Grace for Today: The Perfect Storm (Part 2)

The Perfect Storm Part 2

Welcome to Grace for Today I’m so pleased you’ve joined to study with us today as we see the Lord’s mercy and grace in action.

*Please open your Bibles and read (Jonah 1:7-16). Today, our focus will be on verses 11-16.  Let’s jump right in.

Through these events, God is showing these pagans who He is. God is showing Jonah just how hard his heart is because these lost people are showing more compassion for one person than Jonah had for all of Nineveh. They are willing to risk their lives and do everything possible to keep from throwing Jonah over board.

Jonah’s sin is discovered so he has no choice but to confess. So determined was Jonah to resist the will of God that he said, Pick me up and hurl me into the sea.

Jonah was really saying, I’d rather die than do what God says. Jonah hated foreigners. Notice, throwing Jonah overboard wasn’t the sailor’s idea.  In fact they tried everything to avoid doing that.  In the end, that’s all they could do.

Like Jonah, a Christian can become hardened.  This is how sin works.  You don’t wake up in the morning and plan to sin.  It starts out on a small scale.  Like Jonah, it starts with a step to the west instead of the east.  Then another and another until you have paid the fare, boarded the ship and are now being carried along.  Sin accelerates the farther you go.  What you thought was under your control is now out of control and actually controlling you.  You are now on the road to destruction.

What are the big things wrong in Jonah’s thinking?

1- Ignored the Word of God.

He didn’t do what God’s Word told him to do.  In fact he did the opposite.  He tried things his way and found himself in a huge storm ready to perish.  Christians must listen to and obey what God says through His Word.

2- He thought he was sovereign.

Jonah didn’t submit to the Lord. He thought he was the controller of his own destiny. He thought that he could determine what was right and wrong. He thought that he was in charge and calling the shots.

3- He had no compassion for others.

He didn’t care what happened to other people.  Jonah didn’t love others.  He didn’t put himself in their shoes.  He didn’t look to see their hopeless state.  He didn’t want what was best for them.

Jonah is tossed in the sea.  As soon as Jonah hits the water the sea becomes like glass. Can you picture the scene?  There the sailors are soaked through, leaning over the side of the ship looking at each other. Jonah is gone and so is the storm and so are the waves.

Then the most amazing thing happens in the lives of these sailors.  They get converted.  In spite of Jonah they are converted.

Here’s the progression: First, they feared the storm- each man cried out to his idol in an attempt to save himself.  After a while they learn that the false gods they were praying to and all their own efforts were useless in a storm created by the Lord.

[5] Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god.

Second, they feared after they found out Jonah was a Hebrew and worship Jehovah.

[10] Then the men were exceedingly afraid

Now, Jonah uses a different Hebrew word that is translated as feared.  It is the type of fear that has with it great reverence and awe of God. This is the same meaning that Jonah had in mind when he said that he feared the Lord.  The sailors fear the Lord exceedingly.

Then the text says that they worshipped Jehovah.

How did they worship?  They performed a sacrifice, the Jewish way to worship.  They knew about this God of Jonah.  After they sacrificed to Jehovah they could approach Him and then they made vows.  What makes this even more impressive is that they made their vows after the storm was over.

I have heard of accounts of people in danger making vows to God.

Oh Lord if you get me out of this, I will do anything you want. This goes even further to show us the sovereignty of our God.  God wanted those heathen converted and even worked through Jonah’s disobedience to do it.  If God wants someone saved they will be saved.  [16] Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly. Literally, they feared the Lord with great fear.

Another example of this phrase is found in the New Testament.  Here is the Greek rendering of it.

Mark 4:35-41 (ESV)

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.”  [36] And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him.  [37] And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling.  [38] But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?”  [39] And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.  [40] He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?”  [41] And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?”

Everyone knew that only God could command the weather and the waves. In calming the raging sea, Jesus is declaring Himself to be God. The wind and sea have always obeyed God.

What is God showing Jonah through this experience?

God is showing Jonah and us some things about Himself.  First, God is the Lord everywhere, not just in Israel. Second, God is powerful, so powerful in fact that He even controls the weather.  Third, God loves other people besides the Israelites.  Forth, God is showing Jonah some things about Jonah.

Jonah needs to see the bigness of God.  God is bigger than what Jonah thought. His saving purposes are much bigger.  Jonah needs to look around and see the spiritual sensitivity of others.  Jonah needs to repent. He needs to turn back and follow the Lord rather than forsaking Him.

The challenge for us today is that there have been times when we were a lot like Jonah.  We turned our head the other way rather than seeking the salvation of others.  We’ve ran away from the Lord rather than running to Him in obedience.  Praise the Lord that He gave Jonah and us a second chance.

I’m Pastor Brian Evans from Grace Community Church in Waverly.  Join me next week as we look again at the amazing Word of God and see what happens to Jonah, the Ninevites and along the way we’ll learn great truths about the Lord and perhaps about ourselves.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Brian

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