Don’t you hate it when you are only one who thinks your idea is a great one? Jonah volunteers to be tossed overboard and is sure that the sea will calm down when it claims his life. But Jonah did not count on the consciences of pagan sailors who stood with dropped jaws as they heard of Jonah’s heresy. Words are cheap and Jonah’s orthodox declaration (“I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land”) was clearly contradicted by his silly attempt to escape this God!
The sailors do not immediately grab Jonah and hurl him over the side. They once more grab their oars and try to row back to land. But in vain. They needed to play their part in this drama of sacrifice and redemption.
Their failure to rescue themselves drives them to cry out to Jonah’s God! And what an elegant prayer! “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” What a prayer!
Their prayer was much more orthodox than Jonah’s life! Notice several aspects of their prayer:
(1) They pray to Jonah’s God!
(2) They recognize that He is a righteous Judge who will hold sinners accountable.
(3) They acknowledge that He, Jonah’s God, had done as He pleased.
With a modicum of words, Jonah had unwittingly led these men to his God. And all he wants to do is go drown. Sad. (to be continued)