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    by Gino Geraci

Commentary on Jonah 1:4-9
Date Posted: October 18, 2007

But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up

This sounds like a God who was in control! The storm was not a coincidence! Have you ever been in a situation in rebellion and disobedience, and God started closing doors and limiting your choices, trying to gently get you back to the pleasant place of submission and obedience? If you’re walking in disobedience, and it seems that your whole life is falling apart, it’s not a coincidence. As God did with Jonah, He may also be sending storms into your life to simply try to keep you from running away from Him.

Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load (Jonah 1:5).

I’ve got to tell you something; I like these sailors, even though they were stinking, heathen-dog-pagan sinners, without a clue of God. First, they cried out to their own gods, and then threw out the cargo to lighten their load. As they cried out to the deities that they knew, and lightened the load, they did everything spiritually and physically they knew to do. They had no idea that the storm was taking place because of a renegade prophet on board. Think about it. The sailors cried out to their gods and got no help; the Lord wasn’t inclined to help them because only one person on the ship had a relationship with God and he was in flaming rebellion against God, trying to sleep off his calling!

So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.” And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Please tell us for whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? and where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” So 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”

I want you to note the similarity between what the captain said and what God said to Jonah earlier, in verse two. God said to him, “Arise, go to Nineveh” and the pagan captain said, “Arise, call on your God.” Isn’t it the most shameful thing in the world when in your rebellion and disobedience the unsaved and the pagan rebuke you in your behavior? So the captain went down and said, “Look, excuse me, I’m the captain of the ship. We’re about to sink. You should wake up.”

The last place you want to be is with a disobedient man or woman of God, because their disobedience can spread like wildfire to everyone around them. You should avoid people in that state unless your motive is to encourage them to turn from their sin and renew their relationship with the God they’ve abandoned.

You have to understand that the sailors on board the ship were not stupid. They had been in every seaport from Joppa, down the cost to Egypt, and up again. The Mediterranean was a gigantic lake for them. Do you think they ever heard of the God who delivered the children of Israel out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and brought the plagues? Do you suppose it was possible that they were familiar with the mighty acts of God?

When Jonah said, “I am a Hebrew,” it was tantamount to you or me saying, “I’m a Christian.” Jonah stated that he feared the Lord of Heaven who made the sea – the thing the sailors feared the most at that moment.

Recently there was a pastor that I know of in Southern California who was involved with a girl in his congregation. The pastor involved in sin resigned his position. This woman was married to an unbeliever. Can you imagine if she had brought her unbelieving husband to church, and then he found out his wife was having an affair with the pastor? The unbelieving husband would probably think something like, You know, I was just starting to believe that this Jesus you preach about is real. I was beginning to consider the possibility of having my sins forgiven and that the hope of eternal life might be true, and now I find out you’re having an affair with my wife? How could I have been so stupid?

In the same way that Jonah’s disobedience ruined any possibility of a chance to witness to the people on the ship, our disobedience also short circuits the possibility of God using us to reach the people around us. It’s a sad thing when a Christian’s sinful behavior is exposed to pagans and unbelievers and they reveal they are on the lam from God. That’s exactly what happened with Jonah.

© 2007 by Gino Geraci

(Jonah 1:6-9).
(Jonah 1:4 NKJV).

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Biography Information:
Gino Geraci is the founding Pastor of Calvary South Denver.

He has served as a police chaplain for several police departments and currently serves as a Police Chaplain for the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department. Gino has provided emergency service support in many national tragedies. He was a first responder at Columbine High School, Ground Zero in New York, and Platte Canyon High School.

Gino has appeared on scores of national and local radio programs as a guest, including television appearances with Lee Stroebel's Faith Under Fire. He currently hosts a daily radio program with Salem Media in Denver, Colorado area.

Gino is a much sought after conference speaker. He has conducted leadership conferences, Bible conferences, and emergency service support conferences with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Samaritans' Purse, Gospel for Asia in India and Sri Lanka, the Bible League in Africa, Food For The Poor in Jamaica, Mike McIntosh Crusades in Mexico, Somebody Loves You Bible Conferences with Raul Ries in Chile, Columbia and Peru, and pastor's conferences in much of the continental United States.

Gino is currently the pastor of Calvary South Denver where he continues to minister, preach, teach, and serve.
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