Jonah heard God’s call but instead of obeying he rebelled. He tried to run 1000+ miles away from Nineveh, “away from the presence of the Lord” (1:3 twice; 1:10). He went down to Joppa, found a ready ship and paid the fare to leave, going down into the ship to lay down to sleep. Talk about escape!
– Jonah’s contrariness cost his fellowship with God. He couldn’t pray (1:6).
– Jonah’s contrariness cost others. They hurled expensive cargo (1:5); they feared for life (1:5,10, 14); and they even made vows (irrationally?) to the Lord (1:16) – don’t you just wonder what they committed to do?
- Other people are in spiritual danger because God’s people are disobedient. Note the irony of unbelievers having a theological discussion (1:5-16) and yet Jonah is sleeping physically & spiritually. In fact, these unbelieving sailors are more compassionate to save him than he, as a prophet, is to save the Assyrians.
Rebellion can be a simple ‘no’ or a significant defiance; but both are contrary to God’s Lordship. In fact, running from God can be comfortable but never without consequence. The enemy always has a ready ship to Tarshish; it is his role to make rebellion seem relaxing.
 “went down” is also euphemism for death (Gen 37:35), suggesting each step away from God is closer to death.