What are the three storms recorded in the Bible that still impact our lives today? What are the common key(s) of overcoming the storms? Reading afresh the respective story of the storms encountered by Jonah, Jesus, and the apostle Paul (in chronological order), we shall find the amazing answers to overcoming the storm of FEAR. We shall read in three parts (in three days in chronological sequence). The first story is about the supernatural encounter of prophet Jonah.
JONAH’S STORM (quoted in parts from Jonah chapters 1-2; boldness of some verses added by this watchman; my notes are in italics).
THE WORD OF THE LORD CAME: in all three instances the Word of God is a significant deciding factor. In the case of Jonah and Paul they could hear God’s word (speaking to them in their spirit). God wants the ones who can hear Him to pay attention, believe and take action. In the case of Jonah he chose not to listen even when he had heard clearly and specifically. He knew the consequences of his own decision against God’s decision about the lives of others at stake. He braved his own little body and soul (‘rightly’ constrained by his love and loyalty to his own nation, which had suffered thousands of years due to jealousy, hate, persecutions and oppression through recurring cruel conquests by enemy nations which surrounded her) against the foreseeable great personal storm to no avail. Why? Because God’s Word has spoken. God speaks of His mercy and wants to forgive and He gives an appointed time for them to repent, turn away from their wickedness and believe in the holy God, so that they may also be included in His Kingdom reserved for the Redeemed. God shows to even those who hate Him that He is a gracious and merciful God. But He has set a time frame for their repentance as shown in the case of the city of Nineveh.
ON THE QUESTION OF OVERCOMING FEAR: Jonah slept during the storm which threatened the lives of others as well as his on-board the same ship. Why? Was he oblivious of the big problem? From his conversation with others and with God, there was no question that he knew God. Knowing God is a key to overcoming fear. He was angry but fearless. The ship did not sink. God had not finished with him yet. Jonah knew it was a matter of time before he had to face God and not hide. From beginning to end of this episode Jonah was in the presence of a living God. And he knew this.
KEY TO OVERCOME STORM: He prayed. And God heard his prayer.
After Jonah obeyed and preached to the city of Nineveh (modern-day Mosul, Iraq), because of the repentance of the king and all his people, it was given a respite from destruction. The Book of Jonah depicted events from the reign of the Hebrew King Jeroboam II (786-746 BC). While, in The Book of Jonah, the city is spared the wrath of God, other references to Nineveh in the Bible (The Books of Nahum and Zephaniah, among them) predict the destruction of the city by God’s will because they reverted to their wickedness against God’s people. In 612 BC the city of Nineveh was sacked and burned by the allied forces of the Persians, Medes, Babylonians, and others who then divided the region between them. The area was sparsely populated thereafter and, slowly, the ancient ruins became buried in earth.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Bible verses from Jonah chapters 1-2 (in parts)
1:1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah …, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He …found a ship going to Tarshish; …to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. 4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up. 5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, [a] …But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep. 6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; …” 9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid, and said to him, “Why have you done this?” …“What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?”—for the sea was growing more tempestuous. 12 And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; …” 15 .. and the sea ceased from its raging. ..
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. 2 And he said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me…Salvation is of the Lord.” 10 So the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.