We ended “Ninevah: The Great City” with the encouraging fact that God does not just ask you to do something without also providing the tools for you to be successful at completing it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
In that reference we see another caution that if we think we are doing ok that we should be careful that we do not fall temptation which is common to mankind…which is disobeying God.
In Jonah 1:4-17 there is a lot but it starts with the Lord sending a great wind on the sea. This wind from the Lord then creates a violent storm that threatens to break the ship up.
The Lord is sending a hindrance to Jonah’s path NOT as a punishment for his disobedience but as a deterrent saying “If you keep going this way there is more pain and no joy. Stop, turn back, come back to me, and the pain will lessen and the joy will increase.”
This hindrance (the wind) causes other events that threaten to break your sin up so that you literally cannot move forward anymore in without great determination.
God is going to do anything in His power – which is everything – to stop you because He loves you! He loves you too much to let you continue in your sin. 1 John 4:9-12
But now at this point it is not just Jonah who is going to be experiencing the consequences of his sin. It is the other sailors. The sailors were frightened, they were innocent bystanders and began to try and do everything in their power to stop the calamity from becoming worse. People will try and do everything in their power to stop this God-given hindrance (which we know won’t work because God’s plan will not thwarted) and they will begin to panic.
Jonah’s sin has involved him and the other sailors. So let’s say that you received a mandate from the Lord to go and talk to someone. You say “no, I don’t know them. It’ll be awkward, no. I’ll go over to the other person I know” or you say “no, I’ll just not talk to anyone/go home.” Well you have not only sinned by being disobedient/not moving but now your sin has affected the person God wanted you to talk to. That person could have been a divine appointment that would have been extremely beneficial to the both of you, but no. You deprived them of that and God now has to use a different vessel who is willing.
If you went to another person and started talking to them, the effect will nowhere near be as beneficial or filled with the Spirit as the “what if” would be. “What if I had spoken to that person like God told me to?” When you disobey, your disobedience affects and involves other people. They will not understand why things are affecting them, it is because you involved them by your disobedience.
Sooner or later, this sin is going to find you out. It’s going to call you out IF you don’t repent and turn back. You keep going on the path that God is trying to turn you back from, the sin is going to come out.
Look at Jonah 1:5b-8. Jonah is asleep (you may be comfortable in your sin! You may be thinking you are fine and dandy with what you are doing – even though you know you are going against God) and the captain comes to him. The chief person of all who are involved comes to Jonah and is like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?! How on earth can you be comfortable with the current situation?? Why are you not trying to fix the situation like everyone else? Come on, come try to fix the problem with the rest of us! We are suffering, you have to as well.”
Misery loves company so when your sin starts to affect other people, they’re going to pull you in. You have disobedience with gossiping? Guess what, if you don’t stop people are going to start pulling you into the people who are being gossiped about.
The sailors then say “we need to figure out who is causing this dilemma that is affecting all of us.” So they draw straws (cast lots) and guess who gets the short end of the stick? That’s right – the person who is causing this by being disobedient. God is still trying to get Jonah to repent by sending the wind which causes the storm, which causes panic, which causes the captain to pull him out his slumber, which then causes the lot to fall on him.
Your sin will find you out, IF you do not repent and do what God wants you to do. That is the beauty of the cross, Jesus has made a way for us to constantly turn from our sin and come back to the Father.
So they figure out it is Jonah – you’ve been found out. You can’t back out of it now – and they begin to question him. “Who are you, what’s your story, which one is your god, etc.?” Now they do know that Jonah is running from his god but that really isn’t a big deal to them. They were probably polytheistic meaning they believed in many gods. In the polytheistic religions you are constantly running from one god/goddess and running towards another.
In the play SEU put on this part semester it was a Greek tragedy and it obviously involved Greek mythology. But in it is a struggle between two goddesses – the goddess of love and the goddess of virginity. These are two opposing goddesses and the title character chooses the goddess of virginity over the goddess of love. He was running to one goddess and from the other.
So these sailors are aware that you can run from a god, hence their inaction to what he said before this storm.
But they now know which God he worships and they know God’s history or reputation. Everyone knows God’s real reputation and not the horrid representation of Him that we offer sometimes. They – the sailors – knew about all that God had done. This God was the same one who parted the formidable Red Sea, had handed over the entire land of Canaan to the Israelites and ensured victory after victory to the Israelites. (Read your Old Testament to get those references – I’m not handing it to you this time ;)) The people in Jericho knew of God and what He could do – they were melting with fear at the pending approach of the Israelites. Rahab, the prostitute, knew that the people of God were protected and blessed.
People know what GOD, I AM THAT I AM, is capable of. But, like normal our humanity gets in the way. The sailors begin to ask Jonah on what they should do. And Jonah tells them exactly what they need to do and what do they do? Well the logical thing – try and row back to land, the opposite of what God had told them to do.
I can understand why they would do this – they were afraid to harm the anointed one of God. David – the man after God’s own heart – was sickened and guilt-stricken when he took the hem of Saul’s robe. God’s anointed are precious in His sight and these sailors knew this as well. They were between a rock and a hard-place as far as decisions go – keep the man of God on board and possibly all drown or throw the man of God overboard and possibly face the wrath of God.
What were they supposed to do, other than to give in and do what God wanted them to do.