I have heard many good sermons and lessons on Jonah. It started with ‘don’t run from God’ lessons when I was a child, covered ‘Nineveh repented and was spared’ lessons, and, my favorite, ‘Jonah was actually angry at God’s mercy.’
Seriously! How many times do we get all up in our own righteousness and enjoy the idea of someone else being punished just a little too much? It’s a really good sermon.
Today, I was struck by the poor folks on the boat with Jonah in the beginning. First of all, they get mad at him for sleeping because he should be praying. That’s what they wanted him awake for. Whoever his god was, add it to the list and ask him for help, too. Seems pretty reasonable according to their worldview if you ask me. (Side note, how on earth was Jonah sleeping through that?)
Secondly, and here’s the big deal, when they identified him as the reason they were all going to drown, when he told them to throw him overboard, they tried not to. They tried to make it back to shore with everyone alive. When they asked him what they should do to satisfy his god, they must have been expecting some sort of ritual, sacrifice, or pledge. They didn’t want to kill him. Even though he had cost them their entire cargo, they didn’t want to kill him.
They did eventually throw him over because that’s what God wanted them to do, but I like these people. They seem like really good people. Don’t really have a moral to learn from them. Just wanted to draw attention to them. They seem like really good people.