Reflecting on Jonah 1

The book of Jonah does not look favorably on its namesake. It seems like everyone in the story is better at listening to God than he, even the pagans manning the ship he is using to sail away from the command of God. Few preachers, I'm sure, have made much of the parallel of Jonah and Jesus sleeping in the bottom of a boat. Jesus does say that the people will receive the sign of Jonah, but I am sure that's not what he meant.

You have to love the sailors in this story. They know a god has caused the violent storm they are in and they do everything in their power to appease this god. They also do everything humanly speaking to conquer the storm. They lighten the ship and they try to row for shore, but nothing works. You cannot resist the Lord, or as the sailors say, "After all, you, LORD, have done just as you pleased." This is a major theme in Jonah, the freedom of God and the futility of resistance. When they threw Jonah overboard and the storm subsided they were gripped with a terrible fear (fearing they feared, literally) and they made vows to the Lord. Don't think these are wimpy modern worship vows either (I will give you everything... until I walk out the door), these people truly feared God for they had seen his destructive power. I am sure they lived up to their vows.

The sailors made me laugh when they spoke to Jonah. They knew when he got on board that he had fled from the presence of the Lord. No big deal. Who cares what conflicts one man has with his own God. However, when the lot falls to Jonah they ask him, "who do you worship?" Jonah tells them that his God is the Lord of the land and the sea. Their response is classic, "What have you done?" Sure, when this was just some normal wimpy personal god it was no big deal, but his god is causing a violent storm that is about to destroy them. He is not just Jonah's personal god/servant, he is the God of the land and the sea. Idiot! You don't flee from a sea god on a boat! What was he thinking? In fact, Jonah had no where to go. Even if they had made it to shore they would not have saved their lives. His god was the god of the land as well. Jonah, you fool, did you not know whom you serve?

Is there a lesson here for us?

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  • http://solidairchurch.blogspot.com

    fly in the air. avoid the sea and the land!

    so ah. There is no escape is what you are telling me. Man, what did I sign up for?

    We are all in it for the long haul whether we know it or not. I guess at least I know it. – and joking aside – I do love Him.

    He is all, and in all, all is for Him.

    I love Jesus! My Captor, My Judge, My Slavemaster, My King.

  • Steve,
    It’s funny you mention air, ’cause Jonah actually said, ” I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” I think “heaven” has the air covered too.

  • Amira

    Seems to me that the blog, long overdue, and Steve’s response answer the last entry. What response other than total devotion can there be to th Lord of all, and hence there is all the reason necessary to tell others about Him. Whether they choose to believe is irrelevant, He still is.
    In constant awe, Amira