Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep (Jonah 1:5).
Confronted with the storm, the sailors do all that they humanly can to save the vessel and their lives. They pray to their gods. They hurl the cargo overboard. Since we must assume that they did not set sail with a hint of bad weather, they attempt to find out who or what caused the storm. They had done their jobs well – they were without blame. But there’s Jonah – asleep in the lowest part of the ship. The phrase “inner part” (“below deck,” NIV) carries with it the idea of the furthest recesses or depths
We cannot hide from God when we disobey Him. There’s no remote scrap of land – no isolated tribe – no outcast – no dreg of the human species that is beyond God’s knowledge and care. Jonah thought he would get away from God by going west when God said to go east – by taking a ship when God said to travel on land. Jonah determined that he would rather be a nobody from Tarshish on the run from God than to be a somebody involved in God’s mission in Nineveh.
Don’t miss this: Jonah was so at home in the inner recesses, that in the midst of a terrible storm, Jonah slept. Emotionally exhausted and depressed, Jonah slept. Jonah had taken drastic steps to escape God, and now he acted as if he had found security. His deep sleep was a way of escaping the implications of his call.
Do not make it into a sign of faith (like Jesus on Galilee, cf. Luke 8:22f). Whatever the cause of his deep sleep, Jonah was totally out of contact from the moment – unaware of the danger from the storm.
Because of Jesus,