Summary: The piolt of the ship-a Bentile-goes to call upon a Jewish man to pray for him and for his crew. Not all of Jonah 1:6, can be viewed as true tyoes, yet there are enough of instances where we see Jonah, a type of the Church, is called to pray at the behest
JONAH 1: 6
PREOCCUPIED PASSENGER PROVOKES PILOT
The scene on board the ship carrying Jonah is not a serene scene. The storm has hit with a vengeance. The sailors have abandoned their tasks of trying to steer the ship and have gone to praying for help. In place of an expected easy sail to Tarshish, the ship, sailors and captain are now fighting for their lives. Amid the screaming howls of wind, rain and squalling water, the scene is bedlam. How could this have happened? Certainly storms did arise on the Sea when the ship had been sailing before, but usually, there were always warning signs that an experienced captain would have read and would have heeded, but not this time. Everyone was at the mercy of an Unseen God and His power was at work this day against the ship.
Amidst the storm while the sailors were praying to their own gods, the captain notices that someone is missing and that someone was not praying to God. That someone was a Hebrew and it was known in that area that the Hebrews believed in a God that was not represented by idols or visible items. The ship had docked at an Israelite port, and the captain certainly knew what the general belief was of the Jews of his day. Yet, this Jewish man was not on board calling for help from God and this disturbed the captain. All else were praying but their prayers were going unheeded and this Jewish man was asleep in a very critical time. That just would not do and the captain paid a visit to Jonah to rouse him to join with the rest of the people in a prayer meeting for their personal welfare.
Here was a Gentile going to call on a Jewish man to get up and pray for them and the ship-how ironic. Jonah was to be the Jewish man who was to go to pray for the Gentiles at Nineveh for their salvation when the Gentile came looking to the Jew for safety. This is a type of what will be in the latter days when Israel is completely restored. The Bible says that in the future, the Gentiles will go to the Jews and ask them for prayer for their survival.
As I look at the sermon as is found in verse six of Jonah, chapter One, I see three things. I first see the PERIL of the storm and some applications for then and for now. I then notice the PIOUS one, Jonah, as he moves from his lethargy to an opportunity to do something for God. I also see that Jonah serves as a type of the Church in so many places of the world today. Finally, I note the PILOT: the captain.. The captain proved in this verse that he had a knowledge of God and maybe he was a believer in Him after all.
I. PERIL: I have spoken about the storm before, but I need to add a bit more. This storm was a ferocious one that struck from out of nowhere and was of such a magnitude that it drove the sailors to their knees in dire straights and in earnest prayer. Besides all else it is important to remember the times in which these sailors were sailing and to look at the PERIL they were facing and why they were so desperate.
One of the raw facts that presented itself to these sailors was the fact that they were in danger of Perishing. The storm was so ferocious that they were in actual fear of losing their lives. There is something in the human psyche that values life. Humans and all creatures will do anything to hold onto the life they have. Not knowing what death is really like, all creatures fear the closing of the eyes in eternal sleep. Yet, it is at this very point that Christ comes to carry His child through the dreaded locks of desperate death and to deliver us onto the golden shore of Heaven itself. Time after time, the Holy Writ encourages the believer not to fear death, but to remember that Christ conquered it all and we who believe in Him can simply fall asleep in His arms to awake in His Presence forever. However, to those who do not believe in God nor His Son, death is the ultimate fear as it was for these mariners. They were truly convinced that they would Perish at this grave PERIL in which they were enveloped.
Besides the fear of their final demise, these mariners were also afraid of any Punishment that might come their way should they survive. Labor was cheap in the days of these sailors and for them to lose all and to survive meant that they might be punished severely for the loss of the ship, the cargo or both. To simply return to port and to announce that the storm hit and they had to jettison all goods on board for no reason, meant that these sailors were in debt to the owners of the ship. This might entail servitude for them, their family and/or all that they had for themselves to pay the debt which happened upon the Sea. It can be assumed with most certainty, that there was no type of insurance for the goods nor for the handlers of the goods. These sailors would no doubt have to pay dearly as a Punishment for the expense of the ship’s goods. Their only salvation would be that they could prove that they were not responsible for this storm and the danger was due to someone else. Hence, they prayed for their lives and for a solution to their impending doom upon reaching port-should they be so fortunate.