Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 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.” So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.
(Jonah 1:11-16 ESV)
As we continue in the historical account of Jonah we are at the point were the fishermen are terrified and trying to figure out what to do with Jonah. They know he is the reason for the storm and possibly their demise. So since Jonah is a prophet they just straight up ask him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” They just asked Jonah what to do. Most people would have said something along the lines you have to protect me, treat me like royalty, give me money, something greedy. Jonah’s response is baffling. Jonah says throw me into the sea. Not the response of the man that is running from God to answer. Is he wanting to meet God face to face? No, I think there is something deeper here. Jonah is willing to die! Now is this out of a great faith in God, or a deeper sinfulness that he would rather die than go to Nineveh. We will never know, but he is ready to go into the sea.
Now these men seem to be “good men” because they are not ready in their hearts to sentence a man to what seems like certain death. So they choose to defy the God they have just learned about. They try to roll back to land against a storm that God has created to get Jonah’s attention. By defying God they place themselves in greater danger as the storm gets worse. Now they realize what they must do and they think maybe we can talk it out with this God. They call out to Jonah’s God pleading to save Jonah’s life. But realizing its futile, they do the only thing and the one thing they should have done at the beginning of this section. They toss Jonah into the sea and boom the storm is gone and calm waters. But here is the great thing. These men believe. They fear God and offer a sacrifice to Him and make vows or pledges to God. Crazy that by one man running from God, several find God.
Now for some application of this, We see that Jonah is realizing he is bringing this affliction upon himself and the sailors. How often does our sin not only affect our life but those that we love. When we tell a lie or whisper a rumor. How often we hurt our witness because we lose our battle with sin daily. Finally even in the darkest and strangest moments, Gods will prevails. As the sailors committed to God, we see often God use strange and hard times to point us back to Him. Remember God is in control of the storm and we must have faith and follow Him.
As always thanks for reading. Comments welcomed.