“Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried to the Lord, ‘O Lord, please do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, O Lord, have done as you pleased.’ Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.” (Jonah 1:13–16, NIV84)
How powerful is the Word of God? How important is it to speak His Word if you have been given the opportunity? Just look at this scene. Sailors who had no knowledge of the one true God came to know Him through the reluctant words of a runaway prophet. God used Jonah, even in his disobedience, to get His Word effectively into the hearts of these sailors who needed to hear it. Out of reverence, and a holy fear, they attempted to row back to land. They just couldn’t heed Jonah’s request to be thrown into the turbulent waters. They didn’t want to add a wrong to what was already occurring. But this storm had a purpose! It was not going to relent until it got what it wanted. The storm got even more fierce. The sailors revealed their new-found faith in their plea to God to not hold them accountable for Jonah’s death when they threw him into the water. They knew the Lord was calling out for Jonah through the storm. They finally relented and threw Jonah overboard and immediately the seas became calm. What an amazing testimony as to how powerful and purposeful our God is. He is willing to move heaven and earth to get His will done. And what is that will? “God wills all men to come to the truth and so be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4).
Before we continue our study on the life of Jonah, let’s take one last look at the sailors. Verse 16 tells us that the sailors greatly feared the Lord and offered sacrifices to Him and made vows to Him. After all they had experienced on that frightful day, they gave their lives over to the Holy God they had met in the storm and Whom Jonah had told them about. This historical event overwhelms me! My view of God is so often too narrow. God’s primary task, it would seem, would have been to call back his wayward prophet and get Him back on duty. But accomplishing that alone was not enough for God. God is a multiplying God. There are countless ripple effects that occur when His hand touches our lives. He not only reclaimed Jonah, but He won new souls into His kingdom. God always accomplishes more than what we are able to perceive. Even as you read this devotion, God could be multiplying again. His Word never comes back empty but always accomplishes what it was intended to do.
Praise God that He is so faithful and true!