November 4 I Thursday
“At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to Him.” —Jonah 1:16
Imagine we are on a boat and there is a violent storm raging. Different from any storm we have ever experienced in the past, this storm seems to be caused by something supernatural. This is the predicament that the sailors, who were on the boat with Jonah, were facing. The sailors said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” The lots were cast and they fell on Jonah. The sailors asked Jonah, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” Jonah responded, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Jonah’s answer terrified the sailors and they followed with another question, “What have you done?” (Jonah 1:7-10).
Interestingly, Scripture revealed that the sailors knew when Jonah boarded the ship that he was running away from God. This answer may not be alarming at first, as these sailors who took travellers to different ports probably heard all kinds of stories as to why people run. Some people run away from the law, run away from a crisis of life, run away from family responsibilities or simply run away to seek a sense of adventure. With Jonah running away from the Lord, they likely thought that the Lord was like any other god. But what they were about to understand was that the God of the Hebrew, Yahweh, was different from any other god. He has real power and can cast storms in the sea.
The sailors asked Jonah, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” Jonah answered, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea…” But the sailors did not and tried to row back to the land, but the sea became wilder. Struggling, the sailors cried out to Yahweh, ‘Please, LORD, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for You, LORD, have done as You pleased” (Jonah 1:11-14). After, they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the sea grew calm. From this, the sailors greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to Him.
It was Jonah’s lowest moment that God used as a redemptive moment. This was something that God wanted to reveal to Jonah, that the nations he looked down upon were not as hopeless as he perceived them to be; they simply did not know the true God.
Prayer: God Almighty, may Your great Name be known throughout the world, that You are all-powerful and sovereign. Give me the boldness to proclaim Your Name to others who do not know You yet. Thank You, Lord.