When Jonah entered the boat, he brought with him a storm. Not just any storm, but a storm provided by the Lord because of his disobedient act. This was a massive storm, one with “great wind and violent tempest on the sea so that the ship was about to be broken” (vs.4). I began to wonder what the sailors experience would have been like if Jonah had not climbed aboard their boat that day. Would they have had smooth sailing? They might not have feared for their lives, if Jonah had gone to Ninevah, as the Lord requested, and stayed off their boat.
When Jonah entered the boat the Sailors “were afraid, and each man cried to his god; and they cast the goods that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them” (vs.5). The sailors threw their livelihood overboard during that storm. They threw money right into the ocean hoping that would be enough to save them. They cried out to who ever they thought might be able to help, seeking salvation from the storm. The storm they were in because a disobedient Jonah got on their boat. And while the Sailors worked feverishly to keep the boat from sinking, Jonah slept peacefully in the inner part of the ship. They cried, they worked, Jonah slept.
When Jonah entered the boat the sailors were put in an awful position when they heard Jonah say to them, “Take me up and cast me into the sea; so shall the sea become calm for you, for I know that it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you” (vs.12). If Jonah knew the storm was because of him, why did he tell these men they had to throw him over? Why wasn’t he brave enough to jump? It appears that the last thing these men wanted to do was throw a man overboard, so they worked harder than ever to bring the ship to land. It was only when they realized they couldn’t fight the storm that they cried out to be free from the guilt of throwing Jonah over. “Therefore they cried to the Lord, We beseech You, O Lord, we beseech You, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You” (vs. 14).
When Jonah left the boat, the storm stopped.
Now, let me ask you. Is there a Jonah in your life? Someone who decided running from God was better than obeying Him, so they climbed into your boat and when they did, a storm followed? Maybe it is a spouse, a child, a friend or co-worker. What relationship in your life is rocking your boat?
When Jonah entered your boat, did it create a storm that has you crying out for help, from anyone who is willing to listen? Are you begging God to save you from being destroyed by the storm? Is the storm you are in costing you financially? Maybe you are too stressed to work or perhaps you are throwing money away in the hopes of calming the storm. “I just want peace” you may hear yourself say. Are you working feverishly to save yourself and your “Jonah” while “Jonah” sleeps peacefully and allows you to handle the wind and the waves?
When Jonah entered your boat he may have put you in a terrible position. You may need to decide if the only way to stop the storm is to throw Jonah out of the boat. If Jonah is too afraid to jump, then quite possibly you will need to be the one to help Jonah out of the boat. Remember, when Jonah left the boat, the storm stopped. While we may be fearful of removing Jonah from our boats, God was prepared for Jonah’s entrance into the sea. “Now the Lord had prepared and appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah” (vs 17). God has a whale waiting for your Jonah and He can’t get Jonah to the dry land He’s prepared for him, if Jonah stays in the boat. The whale is waiting.
Once Jonah is out of the boat and the storm stops raging, you may do what the sailor’s did after their storm ceased. “Then the men [reverently and worshipfully] feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows” (vs.16, AMP). God is worthy of our thanks and praise when He calms the storms we are in. And even though Jonah went to Ninevah with a very miserable attitude; God was able to accomplish His plan for the city and the people were saved. Jonah was saved too.