The prophet Jonah exhibited great reluctance when God asked him to deliver a message laced with menace to the Assyrian capital city of Nineveh. That the message foretold the destruction of Nineveh because of God’s wrath was not what shook Jonah to the core. He knew that the people of Nineveh deserved their just desserts because of their wickedness. However, he was aware of their cruel nature. He feared that, like other prophets before him, his head would be dangling from the sharp end of a spear by the time he finished delivering his message. He was so afraid that he took a ship sailing in the opposite direction. He fled hoping that God would somehow fail to see him if he blended in with the multitude.
It was wishful thinking for Jonah. Everyone who has read the Bible now knows that the ship that sheltered him encountered a terrible storm. To placate God and escape the turbulence, the men on board the ship threw Jonah overboard. From being buffeted by monstrous waves, only to fall straight into the gaping mouth of a gigantic fish, Jonah realized that his time was up. The belly of the fish will become his graveyard unless he accedes to God’s command to proclaim his will amid the lurking dangers of Nineveh.
In the end, it all worked out fine. Jonah did not lose his head and, as it turned out, his fears were unfounded. God’s will prevails no matter anyone’s initial reluctance.