Like Jonah, we are in situations where we will make orthodox statements about our beliefs — and will be judged by the way that we are living. Jonah’s (forced) declaration: “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” is perfectly orthodox. But it’s obvious that these are merely words to Jonah.
Notice the reaction of the pagan sailors to Jonah’s orthodox declaration: “This terrified them and they asked, ‘What have you done?'” They are shocked and horrified that Jonah’s beliefs and his behavior are so contradictory.
What upsets them? The reality that Jonah is the reason for the storm. He is the cause of their having to dump their cargo. It is his fault that their stomachs and their lives have been violently turned over. And the text tells us that “they knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.” I wonder how Jonah put it — “I’m actually running away from the God who made the sea and the dry land.”
There are many ways of running from the Lord. If you wish, write out one of those ways in the Comments section below. (to be continued)