3 : ‘Jonah went to Joppa, where he found a ship about to go to Spain. He paid his fare and went aboard with the crew to sail to Spain, where he would be away from the Lord.
4 : But the Lord sent a strong wind on the sea and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up.
5 : The sailors were terrified and cried out for help, each one to his own god. Then, in order to lessen the danger, they threw the cargo overboard. Meanwhile Jonah had gone below and was lying in the ship’s hold, sound asleep.
6 : The captain found him there and said to him, ‘What are you doing asleep? Get up and pray to your god for help. Maybe he will feel sorry for us and spare our lives.’
a) Jonah, in trying to ‘flee from God’, finds himself surrounded by a mixture of other faiths and superstitions, where it appears everyone has their own god – yet these people will help Jonah explore his own faith and reasoning with God (the folly of trying to run from God, without there being some consequences), and they will all come to sacrifice, worship and serve this God (v. 16). Although Jonah will be unaware of the effect all this has on the sailors in the boat (as he’s underwater at that point), this book is all about Jonah wrestling with the idea that God’s grace and mercy are for ALL people – even those we’d look on as ‘enemies’.
What is interesting to me, is the starting point for this is Joppa – the place where, in the New Testament, God reveals to Peter, through a vision / dream, that His grace and mercy are for ALL people – even the ‘gentiles’ (Acts 10).
b) I remember another story, about someone sleeping in a boat, and needing to be woken by panicked sailors / fishermen – ‘don’t you care that we’re about to drown?’. Once awake, Jesus has a word about the disciples’ lack of faith and trust, and then speaks a word to the waves and the wind, ‘Be quiet….shush…calm down’, and the sea quietened, and they arrived safe to shore.
On Sunday, CX led us in a worship song, ‘Say the word’, which included the lyric – ‘seas that are raging will calm when You say the word.’
I include a video clip for this song, today, believing it speaks into many situations being faced, at this time.
Rescuer, I’m on my knees again
Deliverer, humbly I ask for You to
say the word – I will be free
say the word – I’ll be made whole
at Your word mountains are moved
seas that are raging will calm
when You say the word.