Summary: Jonah was a last forced to identify himself and in so doing made a confession about the God of the Hebrews. His confession in an audible voice aroused an Inner Voice which called him to return to the God he left in Israel.
I. HIS CONFESSION:
II. HIS CERTAINTY:
III. HIS CONTRITION:
Jonah was out of running room. He had gone just as far as he could go to escape and there was no where else to run. Once the lots fell on Jonah and once the sailors began asking him the series of questions in verse seven, Jonah was forced to “come clean.” What he said, though, was not what the sailors and the passengers wanted to hear. They turned to him because the lots fell upon him and the people thought he would have some insight into the “Why” of the ferocious storm. Instead of just merely giving them what he thought, he made an open confession and the people were dumb struck by what he had to say.
While the storm was still raging and the ship was still tossing, Jonah-for the first time in the journey-gave forth his testimony and in so doing, he became a spokesperson that God wanted. No, he was not at Nineveh, but he at long last openly declared his faith in God and to his surprise, he found that no one was going to lunge at him and take his life. What he feared from the Ninevites he suspected from these sailors-death at the hands of angry people who were confronted by the truth of who God really was.
The civility of these sailors and passengers had to give heart to Jonah. As he stood before the entire lot of people that day and declared his faith in God, the scene was far from turbulent and Jonah had to see that behind the kindness and the restraint of all on board, was the hand of God who had reached out in mercy to rescue His child.
Jonah is an old book which tells an old story, but the truth of the message is still the same-God seeks the wanderer and will go to great lengths to rescue and save any person. Centuries later, Jesus put this whole scene in perspective when He told about the ninety and nine safely secured sheep, but the compassion of the shepherd was so great that he went out in the night, looking for that one lost sheep. God reached out to Jonah when Jonah refused to respond to God, but now what Jonah told the people that day was powerful and true. It was so then and it is so today.
I see three things of verse nine which help me to see Jonah and his message about God. The first thing I note is in regards to HIS CONFESSION: “I am a Hebrew.” The next part of this verse reveals some eternal truths when Jonah said, “I fear the Lord, the God of the heaven which hath made the sea and the dry land: HIS CERTAINTY. He was now telling his listeners something that challenged their thinking. Finally I see HIS CONTRITION.
I. HIS CONFESSION: I notice the answers given by Jonah to the questions he was asked and each one of his answers was a dynamite of explosive testimony about who he was and his belief as he confesses his past and what a confession it is.
The first part of his confession has to do with who he was and to what country he belonged-his Citizenship. He began by saying that he was a Hebrew. This was the name of those who lived in Israel and it was the name foreigners used to refer to the people of Israel. He was a Hebrew. He was not of a foreign extraction, he was not a half-breed, and he proudly stood and confessed his citizenship to the country he called home.
Besides claiming his citizenship of Israel, Jonah was also saying something more profound than just naming his nationality. Maybe the others did not catch the impact of what he was saying but by simply stating that he was a Hebrew, he was also saying that he was an emigrant into the land once promised to Abraham. His homeland was given to the Jews by God and they left it to go to Egypt for survival in that great famine centuries ago.
The ancestors of Jonah survived the famine in Egypt, but along the way, they lost their freedom and became slaves. Still, they did not forget their homeland and called out to God for deliverance. That deliverance came 430 years after they first entered Egypt. The country that became their savior became their slave master. God did not forget His people and he sent deliverance allowing them to march out of Egypt a free nation. The Jews marched out of Egypt and re-entered their home land. The Concept of being a Hebrew to the Jews of that day meant that once they left their God given land to go to Egypt for survival, they returned to their original home as emigrants and it was this land they were going to claim for God and for themselves. Yes, they were foreigners, emigrants, to the people who lived in Canaan at the time of their return, but to them, they were coming home to the Promised Land, to claim it for themselves.