Today’s Reading : Jonah 1; Proverbs 27
The Story of Jonah is one that is familiar with many of the Judeo-Christian faith. It is the story of how a man survived in the belly of a big fish for three days and nights. It is the foreshadowing of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jonah is written over 700 years before the birth of Christ, illustrates how God’s grace is not only for one people, but for all people. This story also illustrates that it is not our decision of who, where, and when the salvation and grace will be given. God decides.
As we enter into Jonah, we are presented with him running away from his assignment. He is given the assignment to go to his enemies’ city, Nineveh, and give them a message from God about their behavior and how to correct and repent their mistakes. God chose Jonah to be a vessel of Salvation, but Jonah is choosing to run away. As Jonah is attempting to run away he is presented with several opportunities to witness. While on the ship he encounters a severe storm that threats the ship and the people on the ship. We find that he is the reason for the tempest and the only cure the storm is to throw him off the ship and then the sea will be calm.
As I dissected this chapter there are three points that came into clarity for me:
- The peace in the storm
- The storm that you are in may not be for you but for others
- Worship the storm
Jonah 1: 5-6:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”
When we are in the midst of a storm, God has given us peace that cannot be comprehended by others. It took someone to physically disturb Jonah, to make him aware of the pandemonium that was happening around him. Sometimes God guards us through the midst of storms that we are not aware are happening. God gives us a unsurpassable peace in the midst of storms that we are experiencing to show others an indescribable calm.
Jonah 1:14-16:14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
In my youth, there were many preachers and pastors that would say “ There are three type of people: People who are about to go into a storm, people who are in a storm, and people that have just come through storm. Which one are you?” This resonates with me in this passage, where we think that the storm is for the “punishment” of Jonah, but it is for the salvation of the people on the ship. God used this “escape” as a training ground for Jonah to show “ the Lord, the God of Heaven, who made the sea ad the dry land”(1:9) is in complete control. The storm allowed the crew of the ship who worshipped other gods, an experience that transformed their life and belief. The storm may have at first been seen as a “turn around” gesture for Jonah, but it actually was a point where others were turned to God. The storms that we experience may be for God’s Glory to be shown through us.
In verse 16, as with the end of all things we must remember to give God praise for the storm. No matter how many storms that we experience, we know that God is in control. His plans are more than we can imagine. The storms are scary, hard, difficult, and painful. But if we have the faith and fortitude to acknowledge Him, we will be able to come through the other side of the storm. When we reach the other side, we must give Him the praise.
God, the Lord of the heavens, sea, dry land, and all things. We thank you for taking care of us in all things and even when we choose to runaway. Allow your grace to be upon us and allow your Glory to shine through us in any and all storms. Allow the storms strengthen us in your amazing salvation. Amen