Lessons from Jonah: Raging Storms & Troubled Hearts
“But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea.”
Last week, we learned that Jonah’s disobedience to God came at a high price. Even though he later repented and went to Nineveh (3:3), Jonah’s rebellion had irreversible consequences that negatively affected him and even his shipmates. In this week’s passage, a handful of sailors find themselves soaked to the skin thanks to this pernicious prophet, reminding us that one person’s disobedience often impacts many lives.
Interestingly, the men Jonah was counting on to bring him to Tarshish actually become instruments of God’s sovereignty. Jonah may have thought these pagan comrades were unlikely to interfere with his rebellion, yet God Himself decided to do just that. Jonah was fully aware of God’s mercy (4:2), but he was about to receive a memorable lesson in God’s persistence.
The scene that unfolds bears several noteworthy similarities to the storm Jesus calmed in Mark 4:35-41:
- Both Jesus and Jonah were found asleep and had to be awakened.
- In both cases, the storm subsided shortly afterward.
- God calmed each storm in miraculous fashion, resulting in faith and worship by those aboard the ships.
What about our storms?
Of course, the reason for the storms were very different — and so it is with us. The storms we face may come upon us because of outright rebellion like Jonah’s, or even when we are traveling closely with the Master like the disciples.
God’s purpose would prevail, and peace hinged on their submission to it.
Our natural reaction when facing turbulence is often to take matters into our own hands. In Jonah, the crew exhausted themselves trying to stay afloat, even after Jonah confessed his responsibility for their plight. But God’s purpose would prevail, and peace hinged on their submission to it.
Looking again at the New Testament, neither Matthew or Mark say the disciples tried to face the storm in their own strength. We don’t read of them throwing cargo overboard or bailing water, but we can hear a certain fear in their voices as they ask the Lord, “Do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38).
Jonah knew God cared about Nineveh, but he rebelled against God’s will. Christ’s disciples had the opposite problem: they weren’t rebellious, but they doubted whether He cared. May we learn from Jonah to trust God’s plan, and from Jesus to trust His love.
Feel up to a challenge? Consider memorizing Jonah! Scripture Memory Fellowship has a great program to help you learn all 48 verses in 16 weeks. Click here to check it out.