In response to Jonah’s request to toss him overboard, the men decided to attempt to row to shore (verse 13). And for their efforts, the storm increased in strength. It is here that we see their disobedience. Understanding that the LORD is Who He says He is, this brings the men to a salvation experience.
In verse 14, the men call out to the LORD. They ask to be saved, they ask not to be held accountable for what happens to Jonah as they decide to throw him overboard, and then they confess that God’s will is the right will! They believed, trusted, and acted by what God had called them to do…through the prophet Jonah!
So, in verse 15, the men throw Jonah overboard, and the storm ceases. Great point here for us to glean…when the storms in life come (and they will come) when we follow the will of God, those storms have a tendency to disappear…especially when you have fully accepted God’s will and decided that His way is best. For we no longer see the storm, but the One who controls the storm…He is much more powerful.
Verse 16 says that the men feared the LORD and offered sacrifices to Him and they made vows. They trusted in God’s Word. These guys now have a one way ticket to heaven.
Once in the sea, Jonah is swallowed by a great fish (not a whale…a whale is a mammal…not a fish). Cute story for kids, but not biblically correct. Some would ask, “Well, what’s the big deal?” If we are willing to make concessions in this passage, what else are we willing to make concessions for (eg. The Kingdom of Heaven)?
Kingdom Truth Reflection:
I am struck by what happens in these verses. Not because Jonah gets swallowed by some great fish, but because God used Jonah’s disobedience to lead those men on that boat to salvation. Remember, God knew all along that Jonah was going to flee to Tarshish. But even in that rebellion, God showed Jonah the grace that He has for ALL mankind. It was not just the Hebrews that God wanted to save. They were supposed to be a nation of priests. A priest is one who is a mediator between man and God. We are now a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9). We are called to be mediators between God and man. So the question has to be…are we doing what God called us to do?
For some, they are being obedient and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide them to the people He wants them to talk to, others have decided to go out and tell the Holy Spirit that, “You gotta bless me out here…make it work.” Others are afraid (and for good reason) to share their faith. Still others have decided that there is nothing new to learn in Scripture. Jesus died, He was raised, and that’s it. If you believe that you should act like it. If you don’t, you need to check yourself and find out if you really are saved into eternity (which…interestingly enough….is found nowhere in Scripture).
I think a good place to leave off here is by stating the obvious. We don’t (and can’t) save anyone. We don’t have that kind of power. It is the gospel that saves. It is the Word of God that saves. It is the Word of God that transforms. It is the Word of God that matures us. Not us. We are called to trust in Him and His direction. But remember, you can buy a car, wash it, wax it, and sit behind the wheel. But unless you put the key in and leave the house, you aren’t driving…