But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord. Jonah 1:3

The exact location of Tarshish is lost to antiquity, but symbolically speaking here it is meant to describe a place very far away. The connotation in this verse from the Book of Jonah is that Jonah was going as far away as he could to get away from God and God’s call to him.

What is your “Tarshish,” your place very far away to escape from God? For many, it may be our smartphones. We can go down rabbit holes of information that can take us very far from our faith. We can hide away from God in addictions or obsessions. We can sail away on the winds of secular society which often has no place for God in its worldview.

The joy of Jonah is that Jonah does not reach Tarshish. God sends a great fish to swallow him up and return him to where he should be. Jonah then follows God’s call, and the people he was called to preach to listen and repent and turn their lives to God.

We have a God who pulls us out of any “Tarshish” or path to “Tarshish” and places us where we should be that we might serve the Lord as he has called us to. Even a “Tarshish” cannot keep us away from God forever. Thanks be to God.

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