READ JONAH ONE
Let’s look at the second way God calls Jonah back to obedience in this narrative.
Means: a tempestuous storm that threatened to break the ship
Jonah’s response: Nothing. He’s down in the bottom of the ship sleeping.
Means: The captain of the ship
Jonah’s response: Nothing.
Jonah’s sleep is disturbed by the captain. And the captain asks the question we’re all wondering: How can you sleep, Jonah?
What does the captain tell Jonah to do?
The irony of the captain’s words to Jonah cannot be missed! The captain is likely a pagan who does not know Yahweh, Jonah’s God, nor does he know that it is Jonah’s God that caused the storm. Most likely, the captain simply wants every man to call on every god in hopes that they will be saved somehow! In superstition, the captain tells Jonah to call on his God.
Jonah is on this ship uniquely to run from the presence of his God! And here, when he is sleeping in the belly of the ship as he runs from God’s presence, God uses an unbelieving ship captain to call Jonah back to repentance.
We cannot forget the core lesson of our first week of study: we cannot run from God’s presence. And this is scarcely seen more clearly than in this captain’s words. Remember the downward progression that we saw in our chiasm last week? Jonah is going down to Joppa, to go down to Tarshish, and now he is down in the belly of the boat (yes, “belly”! We’ll look at this fun grammatical sequence next week!). But even here, when he appears to be at the very lowest point in his flight from God’s presence, the call of God comes to him: call on your God.
Has God ever used an unbeliever to point you to Himself?
How has God used things in the secular world to remind you of His presence?
PRAY & REFLECT
Thank God that, even at our lowest points, He reminds us of His presence. Thank Him for using things like the church, Bible studies, and Christian friends to call you back to Himself. Thank Him for also using “secular” things and unbelievers to call you back to repentance. Ask Him for the discernment to hear His call, no matter how it comes or whom it comes through.