“But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken,” Jonah 1:4. (Read Amos 9:1-4)
Just as the phrase, “But Jonah” in verse 3, introduces the plans of Jonah which were contrary to the plan of the Lord, so the phrase “But the Lord” in verse 4 introduces the action taken by the Lord to counteract Jonah’s planned escape from His will.
I am sure that Jonah entertained the notion that he had succeeded in escaping from the Lord when once the ship had sailed. It was not so. Jonah had encountered no opposition from the Lord as he hurried to Joppa, found a ship with room for him and purchased his passage, got on board and watched the shoreline disappear as the ship set sail for Tarshish. All was going well for Jonah, or so it appeared.
THE LORD CAN AFFORD TO WAIT BEFORE HE ACTS
- A lack of action on God’s part following our transgression does not mean He does not intend to act against us. The world will yet learn this! “These [things] hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether [such an one] as thyself: [but] I will reprove thee, and set [them] in order before thine eyes,” Psalm 50:21. “Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” Acts 14:16. Jonah felt he had been successful. Hence his sleeping, verse 5. But how wrong he was!
- Immediate reprisal is not always God’s way. How many years passed before the sins of Joseph’s brothers caught up with them, Gen 42:21? How long has this world been in rebellion against Him?
It is His mercy that delays intervention, Lam 3:21-23.
- God has many agents with which He may accomplish His purpose. Here it is the wind, the sea, the sailors and then a whale. There can be no escaping God’s agents, Amos 9:1-4. Sinner there is only one safe hiding place where the wrath and judgment of God cannot reach — “And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2.
It is Christ the Mediator, Psa 32:6-7.