Jonah part 2, A study of Jonah 1:4 & 5, Jonah 1:6, and Jonah 1:7 featuring our Common Man's Commentary

Jonah 1:4 & 5

"Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep." NIV translation

Jonah is happy and confident in his decision to disobey God and run away to Tarshish. While God sent a very bad storm to shake things up, he was below deck sleeping soundly. The rest of the ship was in a panic and even throwing away their cargo which would have meant they were not going to get much of a paycheck at the end of the journey. These were sailors used to storms on the seas and they knew that this was not your ordinary storm or they would not have been in a panic. There is a very good lesson for us today in this passage. We often judge whether we are "in the will of God" by how comfortable our current conditions are instead of by God's Word. The prophet was comfortable, in fact he was so comfortable that he could sleep through this massive storm but we know by the first three verses that he was definitely not in the "will of God".

Jonah 1:6

"The captain went to him and said, 'How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish.'" NIV translation

In the midst of his sleep, God sent the captain of the ship to get the reluctant prophet's attention. The captain and crew are trying everything to stay alive and yet the passenger is asleep. The captain asked Jonah to pray but it is hard to imagine that he felt like praying at this time. Although the prophet will pray later, at this time he does not as he already knows the will of God because he is running from it. 

You see, disobedience brings distance in that, when we are disobeying God, we tend to get further and further away from Him. Until we repent and choose to get back into His will, we probably do not want to pray and seek His face. The good news is that God is always there waiting for us to come back to Him! We can pray (even in our disobedience) but keep in mind that the first thing God wants to hear in that situation is repentance.

Jonah 1:7

"Then the sailors said to each other, 'Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity." They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah." NIV translation

The sailors are still trying to find out what is going on and so resort to casting lots. This is a superstitious thing in this case even though God had provided for a similar way of making decisions for the Israelites (see Exodus 28:30). These sailors were not Israelites but even they knew that a god would control the lot (they just did not know the one true God). So, they cast the lot and it fell to Jonah. You see God is in control of everything and this can serve to remind us of that fact.

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