Jonah 1:5 NLT Fearing for their lives, the desperate sailors shouted to their gods for help and threw the cargo overboard to lighten the ship. But all this time Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold.
Jonah had been given an assignment by the Lord to warn the Ninevites that God was about to deal with their wickedness, but Jonah decided not to obey Him. Jonah knew the compassion and goodness of God and feared that God might show the people of Ninevah mercy if they repented of their evil ways. Jonah was harboring some resentments against the Ninevites for all the evil they had done to the Children of Israel in the past and didn’t want to see them saved, so he was running away from the call of God.
He arranged transport on a ship going in the opposite direction of where God was leading Him, and the journey got tough. Troubles come and the journey of life and following God isn’t always easy… but anytime you run away from the direction He is calling you, can count on one rough ride. A massive storm came, which was so bad that the experience sailors feared for their lives. But Jonah was sound asleep down in the hold. He was beyond fear and not in a positive way.
Jonah was depressed and in great personal anguish knowing that he was turning his back on the Lord he loved and the mission that God had sent him on. Sorrow makes you sleepy. There is a reason Peter, John and James couldn’t stay awake with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane… they were sorrowful (Luke 22:45). Jonah was in such a place of despair that when the horrible storm came against the ship, he didn’t even care. Everyone else was in terror, but Jonah didn’t even care whether he lived or died because his heart was so heavy from the grief of his stubbornness to follow God’s command. That is a very dangerous place to live.
Ultimately, Jonah repented, obeyed God, and a nation of people turned to God. However the journey to that place of obedience was filled with mental anguish, depression and put others in a place of fear. Our takeaway from this should be to simply obey God. Sometimes the things we are instructed to do don’t sound pleasant or we just don’t feel like doing, but God’s heart is always right. Follow Him. Walk with Him. Obey Him. This will help you avoid the anguish of Jonah and make the lives of others around you miserable. Jonah’s disobedience left him depressed and others in fear. His obedience set people free.