In 1952, JB Phillips, an English pastor, writer and Bible scholar wrote a book called Your God Is Too Small. Over the years, this little book has become a Christian classic, providing insight for those who struggle with their concept of God. I must confess, after a couple of weeks in the Jonah series, I think Jonah could have benefited from reading Phillips’ book.
Jonah knew God. In fact, the Scripture tells us they were on speaking terms. Yet, when God called Jonah to go to Nineveh, the prophet thought he could actually run away from God; he thought if he could travel far enough that God would be unable to find him. Clearly, Jonah’s concept of God was too small. Fortunately, he wasn’t the only one on the ship the day that storm hit.
SEE ALSO : JONAH 1:4-16
In Jonah 1:5, we find the crew was terrified as the violent storm threatened to destroy their ship. So great was their fear, these weathered merchants of the sea cried out, each to their own god, hoping for deliverance. And where was Jonah? The ship’s crew found their passenger below the deck… sleeping.
When confronted by the sailors, Jonah identified himself as “… a Hebrew who fears the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry ground.” Jonah was running from the Creator of the wind and the sea.
As we read on in the chapter, the sailors once afraid of the storm are now frightened of the One who sent the storm. They were terrified at the swirling wind and crashing waves that threatened their lives. But, after God calms the sea the deafening stillness drove the crew to their knees. Out of reverence they sacrificed to the LORD, making vows (verse 16) when faced with the greatness of God.
From these sailors we are reminded of a fear far greater than any circumstance, greater than any storms we may encounter. It is when we come face to face with the power of God in the midst of our storms that everything is put into its proper perspective.
Though Jonah understood many things about God, he seemingly lost his fear… that sense of awe, in the presence of an all-powerful God. This causes me to wonder, what could have happened in the prophet’s life that eroded his concept of God?
Is it possible to become so anesthetized to the awesome power of the Creator that we no longer are amazed at the sights and sounds of a lightning storm, or at the endless waves of the ocean, or when hearts, once hardened by sorrows, are brought to life by the whisperings of God’s love? Is your God too small?
// Sandy Wild
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