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The Heart of God in the Heart of the Sea

Devotion Seven

April 9, 2024

The Fearful Cry to Deaf Gods

Daniel Barta

Terrified, the sailors “cried out” to their different gods (Jon 1:5).  The storm revealed the weakness and fragility of the sailors.  They could not help themselves, so they looked outward for an external savior, someone from outside of themselves, someone with power and might who could act in the world for their good. They sought a divine power, a spiritual being through the religious means of prayer and petition who could rescue them.

Unfortunately, the gods to which they turned possessed no power and authority.  As all gods other than the LORD, the gods of the sailors could not hear them nor answer them. 

“They [cried] out to [their gods] but [they didn’t] answer; [they] saved no one from his trouble” (Is 46:7b

Only Jonah’s God, “the LORD, God of the heavens, who made the sea and dry land” (Jon 1:9) possessed the authority and power to act.  He brought the wind and only He could command the wind to stand still again. 

God Stands Alone, and Besides Him There Is No Other.

The first commandment given to the people of Israel, Jonah’s people, said, 

“Do not have other gods besides me.” (Exodus 20:3)

At first glance, this command may sound narcissistic. God may seem as a deity who must have all the attention on Him in order to experience happiness.  But, upon further study, we see that the command comes out of truth and love.  

Other gods do not exist.  They are false.  They become burdens on the backs of those who worship and serve them.  They do not hear men.  They do not see men.  And they have no power to save men.  If men and women cry out to false gods their pleas will go unheard and they will perish. 

“To whom will you liken me and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be alike? Those who lavish gold from the purse, and weigh out silver in the scales, hire a goldsmith, and he makes it into a god; then they fall down and worship! 7 They lift it to their shoulders, they carry it, they set it in its place, and it stands there; it cannot move from its place. If one cries to it, it does not answer or save him from his trouble.” (Isaiah 46:5-7 ESV)

Put Away Your False Gods

The command to turn to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is similar to the parent’s loving and truthful command to their child, “Do not speak to or go with strangers.”  These wise parents do not wish to limit their children but to protect them.  These parents are not narcissistic, seeking to eliminate any competition for their child’s affection.  Rather, they command their children in the way they should go for their own good.  Danger awaits the indiscriminate child who without discernment follows the voice of deceptive strangers.  So too, men and women who without discernment turn to false gods for help will be severely disappointed, for there is only one God who can save.  

Idolatry is foolish.  Trust in one other than the LORD provides no hope in our present troubles.  We, like the sailors, must stop looking to idols and turn to the sovereign LORD.  We too must cry out, “Please LORD, don’t let us perish!” (Jon 1:14).  Only in this One True and Living God do we know any hope in this world, for it is this LORD who rules and reigns over His creation.

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