7 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. 8 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?” 9 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.” 10 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. 11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. 17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights (Jonah 1.7-17, ESV).
Memory Verse: “He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” (Jonah 1.12, ESV)
Jonah’s sin had caught up with him and others were paying a heavy price for it. They had lost their livelihood in the cargo net they tossed into the sea, and as far as they could see they were about to lose their lives. It was up to Jonah to call out to his God, and see if He could do anything. The problem is Jonah know it was his God who was causing the storm and it was only Jonah’s obedience to God which could calm the storm.
But here is the thing, when we sin, we do not always just come out and tell others the problems that have arisen because of what we have done. We are hoping no one finds out it was us, that it is our fault, and maybe, just maybe they will think someone else is to blame. In many cases it is revealed we are the one at fault and if we had said something earlier a lot of difficulties and heartaches could have been avoided.
The men said one to another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us” (vs. 7). Yes, they are drawing straws, or rolling dice, or whatever they do to narrow it down to one person. This process was very common in those days and believed to be divine and accurate when choosing someone who was guilty or innocent or to be selected for an honor (Acts 1.26).
The lot falls on Jonah now he cannot hide, he cannot keep his sin to himself any more. They ask him several questions to know more about him. As he answers them seized by a great fear and said to him, “What have you done?” They knew he was running from the presence of the Lord because He told them (vs. 10).
A lesson we can learn here is your sin will always be found out. Jonah thought he could buy a ticket, get on a ship and just sail away and all his problems would be gone. But he forgot the One who asked him to, “Go.” The God of heaven and earth does not easily forget His commands nor the ones He asks to do them. He can and does desire His children to obey when called upon. As we have seen before (Hebrews 12.4-13), God disciplines those He loves. Jonah was no different, and He came after Him in the middle of the sea, God sent a storm of magnificent power and devastation. The sailors had never seen anything like this and were very afraid, this is because God was after Jonah and only Jonah.
So, the men wanted to know, from Jonah, what they needed to do to get the storm to stop. Now it might seem like Jonah had a novel ideal, but he was not so noble. Jonah is still thinking of Nineveh and how he does not want to go there. He knows how gracious and merciful God is, as well as forgiving, therefore, God is just the kind of God who will see these people change their ways and repent and give them another chance.
Jonah could not have that, nor be part of it. Therefore, he knows if they throw him into the sea, then the storm will stop because he will no longer be in the boat and God can deal with him in the water. However, in his mind he believes he will die and he will be free of doing what God has asked him.
God is bigger than our thoughts and our ways, Isaiah writes, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55.8-9, HCSB). So, even when we might want out, He can keep us in, when we want to go left He can send us right, we want to go up, He can send us down. It is always best for us to get on the same page as our Lord, this way we are in sync and working according to His will.
The men however, tried first to row for land, and they rowed even harder, but could not make it, so finally they throw Jonah overboard and when they did the sea was calm. Those men seeing the calm sea, feared Jonah’s God, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows. The Word does not tell us any more of these men, but we might assume they became followers of Jehovah because of Jonah’s disobedience.
This does not mean we should be disobedient so others will see how great God is, because it does not always work that way. But this does show how God can use any situation for His own glory and honor. Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, which the Lord had prepared for him. He was there three days and three nights.
Father, Creator, King of kings, and Lord of lords, I bow in humble submission to You, seeking Your wisdom and understanding in my life today. Lord there are many things I do not understand, I desire to know and follow Your will. Give me the insight and thoughtfulness to know when You are speaking to me so I will follow after You. Help me to continue to seek You daily, to serve You in every circumstance without question or fear and to share Your gospel with others. In Your Son Jesus Christ’s Name I pray, Amen.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Jon 1:7–17). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Christian Standard Bible. (2020). (Jon 1:10). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: Holman Christian standard version. (2009). (Is 55:8–9). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.
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