Jonah 1:7-16: Jonah and the Sailors
‘Drawing straight lines with crooked sticks’, this is a one liner that I could write over this portion as we see God using an unwilling Jonah to do much more than he ever intended. Bringing good out of evil is another way we could summarise this portion. Jonah is running from God and being disobedient in not calling Nineveh to repentance. Jonah has brought ruin and judgement upon himself and the ships full of unbelieving sailors. Jonah has ruined his witness, but God! Despite Jonah God will use this attempt to damn gentiles to save gentiles. God will use this attempt to hide his identity and his God to bring them to the forefront. God will take this selfish prophet who wishes nothing but death on the unbeliever to willingly give his life to save unbelievers. The main application for us is not, is does not matter whether you sin or not God will make His will happen anyway. By no means! We have seen how painful disobedience is and how wrong. No our encouragement comes from an argument from the greater to the lessor. If this is how God can use someone who is trying hard to disobey what confidence can we have in God blessing our feeble obedience?
As we deal with this portion of Jonah interacting with the sailors we want to look at it under three headings, firstly, Jonah’s apathetic witness; secondly, Jonah’s prophetic pattern; thirdly, Jonah’s surprising converts.