Jonah: Flight and Pursuit

Collin Selman
3 min readDec 14, 2022


Jonah 1:3–8


Last session discussed the three main characters in this book: God, Jonah, and Nineveh. And we explored the fact that this book is emphatically about God! God is the main actor.


Last session we touched on this, but what was Jonah’s occupation? A prophet. And what was a prophet supposed to do? Declare the word of the Lord. So here we have a prophet of the Lord being called to declare His Word…and Jonah books it in the other direction.

How did other prophets respond to “the word of the Lord?” 1 Kings 17:1–6, Jeremiah 1:4–10,

Have you ever felt a calling from God? How have you handled it?


We have to remember as a prophet, Jonah knew that God was omnipresent, but also understand that Jonah did not have the indwelt Holy Spirit like we do today. God was omnipresent, but the presence of the Lord was specifically on/at Israel. Israel at the time was supposed to be the nexus of where God revealed himself.

With these things in mind, why do you think Jonah was running?

Jonah was not hiding from God like Adam and Eve, who were literally trying to hide from God thinking they could escape His notice. No, it is possible, among other possible reasons to be fair, that Jonah was intent on making himself unusable.

In what ways do we make ourselves unusable to God in this day and age?

Although another reason could certainly have been that he was overwhelmed with his emotions regarding Nineveh (which we’ll get into later). What emotions do you think Jonah was experiencing that would push him to run? Do we ever let our emotions dictate our actions?

Sovereignty of God

We see in these few short verses, that God is intent on pursuing Jonah and uses his power and sovereignty:

Over the Sea (Creation, vs.4–6, 15)

In the initial storm (probably Pheonician sailors, people used to the sea and they were terrified, this was a severe storm). And this is reminiscent of another storm: Matthew 8:23–27.

What comparisons can be made between Jesus and Jonah here? Acting within or outside of God’s will.

Over the Lots (Chance/Coincidence)

Throughout the Bible we see God dictating his will through seeming chance. See Proverbs 16:33, Leviticus 16:7–10, and Acts 1:23–26.

Why did the casting of the lots work?

Over the Fish (Circumstances)

God used his sovereignty to get Jonah back into his will. Even though from Jonah’s perspective he was far from it.

Is it easy for you to see God’s hand at work around you? If not, why not? Do you believe that He still has this type of sovereignty and can work in similar ways?


  • In what ways do we try to flee from God?
  • How is God trying to get our attention and we’re turning a blind eye?
  • What sins do we stubbornly hold onto?




Collin Selman

A Christian, a husband, a father, a blue-collar intellectual, an engineer, a carpenter, a gardener, and who knows what else in the future.