But the absence of guilt isn’t always a barometer of whether we are doing right. Because we can deny reality, we cannot measure obedience by our feelings. Instead, we must compare what we do with God’s standards for living. The Life Application Study Bible
Today let’s look at the Book of Jonah verses 1:4-1:6
(Jon 1:4) The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.(Jon 1:5) Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.(Jon 1:6) So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”
Before we do a breakdown on these verses let’s remember something important about the Book of Jonah:
The principal person in the narrative was God, not Jonah. To accomplish His purposes, God sovereignly controlled various events recorded in the book, overcame Jonah’s rebellion, and opened the Ninevites’ hearts. Here He miraculously altered the direction of His servant’s itinerary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary
Returning back to verse 4:
Jon 1:4 The LORD hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up.
***This verse becomes interesting when broken down into some definitions of the ancient Hebrew in which it was written.
wind: רוּחrûach roo’-akh wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions): – air, anger, blast, breath, X cool, courage, mind, X quarter, X side, spirit ([-ual]), tempest, X vain, ([whirl-]) wind (-y).
***Notice two things: 1. the spiritual connotation of “wind” having to do with life, anger, and mind. 2. Notice the word “tempest” which we will get to in a moment.
storm: סערה סערsa‛ar se‛ârâh sah’-ar, seh-aw-raw’ a hurricane: – storm (-y), tempest, whirlwind.
tempest: this is a word we don’t often use anymore. Looking at Webster’s Dictionary: An extensive current of wind, rushing with great velocity and violence; a storm of extreme violence. We usually apply the word to a steady wind of long continuance; but we say also of a tornado, it blew a tempest.
I have been in and around tornados a number of times in my life, and a few years ago did some tornado relief work in the aftermath of a large and very destructive tornado hit Joplin Missouri. It goes without saying that a severe storm can be most terrifying and can result in a massive amount of destruction and in loss of life. In my mind’s eye I can visualize a tornado rising out of the sea and the well-seasoned veteran sailors terrified that their ship would be destroyed and that they would soon perish. This leads us to verse 5:
Jon 1:5 Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep.
Sin brings storms and tempests into the soul, into the family, into churches and nations; it is a disquieting, disturbing thing. Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
The sailors were very afraid. So what did they do? They did what most would do in a crisis-they cried out to their “little g” gods, and then did what they thought to be practical to save themselves. Here are some examples of men who cried out to false gods from the Old Testament:
1Ki 18:26 Then they took the ox which was given them and they prepared it and called on the name of Baal from morning until noon saying, “O Baal, answer us.” But there was no voice and no one answered. And they leaped about the altar which they made.
***The Hebrew definition of Baal is: master, owner, lord man. In other words-a false god.
Isa 44:17 But the rest of it he makes into a god, his graven image. He falls down before it and worships; he also prays to it and says, “Deliver me, for you are my god.”
***People naturally like making their own gods. The ancients made gods from the materials they had on hand. Today we do the same thing-only a little more sophisticated.
Isa 45:20 “Gather yourselves and come; Draw near together, you fugitives of the nations; They have no knowledge, Who carry about their wooden idol And pray to a god who cannot save.
If the heart is brought into the obedience of Christ, the knee will cheerfully obey his commands. To Christ men shall come from every nation for blessings; all that hate his cause shall be put to shame, … Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary
Jer 2:28 “But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble; For according to the number of your cities Are your gods, O Judah.
***This verse from Jeremiah shows of the massive amount of idolatry in ancient Judah. Each city had its own tutelary (def.: guardian) god. Can idols which we make for ourselves really save us? Can technology save us? Can wealth save us? Can our friends save us?
There is an interesting story in the Book of the Acts, chapter 27 in which the apostle Paul decided to set sail for Italy in which a storm came upon them as they sailed. They had to throw their belongings overboard during that storm. Perhaps we will go through this another time.
Next let’s talk about sleeping-some of the negative consequences when we are mentally trying to escape from reality when we should be sober and wide awake.
Jdg 16:19 She made him sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his hair. Then she began to afflict him, and his strength left him.
***Samson made the dreadful mistake of thinking that Delilah loved him and was committed to him. Samson allowed himself become like a lamb led to slaughter.
Mat 25:5 “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.
***There are various interpretations and bits of wisdom one could glean from this parable as told by Jesus. Let’s look at this today as an illustration of not being ready when the time comes to be watchful and ready.
Mat 26:40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour?
Jesus used Peter’s drowsiness to warn him about the kinds of temptation he would soon face. The way to overcome temptation is to keep alert and pray. Keeping alert means being aware of the possibilities of temptation, sensitive to the subtleties, and spiritually equipped to fight it. Because temptation strikes where we are most vulnerable, we can’t resist it alone. Prayer is essential because God’s strength can shore up our defenses and defeat Satan’s power. Life Application Study Bible
Mat 26:45 Then He *came to the disciples and *said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.
***Of course we all need rest. However Jesus was telling the men it was time to get up.
Luk 22:46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
These disciples were asleep. How tragic it is that many Christians act as though they are sound asleep when it comes to devotion to Christ and service for him. Don’t be found insensitive to or unprepared for Christ’s work. Life Application Study Bible
Let’s now go to verse 6:
Jon 1:6 So the captain approached him and said, “How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.”
In effect, the shipmaster says, “You sleepy-head, you! Do you mean that you can sleep in a storm like this?” Jonah could. In fact, he is the only one on board who could sleep! The shipmaster goes on, “Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.” So Jonah now comes up on deck, and he sees this great storm they are in which is threatening to send the ship to the bottom. J. Vernon McGee
Some cross reference verses to consider:
Eph 5:14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”
***Only God can awaken us from spiritual death.
Let’s look at a couple of Psalms:
Psa 107:13 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.
***The Lord releases those in bondage-those living in darkness that rebelled against God.
Psa 107:28 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, And He brought them out of their distresses. Psa 107:29 He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed. Psa 107:30 Then they were glad because they were quiet, So He guided them to their desired haven.
***Only God can deliver us and bring us to a safe haven.
Let’s conclude today with these verses from the Gospel of Mark:
(Mar 4:37) And there *arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up.(Mar 4:38) Jesus Himself 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?”(Mar 4:39) And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.(Mar 4:40) And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”(Mar 4:41) They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”
Now we find here that when our Lord leaves off teaching, they go out into the sea. He wants a rest because He’s tired. He goes to sleep. And then we find this miracle of His quieting the sea.
Do you know what made them fear? It was not so much the fact that He quieted the storm but that it responded immediately. It just leveled out; there was a sudden calm. This miracle was so great that it made these men afraid.
What a wonderful lesson we learn here. He puts us into the storms of life in order that we might grow closer to Him and that we might know Him better.J. Vernon McGee
God Bless You Today!
Your Brother in Christ, Pastor & Grandpa Frosty
…”just a man under the stage”
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