This scene contrasts the pagans and the prophet. Now prophet-preachers were the instruments of God’s voice, men of divine favor, selected to convey His will. Jonah was such a man who conversed with God. He drew a hard and fast line between God’s people, Israel, and everyone else, who were automatically outside of God’s provision and purpose. In this story, the pagans turn toward prayer in a crisis while the prophet is turning away from God. The pagans suggest that Jonah’s God might be able to quiet the storm. The pagans go on to wonder why the storm is occurring and whether one of them has offended the Divine—they frame their trouble theologically! When trouble traces to Jonah’s rebellion, they wrestle with the moral dilemma, they pray to God to relent lest they have to toss Jonah overboard, and they offer sacrifices and make promises after he is cast into the sea. The prophet acts like a pagan and the pagans like believers!
How have you seen God at work beyond the walls of the church?
How hard and fast are your lines?
What is the most rebellious thing each one in your family has done?