Jonah 1:7-9 (The Message)
Then the sailors said to one another, “Let’s get to the bottom of this. Let’s draw straws to identify the culprit on this ship who’s responsible for this disaster.” So they drew straws. Jonah got the short straw. Then they grilled him: “Confess. Why this disaster? What is your work? Where do you come from? What country? What family?” He told them, “I’m a Hebrew. I worship God, the God of heaven who made sea and land.”
The sailors want to know why this freak storm is punishing their ship, so they “draw straws” to see who’s responsible. According the The New Interpreter’s Bible, “Although nowhere does the Bible report the exact procedure for casting lots, the technique was familiar in the ancient Near East. Perhaps from among a collection of shards, each inscribed with the name of a member of the ship, the sailors chose one.”
Can you imagine the look on Jonah’s face as the lots fall and the sailors turn to him? The questions come rapid-fire now: Who are you? Where are you from? What did you do to bring this disaster upon us?
Jonah answers their questions with the only answer that really matters: “I’m a Hebrew, and I worship the God of Heaven.” The word used here is yare’ and it means “to worship, to fear.”
I fear, I worship God… a sadly ironic claim for a wayward prophet.
When have you been caught doing something you shouldn’t have done?
In verse 9, Jonah uses the name of God: “Yahweh, the God of heaven who made sea and land.” The sailors may never of heard of this Yahweh before, but now they know the name and have seen God’s power. How does God use the circumstances in our lives to demonstrate the truth of God’s power and love?