This past Sunday we were back in Jonah chapter 1. God had told Jonah, a successful prophet, to go to Nineveh and preach against the city, but instead, Jonah fled from God and God’s command and went the opposite direction towards a town called Tarshish. As the story goes, while on the boat to Tarshish God sent a storm so great that even seasoned sailers were terrified. They prayed to all their false gods to save them from the storm but nothing worked. The captain finally went into the bottom of the ship to wake up Jonah, who was sleeping, and told him to pray to his God that they would be saved from the storm. Eventually, the sailers figure out that they are in the storm because of Jonah. Jonah tells them why God has sent the storm and that in order to be saved they need to throw Jonah overboard. Eventually, the sailors do throw Jonah overboard and the storm calls down. When the sailors see that God can calm the storm the fear God greatly.
There are obviously plenty of analogies to our lives today. What storms are you currently in? Who’se fault are they; yours or someone else’s? How are you going to respond to that storm? What is God trying to teach you through the storm?
There is so much to learn from this story:
- God is always working beneath the surface – on the surface, God is sending a prophet to preach a message to Nineveh but God is also working to change Jonah’s heart and the heart of the sailors who end up fearing God by the end of the story.
- God is always sovereign over the storm – no matter what storm you may be encountering in your life know that God is sovereign over it and is in complete control.
- Those closest to you will feel the effects of the storm you might cause – it’s just a fact that sin does not stay within us. It inevitably spills over onto those around us and those closest to us will feel the effects of our sin. Whatever storm you may bring upon yourself will surely be felt by others.
- Rejecting God’s commands leads to a spiritual deadness or slumber – when Jonah intentionally disobeyed God and fled from Him he somehow found himself sleeping in the midst of a storm so great that presumably seasoned sailors were scared to death. When we intentionally disobey God and run from his commands we bring abut a spiritual numbness that God will have to shake us from.
- Someone else’s storm can turn us to God – by the end of this story the sailors, who had been seeking comfort from any and all false god’s had turned to God. In the same way, we should see other people storms and recognize that God is using them to bring people to Himself.
- Whoever is causing the storm may need a wake up call – God may have put you in someone’s storm so that you can wake them up. Jonah was clueless as to the storm that he was causing until the sailors came and woke him up and showed him the consequences of the storm that he had caused.
Eventually Jonah realizes what he has done and he consequences of his actions. He fled from Nineveh to get away from God, but God used a storm to show Jonah that he can’t get away. He eventually gets to a place where he agrees with God that he has sinned and he is willing to do what he needs to do to deal with the consequences of his sin.
What storms are you facing in your life right now? Are they caused by someone else or have you brought them upon yourself?
How is he using them to bring you closer to him?
If you are the cause of some storm in your life, get the place where you can admit that the storm is a result of your own sin. God is always working to bring you closer to himself.
Band for the week was:
- Kendal Quinn – djembe
- Jon Pritchett – banjo
- Katie Pritchett – vox
- Patrick Downing – guitar + vox
- John Enzor – bass