Who else might have benefitted from Jonah’s disobedience? These are the spin-offs that I am interested in.
Let’s go all the way back to chapter one. Look at verse 3.
…so he paid the fare…
Someone received some kind of payment for the service provided to Jonah. Would this fare just go into a pocket? No. It would go towards expenses accrued as part of running a trade ship. Maybe that fare bought an extra hired hand onboard (making someone’s job easier)…or a little more fresh produce (so that folks could eat a little better on the way)…or having some bit of maintenance done to the boat (that might have had to be put off otherwise)…I wonder about things like this…lol.
At least one person benefitted right off the bat by a fare being purchased that might not have been otherwise. Whether or not it was worth it or not is yet to be seen.
Now Jonah didn’t represent God well on the ship. In those days, when things were going wrong on the ship, you pitched in and did what you could to help out. Jonah didn’t. He just kept on sleeping…slacker.
You know the story. They woke him up and ask him to pray to his God (they’d all been praying to THEIR gods and it ain’t done any good.) He told them in verse 9 that his God made everything that was made. They never claimed that their gods did that so, obviously, his God more substantial than theirs I guess (which happened to be true.)
I am curious though. When they asked him what they should ‘do to him’ (verse 11) to make his God calm the storm, what answer were they expecting? Because, when he told them to throw him overboard, they didn’t want to do it. What were they expecting to be able to ‘do to him’ to make God calm the storm? Remember, this is the age of blood sacrifices…lol.
They threw cargo overboard…they tried to row…in a storm…lol. They tried everything to keep from having to throw this dude overboard like he was telling them to do. One of the (if not the greatest) fears of sailors throughout history is the fear of going overboard. They would never wish this on anyone. The thought of ANYONE going overboard was just a horrible concept for them.
Once they had tried everything else, they were faced with doing the one thing they didn’t want to do. They cried out to God for forgiveness then threw Jonah over the side.
The storm stopped IMMEDIATELY! Storms don’t do that! I can imagine these guys looking at each other and saying, “what just happened?” If you have ever been at sea in a storm, it takes quite a while to have your ship stop being tossed around like a toy. Even the next day, you are in rolling seas more than you would normally be because it takes time for that much water settle down. That didn’t happen here. Look at verse 15.
…and the sea ceased from it’s raging.
The storm didn’t ‘start to subside’…it stopped cold. It was at that point that those men knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Jonah’s God was indeed the God that controlled nature itself.
This would not have happened to these guys had Jonah not disobeyed God. In verse 16, it says that they made sacrifices to the Lord and took vows. After that, nothing is ever said about these guys again. How did their lives change after this?
There are a few things that would change in my mind after this. First, they had to live with the fact that they threw a guy overboard into the sea. If someone falls overboard, they are generally never seen again. It is assumed that he died and they were the ones that sent him to his death. How do you live with yourself after committing an act like that?
Ending a life is something a rational mind should have a problem with no matter the circumstances. Many people who have had to end a life to justifiably defend themselves need a lot of therapy to recover from the mental anguish.
You might say, “but a big fish swallowed him and vomited him up later.” They didn’t know about this…but what if they did? What if they did see this fish in the water that was big enough to swallow a man whole? Would that be any sort of consolation for you? NO! it’s not like you will feel better like, “at least he didn’t drown, there was a great big fish that ate him.” Not really a thing to make you feel better is it?
So, after the sea ceased it’s raging, what did these guys do? Did they continue to Tarshish? or did they pull into the nearest port to pick up more cargo? I mean, a cargo ship carrying no cargo isn’t making money…
What did they tell people? You know, they just had events happen that introduced them to a very real God who can control the sea and did so right in front of them! You tell people about stuff like this!
Most likely, this boat or ship was a family enterprise. Most businesses were in those days. It was likely that most of the crew were related to each other. When they got home, their families probably heard all about it…he kids heard the stories and though it might be a cool story to tell their friends…their friends tell their families…
Who knows how far the telling of these events went! It would have been ANOTHER legendary tale associated with the Hebrews and their God. How many people would have been touched by the events that happened on that boat?
And those events would not have taken place had Jonah not disobeyed God like he did. The success of Jonah’s mission to Nineveh…the boat crew meeting the God of creation…even the opportunity for the great fish to even exist…Jonah’s disobedience was essential to all of these things.
Did God CAUSE Jonah’s disobedience? Or did He just use it to His advantage?
Oh, and by the way, both Mork & Mindy and Laverne & Shirley were spin-offs of the same show…Happy Days…
Y’all stay safe and keep a round in the chamber…