Summary: One man’s disobedience, affected so many innocnet people. Although Jonah gave up on his call from God-God did not give up on His call to Jonah and He waited until the right time, to get Jonah’s attention.
SLEEPY SAILOR SCARES SEASONED SEAMEN
The ship in which Jonah was sailing was never given a name in the Bible. However, we could probably give that craft some good names now-after the fact. What about “Rough and Ready?” or, “Steady?” or what about, “Heart Stopper?” even, “Sea Chopper?” None of these names really apply to this vessel which carried Jonah, but the results of that eventful voyage marked everyone on board and no one who sailed in that craft ever forgot its name until the day of that one’s departure from this Earth.
While we spend a few moments talking about the ship which was carrying Jonah we have to look beyond the vessel to see that the real fault of the whole near death experience for that vessel and for the people on board was due not to the ship, but to one of the passengers-Jonah. Safely ensconced within the boughs of that vessel, Jonah was sure that he was at home safe and sound. All that remained for him was to simply get to Tarshish and there he would live out the rest or at least part of his life in ease while the people of Nineveh would never miss seeing or hearing him preach to them about God’s love and coming judgment.
Jonah probably never heard the men telling the captain that all was ready for sail. I doubt if Jonah heard the final words of good-by spoken by the sailors as they quickly prepared the vessel for its journey from one end of the Mediterranean to the other. I am not too sure if Jonah heard the command of the captain to loosen all the ropes which tied the vessel to safely placed moorings nor am I certain if Jonah heard the captain call out to hoist the sails, etc. What I am certain of is the fact that Jonah was asleep, the vessel was sailing away from land, and each worker was doing his duty tending to this and to that as the vessel sailed further and further away from land and on out to open waters when the storm hit the ship. Being unable to return to land for safety, the ship, the contents and the crew were left to the fate which was bearing down upon them and from what was stirring up from underneath them.
As I study verse five of Jonah chapter one, I see three things which strike me about Jonah’s trip and which remind me of today’s world-specifically the Church world. The first thing I note has to do with this most unusual STORM. The next thing I note is in regard to the SAILORS. Then, I note the SLEEPER, Jonah, and what he means to today’s world as well as to the world of his day.
I. STORM: Repeating what has been stated in my previous sermon, this tempest was something very unusual. Not only was it on the water but it was in the water, churning up from below. The seamen were well within their rights to be afraid of this squall because it was so unusual.
Besides the obviousness of the storm as is related in the Bible, I can not but reflect on how Sudden it appeared.
We do not know the exact location of this ship when the STORM arose, but we know it was of a rapid development. How typical this storm is to life. Just when we might be lulled to thinking that all is okay, the storms of life break over our bows and we are tossed on the sea of life as helpless as this vessel was. Not only did the tempest appear quickly, but it also had one other frightening feature to it. It appears from the text that this squall grabbed the ship and held it in its grip with a deathlike seizure. There was nothing anyone could do to break this storm and there was no way to outrun it. Life can hit us just as hard as this event hit the boat.
Yet, there appears to be more here than meets the eye. Not only did this tempest sweep down upon the vessel in full force, but it seemed to be Similar to the Church of today. As I study the text before me, I think of how this SHIP represents today’s Church. Here we have a vessel that is sailing from one point to another. The captain is aboard, the workers are in place, and the vessel is heavy laden with “stuff.” The Church today has its Captain on board, with the workers ready to do the job, and the Church is laden down with so much “stuff.”