Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Vs 15: “So, they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.”
This verse shows a three-fold submission. The submission of Jonah. The submission of the sailors. The submission of the sea. We see the Sailors, the Sacrifice (Jonah) and the Sea.
Jonah has said “take me up” (1:12). “So, they took up Jonah.” (1:15). They “took up Jonah” in obedience to Jonah’s word and the “took up Jonah” in obedience to God’s will. This is their submission. Jonah does not struggle, he submits and he is silent. This is Jonah’s submission. This is a picture of the submission of Jesus. Jesus submitted in every way. He submitted to His Father in the Garden. He submitted to the soldiers who arrested Him. He submitted to the soldiers who abused Him. He submitted to those who examined Him. (high priest, scribes, elders). He submitted to Herod who mocked Him. He submitted to Pilate who sentenced Him. He submitted to His God, who judged Him. Jesus was silent He had said all that needed to be said.
In the midst of this submission we see the Sacrifice. They “cast him forth into the sea.” Jonah had said “cast me forth” (1:12), so they “cast him forth” (1:15). They did not resist God’s will and Jonah did not resist God’s will. Did Jonah realize that this was not his will but God’s will? Whether he did or not we see his complete surrender and acceptance. They threw Jonah into the “tempestuous” (1:12), the “raging” (1:15) sea. The sea pictures both judgment and death. Jonah is swallowed up by the sea, by the wrath of God and the will of God. He has surrendered himself to God’s will. He has sacrificed himself for others. He has accepted his own death. What a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ!
We see the submission of the sea: “and the sea ceased from her raging” or another rendering is “the sea became calm.” This is the first miracle but not the last miracle. The word “ceased” here means “to stay still.” Here it means “to stand still, to stop moving.” The sea was subject to the Will of God and the Word of God. It is interesting that the storm started because of Jonah an stopped because of Jonah. Jonah is a sign in so many ways. His disobedience and his obedience is a sign. His suffering and his sacrifice is a sign. What ceased was the “raging” of the sea. The word “raging” can be translated “anger, indignation, wrath.” The “raging” speaks of the intensity of the storm and also pictures God’s judgment in progress. The “ceasing” pictures God’s judgment completed. Through the storm God had proved He was “the God of heaven that made the sea.” (Psa.89:9; Psa.107:29). In the same powerful way, Jesus proved that He was “the God of heaven that made the sea.” He proved this when He “rebuked the wind and the raging of the water” (Luke 8:24). At His Word the storm stilled.
Vs 16: “Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows.”
In this verse we see the sacrifice the men made. It was based on their Fear and their Faith.
Their Fear: “Then all the men feared the Lord exceedingly,” Then shows when. It was after the storm stopped. It was after the miracle. It was all the men that feared. They were all witnesses to this miracle. They can picture all those that choose to believe, the “whosoever” that Paul speaks of in Romans. The “whosoever that believeth” (Rom.10:11); the “whosoever” that “shall call upon the name of the Lord” (Rom.10:13). The provision was for all these men to be saved. They all feared (to stand in awe of, to reverence). They had all feared because of the mighty storm. Now they all feared because of the mighty miracle. Fear can be transformed from terror to awe, and from awe to reverence for God. They feared the Lord (Jehovah), they knew who to fear. They feared the God of Creation. They feared the God of Jonah. They feared the God of Grace. And they feared exceedingly (greatly, tremendously, decidedly, mightily). They were overwhelmed! They were overcome! They were overjoyed! Vine’s says this verb implies the psychological reaction of fear. It was not simple fear, it was reverence. Their fear brought a different kind of submission, and submission that offered willingly a sacrifice. This shows that when God manifests His power, there will be a reaction, there will be a response. When Israel saw God’s power over the Egyptians they feared and believed (Exo.14:31). When the world sees God’s power the whole earth will fear and stand in awe (Psa.33:6-8). This is the type of fear that leads to faith.
Their Faith: “an offered a sacrifice unto the Lord and made vows.” In their faith we see two things: their offering (Praise) and their obligation (Promise).
Their Offering shows their Praise: They “offered a sacrifice unto the Lord.” They knew they needed to offer a sacrifice and it was immediate, it was voluntary and it was a thanksgiving. They knew who to offer their sacrifice to. It was not to their own gods. It was to the God of Jonah. We do not know what was sacrificed or how they sacrificed, but they did offer sacrifices. They sacrificed what they had, they sacrificed what they could, and what they sacrificed was enough. It does not say God did not accept their sacrifice, I believe He did, that it was accepted. Whatever it was, it was a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. One commentary said that if there were any goods left on the ship, that an offering of grain or oil or pure water would have been appropriate. What is most important is their willingness to offer a sacrifice and the thanksgiving behind the sacrifices. Paul tells us that through Christ we “offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually,” he said that this sacrifice “is the fruit of our lips,” that this sacrifice is “giving thanks to his name.” (Heb.13:15). There is nothing burdensome or complicated or difficult about that type of sacrifice.
Their Obligation shows their Promise: They “made vows” (unto the Lord). Along with their Praise was their Promise. The word “vows” is plural, there were many men there that day and there were many vows made that day. Each vow may have been different. Each vow may have been made according to each man’s faith and circumstances. Some men may have had little faith. But each man made a vow. They could have vowed to offer better sacrifices. They could have vowed to serve the Lord. We do not know what they vowed but even though they were Gentiles, the Lord would accept each vow made.
To be continued