Yesterday you did the hard work of looking for a chiasm in the book of Jonah. Way to go! Some of you shared your insights on Facebook, and I was so thrilled that you did! If you felt lost or overwhelmed, don’t sweat it. Today, we’ll take a look at the chiasm a bit closer. If the literary structure study excited you, that is great! Be sure to share your excitement with others!

Here is the chiastic structure found in Jonah 1:3 –

A – to run away toward Tarshish from the presence of the Lord

            B – he went down to Joppa

                        C – found a ship

                        C1 – paid the fare

            B1 – and went down into it

A1 – to go … to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord

Do you see the downward progression that this structure is pointing out to us? Jonah is running from God and so he goes down, and then he goes down further, all because (as the author reiterates) he is running from the presence of the Lord. The author wants to make it painstakingly clear to us that Jonah is on a downward spiral all because he is running from God.

We’re going to see this theme of downward progression throughout the book (and, later, we will see the overarching chiastic structure of upward and downward movement). But here is what you and I need to take from today: When we run from God we move ourselves along a downward spiral. Avoiding the call of God can initially seem somewhat harmless. If God is calling us to repent of sin, we don’t often ignore that call altogether, we just justify our actions so as to avoid the prodding of the Spirit. If God calls us to move forward in obedience, we don’t often tell him “no,” we just busy ourselves with other seemingly important things to do instead. But no matter how harmless it seems, running from God is always, always a downward progression.

Are there any areas in your life in which you’re running from God?


How might you move forward in repentance and/or obedience today?


 Thank God for the beauty of His Word. Ask Him to help you walk in obedience and to always stay sensitive to His call.




Head over to Facebook and join the group discussion about the literary structure (look for this graphic)!

Author: amygannett

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