Summary: Once Jonah finished giving his testimony about the God of the Hebrews, the crew began asking more questions seeeking the "Why" of his leaving such a God as He described.

JONAH 1:10



A. Divine.

B. Director.

C. Doctrine.


A. Darkness.

B. Danger.

C. Disbelief.


A. Discovery.

B. Departing.

C. Determination.

What would be the response to Jonah when the sailors heard about his beliefs? The answers were soon forth coming. The scripture tells us that the when the seamen heard about the God whom Jonah worshiped, they were afraid. The original language says that the fear they experienced upon hearing Jonah’s testimony was the type of fear that began and continued to keep growing. The more they contemplated this God of the Hebrews, the more they became afraid.

Combining this growing fear within the sailors of this awesome God was the fact that a believer in this God had openly defied Him and was now standing in front of them and he was unharmed. While he was standing there espousing to them about his God, the Sea continued to toss, the waves continued to slam up against the sides of this vessel, the sky was still black and the wind was raging as furiously as it was before. Yet, there stood Jonah amidst it all and everyone was frightened and growing more fearful as the minutes passed. Once the sailors discovered the truth about Jonah, they were certain that they were all going to pay a very heavy price due to the association with such a renegade.

Not fully comprehending the full impact of Jonah’s disobedience, and amidst the ever surging plight of fear in their hearts, the sailors asked Jonah a very pertinent and a very personal question, “Why did you do what you did? Why did you flee from this awesome God?” Jonah had no logical explanation to give his questioners.

That same question can be asked to every person who once claimed the name of Jesus and then left Him, “Why did you leave Christ?” Every backslider needs to be asked this same question, “Why did you leave Christ?” Jesus said that any one who starts toward the Kingdom of God and looks back is not worthy of that Kingdom-He was right.

I had a student in four college classes over a period of two years. When I first met her, she informed me that she had married a Moslem yet she remained a Catholic. The last class she was in as one of my students, she informed me that she had switched her faith and became a Moslem. The question I have for her is, “Why did you leave following Christ?”

These sailors asked this very personal question to Jonah and he had no answer. What they meant by their query was, “If this God is as awesome as you say He is, why did you run from Him?” He remained silent as did my student and millions of others who have embraced God through Christ’s shed Blood and vowed their belief in Him as being the only God, only to leave Him later. “Why?”

I see three parts to these sailors’ question that day so long ago. The first one is that Jonah had DISCREDITED this Holy God and they wanted to know why. The next part of this question is why did Jonah decided to dwell in such DARKNESS since this God of the Hebrews created light. The last part of the question has to do with any hope of a divine DELIVERANCE could Jonah anticipate after he left off following the God whom he had just abandon? The answers were forth coming, but the consequences of such action by Jonah left a lasting imprint on them and on all who would dare to imitate Jonah. “Why hast thou done this, Jonah?”

I. DISCREDITED: These pagan sailors could not believe what they had just heard and the reality that this renegade was still standing before them alive and unhurt. However, the question they asked him was one of dynamite. By their inference, they were simply telling Jonah that he had completely put this God of his to open shame.

The inference that is drawn for the question is simple. “If this God of Jonah was the real and true God, then how did Jonah square his actions with the Divine being?” By his running away from this awesome God, Jonah had just discredited his Divine God, and the question was, “How could he do this to such a God as he claimed to follow?” Something was wrong with the equation as far as the sailors could see. On one hand Jonah had proceeded to exclaim that his God was the supreme God and yet, Jonah decided to run away from him. Jonah had, on his own, decided to turn his back on the very God of the universe and the sailors wanted to know, “Why hast thou done this?”

That same question goes to the heart of every one who once embraced God through Jesus and then later turned one’s back on Him and “ran” from the only God there is in this world. “How can anyone do this?” That question still reverberates down the corridors of time and eternity, “Why did thou, oh Christian, do this?” The question still burns in the pit of Hell today to everyone who once tasted the mercies of God and then turned his/her back on the only Divine being and went out to meet God unprepared to enter Heaven: “Why?” “How?” “What made you, backslider, reject the Perfect One for a mess of pottage?” These sailors were dumfounded; they could not correlate Jonah’s testimony with his actions and neither can any saint who sees one’s brother and sister in Christ drift away from the only God that can help. In the eyes of these sailors, Jonah had DISCREDITED his God and they were correct.

Besides Jonah heaping shame on the Divine, he had insulted the one who was at that time, Directing the storm. Jonah had said that his God was the one who was the Maker and Keeper of the sky, the land and the water, and yet here he stood before them in open defiance of this One who was the only one controlling the elements. He was the Director of everything, according to Jonah and yet this renegade prophet was insulting his God and putting everyone in harm’s way. The sailors were baffled beyond belief and they asked him, “Why hast thou done this to Him who is controlling all things and is the One who is the Director of all things?”

Again, this is a question for every backslider to answer. Everyone who has tasted and hast seen that the Lord is good and then walks away form Him should pause and think about this question. Rebellious man may pick and choose, accept and reject, yet God is merciful and sends the rain on the just and the unjust. He looks upon the heart while man looks on the outside. Puny, rebellious, backsliding saint of God, you should remember that the One you disowned is the One that still feeds you and gives you life. Far too many so called and self-proclaimed pseudo intellectuals who think they have outgrown their need for God and have rejected Him should stop and remember, that every breath they breath is given by the One they reject. The question is still pertinent today to every backslider who has brought shame on the name of Jesus, “Why have you degraded the one who controls all things-even your life?”

Besides Jonah bringing dishonor to the Divine God and to He who controls and directs all, Jonah had just cast great aspersions upon the Doctrine of that which he just espoused. Oh, he was quick to add that he believed in the only God of the universe, but then he ran from Him and in so doing, he cast aspersions on the Divinity and the Omnipotence of God and completely cast overboard the basic Doctrine he said he embraced. Jonah was saying one thing and by his actions was saying something completely contrary to his witness and the sailors asked him, “Why hast thou done this?” Why, Jonah, why do you claim to believe in such a God at one moment and the next moment you disown Him? Besides Jonah’s capitulating his faith overboard, he had put everyone in danger. Oh, Backslider, remember, Jesus said we are not an island. “No man liveth unto himself and no man dieth unto himself,” said the Master. Our actions will have consequences upon others. To the parents who used to go to Sunday School and to church but who sit at home on Sundays and never darken the church’s doors, remember, your actions are having an impact on your family. To the backslider who thinks he is above reproach and goes his own way-be careful, your actions are effecting others. The sailors felt the effects of Jonah discrediting his God and they wanted to know why. That is still the call today to every backslider, “Why?”

II. DWELLING: Not only did Jonah discredit his God in what he claimed to believe and in what he actually did, the question stills is poignant for him, “Why hast thou done this?” The first part of this question goes to his being a hypocrite, the second part of this question serves to ask him why-if he believed in such an awesome God of creation and light, as he said he did why did he seek to live in his DWELLING of Darkness, Danger and Disbelief?

The first part of this second aspect of the sailors asking him why he did such a thing, goes to him hiding in a state of Darkness. Remember, as soon as he paid his fare for passage, he descended into the dark hold of the ship. Without the modern technology of having lights in the lower compartments of a ship, the ship in which he was riding probably had little to no lights. If there was any type of illumination in the ships of his day, it probably was carried down from above on a huge stick soaked in some type of a fuel that once lit would give forth light. However, to have this type of illumination on a constant basis was too risky. Hence, the interior of the ships of Jonah’s day was no doubt very dark and this was where Jonah was staying.

I am reminded of a man in the Bible that tried to hide in the shadows: Adam. Once he sinned, he went into hiding. When God came to visit him and Eve, He had to call them to come forth much like the captain had to call Jonah to come out of the darkness and into the light. The question still rings true for every backslider, “Why hast thou done this, to leave the Light to go and dwell in darkness?” Why, Jonah, did you leave the Light of such a God as you claim to serve and go and dwell in darkness? Jonah had no answer to give except that he, like Adam, had disobeyed God and walked away from the light.

Not only was Jonah living in the shadows of his mistakes, but was also DWELLING in Danger. “Why, Jonah, did you do such a thing? Why did you leave the safety of God’s love and protection and go dwell in Danger?”

Again, I am reminded of some Old Testament people who left the safety and security of God’s care and lived where danger roamed. I think of Achan who left the goodness of God and stole from the city of Jericho. He decided to make his abode in the Danger zone of the rebellious and was found out by some disastrous happenings to all of Israel. Another Old Testament figure comes to mind in the person of Saul. He enjoyed the protection of God and His favor, but due to his disobedience, his life, his son and his kingdom were in danger of the wrath of God.

“Jonah, why did thou do such a thing? Why did you flee from such a great God as you claimed to serve and put yourself and others in grave Danger?” This same question needs to be asked by every backslider. Everyone who leaves the God of Jonah and runs from Him dwells in darkness and great danger. The darkness and danger may not be evident now, but I read in my Bible that only those who have confessed their sins and have accepted Christ as their Saviour will go to a City where there is no night and where the believer will be safe at last from the grip of this mortal body. All else will go to a Hell where there is no Light and where danger and torment grips the inhabitant.

Not only did Jonah decide to go and make his abode amidst great darkness and danger, but he also decided to live in Disbelief. He gave high praises to God in the prior verse and in the ears of everyone who heard him, yet here he stood, DWELLING in great Disbelief of what he claimed to embrace. Again, my mind is drawn to remember Adam and Eve and their gross discounting of what God told Eve. She really did not believe God when he said rules are rules. She disobeyed and paid a heavy consequence for her refusal to accept what God said to do and what he said not to do.

Again, I return to ask every backslider, “Do you really disbelieve God when he says that without accepting His Son there is no way into Heaven? Do you, oh backslider, believe that God will not honor His own Word? Why, backslider, hast thou done this? Why have you rebelled against God? From where comes that disbelief you carry with you that God does not really mean what He says? Why are you abiding in great Disbelief?” Jonah said one thing and did another. He claimed much for His God, but his actions were telling everyone else, “I do not believe in the God whom I just described” and the sailors wanted to know why he had done this and why he decided to DWELL in Darkness, Danger and Disbelief.

III. DELIVERANCE: If this would have been the last question ever put to Jonah, then he would have been soon gone from this Earth. However, he lived to be questioned again and was so questioned by God, Himself, in chapter four. Fortunately there was a way back for Jonah and he did find that way back to God, but at a terrible price. It is also fortunate that for every backslider as Jonah, there is a way back to God: there is DELIVERANCE for one who really responds to the question put to Jonah by the sailors, “Why hast thou done this?” After DISCREDITING God and then seeking a DWELLING place with those who reject God, the truth came to Jonah and he did apply himself to what he discovered in his heart.

In giving an answer to the question put to him as is put to all who turn their back on God is the fact that they have made a Discovery of their actual sins and of their newly acquired state of living. One of the reasons that so many backsliders never return to the fold is that they are blinded by their choices and they have not made the true Discovery of what they did and where they are headed without God. Once someone turns his/her back to God, the reality is often hid from their minds by Satan or their self deception. When the sailors asked Jonah, “Why did thou do this crazy thing?” it hit him as to the magnitude of his actions. He only thought of himself at first as does every backslider, but the reality is that more than just one person is affected by one’s rebellion. Jonah saw first hand what his actions did and the finding of this truth hit him hard. The Discovery of his rebellion was too much for him to bear and he began the long road back to the God he had denied. True DELIVERANCE was coming his way.

Not only did he begin to make his way back to God once he made the Discovery of his actions, but he started on the road away from his newly chosen path. He had decided to Depart from this wayward path and seek the presence of God. He had enough of running, of living in the darkness of his choices and living in Danger and he chose to Depart this life style and return to the God of his fathers. That is the only way for a backslider to quit his sinning and that means to simply depart, leave behind the choice he made to flee from God and seek His face one more time.

Once Jonah had discovered his waywardness and decided to depart from his chosen path of disobedience, he became Determined to seek God again. I have to hand it to Jonah. He did do damage to the name of God, but he realized his errors and returned to God. This time, he was Determined to follow God regardless of what it would cost him. He was smart enough to see that he had done wrong, been wrong, and now he was ready to follow God. He thought that God would not take him back, but in his heart, he made the choice that he would follow God even if it meant his death by drowning in the Sea. Even with his return to God he still was a petulant man, but he was obedient and that is more than can be said for the many who have denied God and refused to return to Him. Jonah had lived too close to eternity without God and he would rather claim God in his final moments of life and go to meet Him prepared in his soul rather than stubbornly cling to his backsliding ways and be lost.

Jonah, we need more like you to come back to the God of their Fathers.