Once during carpool duty, I listened as a five-year-old boy spun a riveting tale, recounting his heroic adventures through the forest of snakes that he had to endure each day to get to his front door after drop-off. The other kids in the carpool sat rapt by the story until a very logical girl in the backseat said, “Charlie, I’ll only believe that if I see it with my own eyes.” Even from a young age, we understand that words can mean very little.
- What do you struggle to believe unless you see it?
READ THE WORD: JONAH 1:7-9 (ESV)
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.”
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
- The sailors knew they were up against a supernaturally powerful storm. What did they do in the face of this impending tragedy?
- Casting lots was an ancient tradition—occasionally used in the Bible—of rendering an impartial decision on an important matter. Proverbs 16:33 even says, “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Why doesn’t God need to speak any longer through the casting of lots?
- When the lot fell upon Jonah, it was assumed that he knew what had brought about the great storm. What did the questions the sailors asked Jonah imply about their culture of belief?
- Jonah’s response to the questions sounded good, but were they believable based on his actions?
- Should people believe your proclamation of being a Christ-follower based on your actions day-to-day?
RESPOND TO GOD
This passage exposes Jonah as the culprit. But it was not because of what he said; it was because of what he had done… or not done. He claimed he belonged to the covenant God. He claimed to fear him. He claimed to acknowledge his power as creator of all things. But his life, his actions, and his deliberate choices revealed something else. Sometimes we are just like Jonah, trying to honor God with our words of worship when our actions scream disobedience. But God loves us too much to let us get away with spinning fictitious tales. We will be found out, for our own good and God’s will.
- Spend some time talking to God about any areas of action that do not align with what you know about God and his will.
- Thank God that he is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Ps. 103:8), and ask God for forgiveness.
- Ask God to show you his plan for your obedience today.