Find Rest in His Presence
This week’s blog will pick up where we left off in Jonah last time. In Jonah 1:7-10, we find these words,
And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. (Jon. 1:7-10 ESV)
The mariners had attempted to do everything they knew to do at this point. Each had cried out to his god (v.5). They had hurled cargo overboard in order to lighten the load (v.5). They had awakened Jonah and implored him to call out to his god to see if he might give thought to them that they may not perish (v.6).
So now they decide to cast lots, “that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” Casting lots was a common way of the day to determine what the next course of action should be or to make choices. In this case, the lot falls to Jonah and the mariners ask Jonah a series of questions (v.8) to determine just who he is and why all of this is happening to them.
They want to know what he does, where he comes from, what is his country, and who are his people. The answers to these questions would reveal what they really wanted to know and that was who was his god. Jonah begins to answer (v.9) the questions in reverse order and explains that he is a Hebrew and that, “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and dry land.” These words were all the crew needed to hear. They became exceedingly afraid, “for the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.” They know who his God is, and they know that Jonah is fleeing from Him.
Here are a few questions to consider:
Is it not fascinating that pagans who worshiped any number of gods are stricken with great fear when they find out what is happening? Do you not also find it fascinating that Jonah says he “fears the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land,” yet he had no problem boldly disobeying God’s command? Friend, please do not fool yourself by saying you fear God and easily disobeying Him. The two do not go together.
Do you see the other foolish part of what Jonah said? “I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” Then why are you attempting to flee His presence when He is the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land? Like Jonah, you cannot escape God. He is the maker and heaven and earth. He sees all and knows all. Do not attempt to escape His presence in sin. Rather, seek to obey Him that you may find rest in His presence.
By His Grace Alone,