Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
This is the fourth in a series of studies on the Book of Jonah.
JONAH – THE STORM
We have previously stated that God is omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere. When Jonah went to Joppa, God was there. When he entered the ship, God was there.
When he went down to the bottom of the ship, wrapped himself in his prophet’s mantle and went to sleep, God was there.
God was already gathering the storm that was about to come upon the ship. (Nah 1:3) “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” No storm is ever outside of God’s control.
When do storms come?
(1) When we least expect them, they come. (2) When we are adrift spiritually, storms have a way of bringing us back to God. (3) When we have been clinging too tightly to people that we need to release, or to things we need to let go of. Storms have a way of helping us release our grip. (5) They come when we have need of rearranging our priorities and reframing our lives. Storms hit, and sometimes they hit hard. Because they are unexpected, they hurt, and hurt deeply. Why do storms come?
(1) They come to humble us. (2) They come to get our attention. (3) They come to make us aware of our frailty and limitations. (4) They come to remind us who is in charge of our lives, so that we will fear God. This doesn’t mean that God wants us to be afraid of Him, but to respect and honor Him.
This is the same relationship parents should want with their children. It requires a lot from parents, and requires training of children. God wants us to honor Him. Storms bring a healthy awareness that this is God at work, right here and right now.
To Jonah God had become somewhat familiar and common. God was no longer respected and feared in Jonah’s heart. God could be obeyed or ignored. The command of God did not arrest Jonah’s heart. He was tired of God and desired his own path to that chosen by the Lord. How else could he have crawled down into the hold of the ship and gone to sleep? The fear and awe of God was lost on him, and he did not take God seriously. At least, not until there was a storm.
We must never become over familiar with God. We are around God, His word and His work so much until we can become hardened and desensitized. We can never afford to lose our sense of awe of God. This seems to be what happened to Jonah, and he all but died over it, thus losing his ministry as well as his soul.