v. 13-16 "Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the Lord, 'O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man's life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased.' Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him."
God is in control and if there was any doubt we can plainly see it here in Jonah. God controlled the sea and the fish, not to be harsh, but to guide Jonah to the task he had been given. The men tried to row back to land and the storm increased. When we are fighting God the obstacles get bigger and bigger until we finally see that it's not worth it to go up against the God who created everything. The men thought that if Jonah was thrown overboard that he would surely die in such a violent storm, they could not conceive the thoughts of God or imagine the great thing that was about to happen. These men who believed in pagan gods where showing more compassion than Jonah could muster. They were turning towards a God who has power in all things. Sometimes people who don't believe show more concern and compassion than those who believe. That is a sad situation, but a warning to us that our hearts are not in the right place. These men were concerned for Jonah's life.
I notice something missing from the ship's crew. Instead of ganging up and getting mad at Jonah they cried out to God. I think in most situations like this people start to take sides and their defenses go up. I think God might have been showing Jonah compassion through these men. They believed in the same God that Jonah was working for, yet excelled at something that Jonah found so difficult to do.
"God is able to use even our mistakes to help others come to know him." NIV notes
"Your life is God's story being told and His character being displayed." Priscilla Shirer
Admitting our sins can be so powerful to those that do not believe. Some see this Christian package with our dog eared bibles, nice clothes, sweet words and these might be some of the most hurting people around you. Most people do not advertise their heartache, unless they feel safe and hear the stories of others. We walk around and when asked how we are doing we say fine or OK. Do not resist God's will for your life, Jonah defended his right to protest God, but I think he must have suffered greatly for this. We should reach out to others and share the path we have gone down without God and how God has transformed our lives since then.
Jonah was thrown overboard and the sea grew calm. This must have been a sight to behold. The darkness cleared away and the sea went back to normal. When you see a miracle do not hesitate to be in awe of it or you will miss the message hidden within.
If you do not like what you see in Jonah then that is a good thing because that means there is a chance for change. We can see ourselves as Jonah, even though his situation was completely different from ours, it shows our hearts and really tests our ability to follow God without reservation.
"God bluntly confronted Jonah with the reality of his disobedience, the pettiness of his demand for comfort, and the sinfulness of his blatant disregard for others. The wonderful character of God that Jonah wanted to withhold from the Ninevites, he himself had been taking for granted. Fortunately, God will be just as blunt with us. He will shatter our comfort if that will place us in the best place to meet Him." NIV notes