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The Heart of God in the Heart of the Sea

Devotion Six

April 8, 2024

When God Throws Wind

Daniel Barta

Jonah ran from the presence of Yahweh. He fled. He broke fellowship, rebelled, and said, “No!” He purchased a ticket for a ship and headed to Tarshish (Jon 1:3-4).

This may have been the end of the story, but the Lord took action. He intervened, and several interesting observations can be made about the Lord’s action.

  1. The LORD acted sovereignly over His creation.  The ship ran into a storm not by happenstance or random coincidence.  The sailors did not experience bad luck.  This storm does not find the ultimate explanation in the movements of cold and warm air mixing together.  Instead, the wind came because the LORD “threw a great wind onto the sea” (Jon 1:4).  God acted in physical space and time with wind.  

  2. Jonah nor the others on board were self-determinant.  Jonah willed to go to Tarshish.  He took steps to get there.  God said, “No.”

  3. God acted with measured precision so as to accomplish what He wished.   He could have drowned everyone on board.  He could have overwhelmed the boat, but He didn’t.  Instead, He desired to display His glory and put Jonah in a fish.  He worked in a measured way so that those on the boat would know Him and speak the truth about Him (see Jon 1:14)

God Acts Sovereignly Over Creation

To speak of God’s sovereignty over creation, we speak of His right and ability to do whatever He desires with whatever is His for His own good pleasure.  Since all of creation belongs to Him, He possesses the right and authority to direct all things.  In Jonah, He threw a great wind (Jon 1:4), commanded a great fish (Jon 1:17, 2:10), appointed a plant (Jon 4:6), then a worm (Jon 4:7), and then a scorching east wind (Jon 4:8).  In each instance, creation obeyed the LORD and did as He pleased. 

God’s uses of creation in the story of Jonah do not come as exceptions to the rule - as if creation normally runs on its own until God at times intervenes.  Instead, creation at all times and in every way receives direction from the throne of the Almighty (Ps 39, 104).  The LORD “causes the grass to grow” (Ps 104:14), “springs to gush into valleys” in order to “supply water for every wild beast” (Ps 104:10).  He commands the stars to come out at night and they obey (Is 40:26).  With His sovereign, powerful command he keeps the sun rising and setting with astounding consistency, and He too with great power may stop the sun in its path if He desires (Jos 10:12-15).

When Jesus, God’s Son, arrived on the scene, He testified to His identity through many wondrous works.  He showed His sovereignty over the created universe by healing the sick, turning a small lunch into a feast for thousands, walking on water, restoring life to the dead, condemning an unfruitful tree,  and restoring a severed ear to the head of a Roman soldier without modern surgical equipment.  

In one display of His sovereign reign, Jesus commanded a fierce storm, “Peace! Be still!”  Immediately, “the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” (Mar 4:39).  The disciples could not help but begin to wonder, “What kind of man is this?” for they understood only the LORD, the creator of Heaven and Earth possessed such authority.  Jesus indeed was and is the Creator.  It is He who created and it is He who reigns in the world with the power of His Word (He 1:2-3).

Acknowledge the LORD’s Hand in All Your Experiences.

What have you been given?  Did the LORD color your day with sunshine or paint the sky in grayscale with clouds bursting with rain?  Has he filled your barns with great harvest, or do you depend on crumbs from His table?  Has he given your body great strength, or do one or more of your members fail to function properly?  Has he given you authority, or has He put you in the place of subordination?  Did He place a righteous ruler over you, or do you experience difficulty under the command of an unjust power?  Has He granted you children, or has he allowed you to remain barren?  

Our lives in this fallen world know good and not so good.  We know calamity and we know well being.  We experience both the sweetness of God’s goodness and the sting of sin’s curse.  We know the warmth of the sun’s rays, and we know the pain of a sunburn.  Those of faith learn to see that God stands behind every detail of their lives.  Not even a bird can fall to the ground without God’s involvement.  Surely, whatever you encounter today, down to the finest detail of your experience comes by way of God’s sovereign activity.  We do well to acknowledge Him in all things.  Those who do will find great reason to give thanks, be confident, and rejoice in sorrow.

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