Summary: The fifth message in a series of messages from Jonah.
GETTING OUT OF THE STORM
* Throughout the course of my life I have been through several storms called hurricanes. Back when storms were rightly named female names, there was Betsy, Hilda, and Camille, just to name a few. More recently it was Georges and Katrina. In our area we are prone to tornadoes and while they are different, they are just as dangerous. If you have ever watched the clips from Katrina which were videoed as the storm came ashore, you sensed the power and fierceness of Mother Nature and this storm.
* Whether a hurricane, typhoon, nor’easter, or cyclone, the storm which God hurled on Mediterranean Sea was a killer. Water is a formidable opponent and these sailors, sea dogs, believe their boat about to be destroyed when a man self-described as a man of God said, “It’s my fault, get rid of me, and all will be well.”
* The short version is this; ‘they did’ and ‘it was’. They did throw him overboard and the sea stopped its raging. Instead of giving you a cute alliterated outline, let suggest to you some lessons to learn or principles to take to heart from this text. Then we will end with the obvious results of this episode. (Let’s read)
1. I may have to do what I don’t want to do. When you read this story it is filled with people doing what they don’t want to. Later in the book we’ll see Jonah actually going to Nineveh, but for now let’s lay that aside. First these pagan men didn’t want to thrown Jonah overboard. In verse 9, Jonah tells them how to get out of this storm—and they just look him, consider him crazy, and go back to attempting to handle it own their own. But they would never get out of the storm until they did what they didn’t care to do. This principle reminds me of Naaman. He didn’t want to wash in the river Jordan and almost didn’t.
* Consider the implication for your life. Most do not want to think that we have to come to God for salvation. In recent days the thinking is this; “Don’t worry, if God predestined you to be saved, it’ll happen, there is nothing you can do to stop it.” Yet the Bible says, “Repent, Believe, Be born again,” and it implies that God has give us a decision. That is to do what we might not want to.
2. Obedience brings blessings – When the soldiers throw Jonah overboard, the text says, “The Sea stopped its raging.” I well remember being out on a board and the weather got rough. I even say a little fear in the demeanor of my captain. This was not a huge ‘storm’, just bad weather. I can only imagine what we would have felt like if the weather had cleared up quickly. According to the Bible, when they turned loose of the one who was disobedient, the storm cease. This was a picture of that which we see in the New Testament with the disciples and Jesus. We always think about Jesus being asleep in the boat and waking to calm the storm. But how about Mark 6. The disciples were out on the boat at night, the storm came, and did not cease until Jesus got into the boat with them. These two pictures tell me that you can have disobedience or obedience in your boat (life) and whether you survive or not will depend on your passenger.
* They tossed Jonah overboard and we think directly into the mouth of a great fish. “Then” the Lord appointed a fish.
3. God provides “right on time” – One of the things which we seem to forget is this; Jonah didn’t know there was going to be a fish, he didn’t know he could survive in a fish’s belly, and he didn’t believe that God would anything but kill him. When he went into the water, he expected to die. (He hadn’t read or written the book!) By the way, die he would have, if God hadn’t intervened. But just at the right time, God appointed a fish. Think about that statement “just at the right time”. Galatians 4 says, “Just at the right time God sent Jesus.” Our God is an on time God.
4. God may keep you until you think right – Now in the belly of the fish, Jonah knows he is a goner. I mean, who has ever survived being swallowed by a fish. For Jonah it took 3 days and 3 nights, for me it has sometimes taken years, for some it takes less time than others. Consider this, the time it takes for you to come to your senses before God is an indication of your spiritual maturity.
5. NEVER FORGET – the impact on those pagan sailors. Witnessing God’s work, these sailors feared or revered Jehovah God, so much that they offer a sacrifice and made avow.