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Read Introduction to Jonah

 

Jonah 1: 11 “Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?’—for the sea was growing more tempestuous.”  12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.” 13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.”

 

1:11

Then they said to him, ‘What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous

The sailors asked Jonah for the mind of God on their crisis.  They did not want to dump Jonah into the sea.  They displayed more compassion for the one man, Jonah, than Jonah himself did for the 600,000 Ninevites. 

It was not the mariners’ fault that they had a runaway prophet on board: “Why did our ship happen to be in Joppa when Jonah arrived?  Why are we so unfortunate?  Why couldn’t Jonah have found another ship or come at another time?”  They probably screened their passengers after this to make sure that they did not have any more renegade prophets on board! 

1:12

And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”

Jonah came clean about the cause of the raging storm – it was his rebellion against God’s will. 

1:13

Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them.

The sailors tried to save Jonah even in the face of what he told them: “After all, Jonah paid his fare.”  But it is vain to go against a sovereign God.  They tried everything in their power to save the ship and Jonah but the only way they would be saved was to throw Jonah overboard. 

1:14

Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, “We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man’s life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You.”

The sailors finally came to the realization of the pointlessness of their exertion.  They then prayed that the LORD would not hold them responsible for Jonah’s death.  They did not want to incur God’s wrath for killing Jonah.  It is interesting that they addressed their prayer to the LORD (Jehovah) and not to a god in the pantheon.

The mariners recognized the sovereignty of God: “You, O LORD, have done as it pleased You.”  They said in effect, “You characteristically do as you please.”  They understood the sovereignty of God. 

1:15

So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging.

What a picture – Jonah sailing through the air into the sea!  The will of God became immediately apparent when “the sea ceased from its raging.”  They got rid of their problem prophet.  They threw no life preserver after him!  “Good riddance, we don’t want him back.”  However, the Lord was not finished with Jonah yet.  This was the first of a number of miracles in the book of Jonah. 

1:16

Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.

In another contrast, Jonah still disobeyed God and the heathen sailors praised Him.  This situation brought them to faith in Jehovah.  They learned the uselessness of their own endeavors and turned to God to deliver them.  Man, by man’s effort, cannot put himself in right relation to God.  Jonah needed to learn this lesson as well. 

The two words “feared” and “exceedingly” are literally, “The men feared the LORD with a great fear.”  This is an emphatic idea putting importance on the magnitude of their awe of God.  This is a strange turn of events – sailors come to God in the context of Jonah’s rebellion.  God used Jonah in spite of himself.  Genuine believers manifest true faith.  They always accept God’s way as best.  

PRINCIPLE: 

God wants us to be a wing rather than a weight to those around us. 

APPLICATION: 

As Jonah was a weight rather than a wing to the sailors of the ship, so we can be a weight to the cause of Christ.  A backslider is a curse to those in association with him.  If our old nature is in the ascendancy, we do not have a testimony to those around us.  We are a curse rather than a blessing.  We are a weight to those who come into contact with us.  We are a liability, not an asset to others. 

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