Jonah #2 – Wake up, O Sleeper:
Yesterday, we were introduced to the prophet Jonah, a man called by God to preach His message to the people of Nineveh. Instead of being obedient to the heavenly calling, Jonah ran in the other direction, hoping to flee from the presence of the Lord. However, we learned that you can’t run from God, and that no matter where you go, God is always there! When we left off our story, Jonah had boarded a boat in Joppa, and was heading for Tarshish. Here’s what happened next…
“But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them. ” (Jonah 1:4-10).
A ship has just set sail from Joppa to Tarshish, and immediately, they were overcome by a great wind and mighty storm that threatened to destroy the ship. The sailors were afraid, and everyone started praying to their gods, begging for mercy. But where was Jonah? In the midst of this chaos, our mighty prophet was fast asleep in the lowest parts of the ship, where he had fled to hide from the other sailors, to be alone in his guilt and shame. Instead of fulfilling divine call upon his life to proclaim God’s Word, Jonah was fast asleep – both physically and spiritually speaking. But the captain of the ship called Jonah to arise and call on his God. The sailors cast lots to try to discover who had brought such trouble upon the ship, and sure enough, the lot fell to Jonah. Jesus said, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” (Mark 4:21-22). Instead of being an ambassador of God’s light, the rebellious prophet Jonah was trying to hide from the Lord, but to no avail. Jonah’s sin had been discovered, and as a result, many people’s lives were in danger. Jonah’s negative example is a good warning for us!
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:11-14).
Pastor Chris Jordan