The Story of Jonah – Jonah 1:1-4:11

The Story of Jonah – Jonah 1:1-4:11

At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him. – Jonah 1:16

Did you notice that the first converts in the book of Jonah were not the sinful residents of Nineveh?  It was a group of unnamed pagan sailors on a boat bound for Tarshish.

When we read this story, we typically focus on the dramatic conversion of the city… or the way in which God still got His man to fulfill the call… or the way that Jonah was displeased with God after Nineveh repented.  But we often miss the fact that Jonah’s disobedience had an unintended side effect with these pagan sailors.

When the storm came up, we read that they each cried out to their own god, indicating that these sailors were from a variety of cultures and faith traditions.  But by the end of chapter 1, they feared the God of Jonah… offered sacrifices… and made vows to Him.

I’m reminded that God can even redeem our disobedience and use it for His purposes!  Who knows what happened when these sailors returned to their homes and told their families and neighbors about Jonah and his God?  Who knows if other people became sensitive to the work of God in their lives through this event?

Certainly, it would have been better if Jonah had obeyed in the first place.  But I’m glad that God can even use our failed attempts and disobedient actions to bring glory to His Name.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
                      – John Newton