Journey Through The Scriptures

Jonah: God’s Reluctant Prophet

Lesson 2: Tossed into a Raging Sea

(Scripture to Read: Jonah 1:11 – 17)

When a person is trying to flee from God, other people are, unfortunately, often impacted by his actions. This was true with the sailors on Jonah’s ship—and these seasoned seamen were terrified. They cried out to their gods for deliverance from this storm on the Mediterranean Sea. When they cast lots and identified Jonah as the culprit, he finally realized his flight from the Lord was futile and told them to throw him overboard. But the sailors did not want to be held accountable for murder, so they refused. The Scripture indicates these men put forth strenuous effort to regain control of their vessel. But when that failed, they had no other choice. So the sailors, who worshiped other gods.

So the sailors, who worshiped other gods, cried for forgiveness to the God of Israel and threw Jonah into the sea. As soon as Jonah hit the water, the winds and waves grew calm. The men rejoiced and made a sacrifice to the Lord. Although these men probably worshiped many gods, the common belief in that day was that the god who controlled the sea was the most powerful god. While the sailors worshiped, Jonah was swallowed by a great fish in what he must have thought would be the last moments of his life. But God was not through with His rebellious servant.

Study Questions

  1. Why did the sailors not want to throw Jonah overboard?
  2. Why did they finally decide to throw Jonah into the sea?
  3. Why did these pagan sailors fear and worship the God of Israel?
  4. How did God show his mercy even as Jonah disobeyed Him?

Something to Think About

Just as He did with Jonah, God often gives us more than one chance to do His will. Jonah’s story teaches us both the importance of obeying God, and the great love and patience He shows to His often rebellious children.