1:7-17 Jonah’s Sin And Consequence Are Revealed
Memory Verse: Jonah 1:9
1:7-10 Jonah’s Sin Was Found Out
- 1:1-6 Jonah was a prophet of the God of heaven. He received a commission from God to immediately leave his home and go to Nineveh and cry against it—because their wickedness had come before the Lord. Jonah obeys the command to “arise and go” but he didn’t head towards Nineveh. Jonah was trying to flee from the presence of the Lord. God cared for Jonah and thus sent a storm. It is in the midst of this storm that we continue on in the story.
- 1:7 Everything the sailors have done so far hasn’t worked. They have prayed to their false gods, they have cast cargo overboard to make the ship lighter and the captain has even asked Jonah to pray to His God (although he didn’t). So they tried something new. They said to each other “Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us.” What is casting lots? The Bible is unclear on defining the exact procedure of doing this, but it seems to be when you would cast down some kind of small object to make a decision by random outcome or for deciding the will of God. Proverbs even says that God’s decision can be revealed this way. So the crew cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. We can’t always hide from God. Our sin will be found out. What are you hiding?
- 1:8-9 Once the lot fell on Jonah, the crew took that as a sign that Jonah had answers to why this storm was upon them. Then they started to ask him several questions: Who is the reason that this evil is upon us? What is your occupation? Where do you come from? What is your country? What people are you?—Jonah starts with this last question answering, “I am a Hebrew.” He follows this up with “I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.” Jonah is running from the will of God, but he doesn’t deny that He is still a worshipper of God. He hasn’t completely turned away from God. He still confesses Him as Lord. And to answer the sailers questions, he states that his God is that One who made the sea and the land—meaning He made everything. He probably says, “Sea” first to emphasize their current situation and then said, “Land” second because that is where everyone wishes they were, but together it not only means “everything” but also means that Jonah’s God has the answers to their problems.
- 1:10 Jonah came clean and told them everything that he had done and how he had fled from the presence of the Lord. The men were exceedingly afraid. They asked a simple question of fear and astonishment, “Why hast thou done this?” After understanding who the true God was and seeing the fierce storm that He can bring upon them, they must have thought Jonah was crazy for trying to run from Him. Maybe the question was rhetorical or maybe they wanted to know what kind of motivation would drive a person to make such a reckless decision. Either way, Jonah’s sin has found him out.
1:11-17 Jonah’s Sin Has Consequences
- 1:11-12 Now the sailers wanted to know what to do. They ask Jonah, “What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.” If Jonah caused the problem then they wanted him to also give them the answer. Jonah, even though He was rebelling, was still a prophet and He knew what should be done. He had a decision to make. Jonah sort of makes the right decision. He confesses his sin saying, “I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.” So to fix the problem he tells the sailers to pick him up and throw him into the sea. If they did this then the sea would be calm for them. Personal application: Each of us has decisions to make too. When we sin, we can choose to take personal responsibility for it and its consequences, otherwise the consequences of our rebellion might continue to affect those around us.
- 1:13 This has to be a hard request. Jonah just got done telling them he was a Prophet of the true God and now he requested that they throw Him overboard into storm—which would almost certainly mean death. But couldn’t Jonah just of jumped overboard? Could he of asked them to sail towards Nineveh instead? The Bible doesn’t answer these question, but it seems that Jonah was prepared to die more than do God’s will—although he wasn’t willing to take his own life. The men try to ignore this advice and try to row hard to bring the ship to the land. But they failed. They could not save themselves. The sea continued to increase the strength of the storm and it was against them. God who sent the storm was sending a clear signal that there was only one option: their lives depended on Jonah’s apparent death.
- Jesus is superior to Jonah. Jesus never sinned. Jesus was called to fulfill God’s will and He did. Jesus was on a boat in the middle of a storm as well. He was also sleeping, but it was because not even the greatest of storms bothers Jesus. The men aboard His boat were also scared, but Jesus arose from where He was laying and rebukes the winds and the sea. The great storm was instantly turned into a great calm. Jesus did what Jonah, a prophet, couldn’t do.
- Jonah’s story is also an example of Jesus death. Just like the sailers lives depended on the death of Jonah, our lives depend on the death of Jesus. Salvation comes through a substitutionary death. Here Jonah would be thrown overboard for his own sin, but Jesus was nailed to the cross for our sin. There is no other way. Just like the sailors tried to row to shore in the storm but failed, so will all of our human efforts fail at saving ourselves. Believe in Jesus today and be saved.
- 1:14-16 Finally, the sailers gave up. They realized that they cannot save themselves. They are fearful of throwing Jonah overboard. They believe he will die. Therefore, they cried out to God and asked forgiveness before they even did it, saying, “Let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood.” Also, they are acting according to what they believe is the will of God, saying, “For thou, O Lord, hast done as it pleased thee.” So, by faith, they picked up Jonah and cast him out into the sea. The sea ceased from her raging. The men who have experience this whole thing feared the Lord exceedingly. It was without a doubt who the true God was. Jonah must have told them more than what is record here because the men offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows. These men who received witness from Jonah seemed to have been converted.
- 1:17 But God wasn’t done with Jonah. He prepared a great fish and it swallow him. Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. God is working on him.
- What is casting lots?
- Who did the lot fall on?
- Did Jonah confess his sins?
- What was the answer to the problem?
- What happened to the sailors by the end of the story?