah did not like what he was told to do. So he decided to go to Tarshish, where he thought he would be able to get away from the Lord. Jonah tells the Lord in chapter four the reason why he went to Tarshish.
Jon 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Jonah told the Lord the reason he fled was because he knew the character of the Lord. He knew that the Lord was gracious, merciful, long-suffering, kind and that the Lord would not destroy Nineveh if they repented.
Jon 1:4 But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.
Jonah was not going to get out of doing what he was suppose to do so easily. The Lord send a great storm. The storm got the attention of the mariners, but it did not get the attention of Jonah. In fact he was doing his very best to ignore the whole situation as he was found sleeping down in the boat.
Jon 1:8-10 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
The mariners questioned Jonah to find out why the terrible storm was raging, and when they found out they were terrified.
Jon 1:11-12 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
The mariners want to know what to do to stop the storm; Jonah came up with a solution, but the mariners did not like the idea. It is interesting to note that no where do we see Jonah praying, asking for forgiveness. It almost seems like he doesn't care. In chapter four, twice Jonah asks the Lord to let him die, perhaps Jonah here was thinking it would be better to die in the water than to have to preach in Nineveh.
Jon 1:14-17 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows. Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
The mariners beg the Lord to not punish them for throwing Jonah overboard, then they threw him into the sea. The storm stopped when Jonah was thrown into the water, and the mariners feared the Lord because of His great power. The Lord sent a great fish to swallow Jonah, and for three days Jonah had time to think about what he had done. The Lord was using a time-out on Jonah!
Chapter 2 finds Jonah praying to the Lord, and the Lord commanded the fish to spit Jonah out.
Jon 3:1-3 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey.
The Lord once again instructs Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach to the people. This time Jonah has learned his lesson and he obeys the Lord's instruction.
The Lord in this story has an interesting way of dealing with Jonah. He gives Jonah the instructions and Jonah just directly disobeys. The Lord then sends the storm to get Jonah's attention, but the mariners are paying better attention than Jonah. Once Jonah is thrown overboard, the Lord has Jonah's undivided attention for three days. The consequences for Jonah's actions were enough to get him to go to Nineveh. The Lord did whatever it took to get Jonah to obey, and He used some rather unorthodox methods to accomplish his purpose.
As parents, when our children disobey are there times that an unorthodox approach to getting the results we desire is necessary? Are we willing to do whatever it takes to get our child's attention so that they will obey?