Summary: #7, The only answer to the dilemma is to throw Jonah over the side of the ship.
We have seen how Jonah ran from his call to preach to the people at Nineveh. He had found a boat going to Tarshish and boarded it. But God sent a strong wind to intercept Jonah. Here we see the futility of man’s free will when God calls him.
They had awakened Jonah and asked why he did not cry out to his God for deliverance. He said he was a Hebrew and he feared God, sounds like some of the people we have all met. They finally find out that this runaway prophet is the cause of God’s fury, something the liberals today would deny.
I. The Mariner’s Inquiry: “What shall we do?”
They knew by now the storm was not an ordinary storm but the hand of God bared against his prophet. But who should they ask for the solution? The prophet of God, God’s man here upon this earth!
1. They asked Jonah:
They knew he was the cause but they also knew he was God’s man and the answer to their dilemma. He was flesh and bone the same as they were, but he was more than that he was God’s man, anointed and ordained to do the work that God had for him to do.
People so often think that God leaves it up to them to see if the man of God is doing his duty. What they really want to see is whether he is living up to their standards. Phariseeism is still alive and well on planet earth. My friend, God set the standards for his man and he’ll handle the disposing of him if he isn’t doing, as he should.
Obedient or disobedient he is still the man of God. Whether he be a Pastor or an Evangelists God has him under his watchcare. If he is a phony as many probably are God will take care of it. John spoke of all the false prophets in his day and we could multiply the number by hundreds or thousands today. There are many today that are mama called and papa sent but God will deal with them we don’t need to.
2. The Question: “What shall we do?”
The same question men asked Peter after his sermon at Pentecost. Peter said, “Repent and be baptized.” The Phillipian Jailor when the earthquake had freed Paul and Silas from their cell cried, “What must I do to be saved?”
God sent the answer to all of these questions through his man. The problem was with God so the solution must come from him. When men are perishing they need to seek God for the answer to their problems. These men asked the prophet what must we do?
They had rebuked this prophet earlier with, “Why hast thou done this?” and though they may have felt anger at Jonah, this great and mighty God of Jonah’s overwhelmed them. “What shall we do?” Lost men do not have the answer and must seek it from God’s people when convicted.
II. Jonah’s Strange Proposal: “Take me up and cast me into the sea.”
1. Jonah’s Strange Attitude: Was he so dejected that he felt suicide was the answer? No! I believe Jonah was getting a new and revived view of God’s grace. After all he had professed, “I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord.”
The chastisement of God is hard, but it says you belong to God. Nothing testifies more or stronger to our hearts.
Jonah began to realize again that he was a chosen vessel of God’s. He was not his own but he belonged to God. If God wanted him at the bottom of the sea he knew there was nothing he could do to prevent it.
There is also that principle of dying to one’s self, Jonah had sought to satisfy his own desires in rebelling against God. Self must die; we are to love God more than our own life. Jesus said in Mark 8:35, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it.” God is the giver of life and the keeper of life, without him we cease to exist.
2. He Prophesied: Jesus said to the Jews in his day, “Search the scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Remember when Jesus said this the only scriptures were the Old Testament, so he is saying in the O.T. you will find prophecies, types, and shadows to point to me.
He was prophesying of the death of Jesus although he probably did not realize it. That one man should die that the others might live.
For they all would die if something did not change.