7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” 9 And 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, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the Lord, because he had told them.
11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the Lord, “O Lord, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows.
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
There is a famous old poem written in the late 1800s by a man named Francis Thompson. A poem titled “The Hound of Heaven.” Now, because this is a little longer poem with 182 lines and because of the setting we are in, I thought it would be difficult to engage with the poem if I read it for you here. So, what I decided to do was try to tease you into reading the poem by reading you some comments that a man named J.F.X. O’Conor wrote about the poem in the early 1900s.
O’Conor wrote this: “The name is strange. It startles one at first. It is so bold, so new, so fearless. It does not attract, rather the reverse. But when one reads the poem, this strangeness disappears. The meaning is understood. As the hound follows the hare, never ceasing in its running, ever drawing nearer in the chase, with unhurrying and unperturbed pace, so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace. And though in sin or in human love, away from God it seeks to hide itself, Divine grace follows after, unwearyingly follows ever after, till the soul feels its pressure forcing it to turn to Him alone in that never-ending pursuit.”
I say all this to you this morning to set us up for our text of study in the back half of Jonah 1. Because we come to a text that I think illustrates the thoughts that Thompson had when he wrote his famous poem.
As we see in our text today, the Hound of Heaven was at work through His divine grace to chase and capture Jonah, who was doing all that he could to run away from the presence of the Lord.
Now, before we get to our text, let me first set the context to remind us where we left off last Sunday. The book of Jonah seems to be an autobiographical story of Jonah, who in 2 Kings we learned was a prophet of God used by God in 2 Kings 14 to do a great work in Israel through his preaching.
In our study last week, we learned in the opening verse of this short book that the Lord came to Jonah to give him another preaching assignment. This assignment required Jonah to arise from where he was, presumably in northern Israel, and travel 500-600 miles to the east to the great city of Nineveh, which was located in modern-day Northern Iraq.
Now, Nineveh was a great city for multiple reasons. It was great in terms of its population, its landmass, its influence. But most importantly, in the book of Jonah, Nineveh was a great city in terms of its evil and wicked ways.
So, in our text last week, as Jonah was given this preaching assignment from the Lord, Jonah determined that this was not an assignment for him.
Jonah came to this conclusion because of how much disdain he had for Nineveh. In his great disdain, Jonah did not want to preach to them because he did not want God to do a gracious and merciful work of salvation like God did in 2 Kings 14. Instead, Jonah wanted judgment to come to Nineveh; he wanted them to burn.
So, in our text last week, rather than obeying the clear command of God, Jonah decided that he wanted to get as far away as possible from this command and from the presence of God. He traveled down to the Mediterranean port city of Joppa, where he paid a fare to enter a boat that was headed to Tarshish. Now, as mentioned last week, scholars do not know the exact location of Tarshish, but there are enough clues throughout Scripture to give us a pretty good idea of where it was generally located. Scholars believe this ancient city was likely located in Spain, the exact opposite location of Nineveh, about as far in the opposite direction as Jonah could go in that ancient world.
When you add up the clues, scholars estimate that Tarshish could have been as far as 1500 miles or more to the west of Israel, three times the distance from Israel to Nineveh. That’s how committed Jonah was to get away from this command of God; that’s how committed Jonah was in his disdain towards Nineveh. He was willing to leave his home, pay a fare, and travel a great distance just so he didn’t have to talk to others about God.
In our text last week, even though Jonah was successfully able to find a ship to help him flee from the presence of the Lord, the Hound of Heaven did not passively sit back and let his prophet thwart his desires to show mercy, grace, and salvation to Nineveh.
As the ship made its way out into the sea, the Hound of Heaven hurled a great wind onto the sea that caused a mighty tempest, so mighty that the ship was threatened to be torn apart. The violent storm raged on, and the men of the ship started to pray to their different pagan gods, hoping to find help and relief, which none came.
As the storm raged and the men of the ship were put into a panic filled with fear, the captain of the ship noticed that Jonah was nowhere to be found. So the captain made his way into the inner part of the ship, where I am sure much to his surprise, he found Jonah fast asleep. The captain didn’t quietly try to back out of the inner part of the ship, not wanting to disturb Jonah or wake him up. Rather, the captain cried out to him, “Jonah, what are you doing sleeping while this life-threatening storm rages on? Arise, call out to your God that perhaps He might hear you and save us from the storm.”
And that is where we left off last week, with Jonah rejecting the clear command of God, attempting to flee from God’s presence, only for him to be chased by the Hound of Heaven.
With that as our intro, let’s look back at verse 7, where we read that as the captain was waking up Jonah, the men of the ship were still trying to figure out how to escape from the violent storm. The prayers to their pagan gods didn’t work, and in verse 5, hurling the cargo overboard into the sea as an attempt to lighten the ship didn’t seem to be working. So, we read that they came together to cast lots with the hope that through the casting of lots, they could determine on whose account this evil had come upon them.
Now, let me mention a few things here about casting lots. First, in the Old Testament, this was a practice that God’s people would occasionally use as they tried to understand the will of God. In fact, there are about 70 different references in the Old Testament to casting lots. To go back to our recent study of 1 Samuel, lots were cast in 1 Samuel 10, leading to Saul being anointed as King. Multiple times in the books of Numbers and Joshua, casting lots was used to determine how the land would be split between the different tribes of Israel. The book of Proverbs also speaks about casting lots to help settle disputes—around 70 references to this practice in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, before the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and before the New Testament canon was written, we read how the disciples cast lots to determine who would replace Judas, the one who betrayed our Lord with a kiss.
While it has been lost to history exactly what the lots were that were cast, most think lots were either sticks, flat stones, or maybe even a coin that would be rolled or flipped, and how the lots would land would point to different things. For us, think about rolling dice or flipping a coin.
What the sailors in our text were doing here would be similar yet different from what we see in Scripture. It’s similar in that they were using the lots to gain wisdom but different in that they were not casting lots by faith in God, which was how the practice of casting lots was to be done in the Old Testament. Rather, I think it’s safe to say the sailors were casting lots more out of superstition, more as an attempt to appeal to their pagan gods. However, even though the motives of the sailors were not correct, in our text, we are about to see that God still used the lots to make His will known.
Third, let me quickly mention that while this was a practice found in the Old Testament, this is not a practice we are instructed to do in the New Testament age. Yes, in the New Testament book of Acts, we see the disciples casting lots, but as mentioned, that is before the coming of the Spirit at Pentecost and before the New Testament canon was written. So, the disciples casting lots took place in a sense between the times of the Old Testament and New Testament.
Now that the Spirit is here and the Word has been fully given to us in the New Testament canon, we do not cast lots to determine the will of God. Instead, we search the Scriptures, we pray to the Lord, who the book of James tells us gives wisdom generously when we ask for it in faith, and we humbly seek counsel from godly men and women to help us make good and wise decisions.
Back to our text, at the end of verse 7, as the lots were cast, the Lord determined that He was going to work through them, so He caused the lots to fall on Jonah, pointing to him as the reason for the violent storm. In verse 8, as the lots pointed to Jonah, the sailors quickly put him on trial, asking Jonah to tell them on whose account this evil has come upon them. They wanted to know more about him—his occupation, where he comes from, his country, and his people.
As the sailors put Jonah on trial, it’s clear they were trying to get to the bottom of things, to figure out what to do from here. However, this week as I read this, I almost felt like the sailors were trying to give Jonah the benefit of the doubt. Yes, the lots fell on him, but at least to me, they didn’t want to rush into a quick judgment of him. Perhaps the lots were wrong.
So they were asking him questions almost to give Jonah the benefit of the doubt, in the language of the courtroom in our society, almost like an “innocent until proven guilty” mindset from the sailors. And I think this is perhaps the tone of the sailors because, as we will see in just a bit in verses 13 and 14, the sailors were really trying to protect Jonah in this scene, which I also think is a bit of the irony we are supposed to see in this passage. How gracious the pagan sailors were in this passage towards Jonah, even though Jonah was clearly not wanting to be gracious towards Nineveh.
In verse 9, as it was Jonah’s time to respond to the questions of the jury, we see him respond by giving his testimony. “Sailors, to answer your questions: I am a Hebrew, and I fear the Lord.” Here in the Old Testament text, the word “Lord” in the ESV translation is the word “Yahweh,” the name of the covenantal God given to Moses at the burning bush. “Sailors, I fear Yahweh, the God of heaven, the very one who made the sea and the dry land.”
Now, a few quick thoughts here. First, the word “fear” is a key word in chapter 1. In verse 5, the sailors were afraid, calling out to their gods. In verse 9, as just read, Jonah feared God. As mentioned, that was his testimony that he shared with the sailors. In verse 10, the sailors heard the testimony, and we read that they became exceedingly afraid. And when we get to verse 16, these men, these pagan sailors, feared the Lord Yahweh exceedingly. So, this is a key word for us to see in the text.
Second, the word “fear” carries with it the notion of worship. So in the Scriptures, when we read “to fear God,” worship is tightly linked to that phrase. In verse 5, as an act of fear or worship, the sailors cried out to their false gods in prayer. In verse 9, Jonah’s testimony was pointing to the one he feared and worshipped. In verse 10, as the sailors heard this testimony, it exceedingly challenged their fear, their worship. In verse 16, the sailors responded to the testimony of Jonah’s fearful worship of God by doing likewise, fearfully worshipping the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land. We will come back to this at the end.
Third, Jonah’s testimony is how he relates to the God of heaven who made the sea and dry land. This points to the truth that God is the one who is sovereign and in control over all things. All things are created for Him; all things are created by Him; all things bow down according to the purposes of His will. Last week, in verse 4, it was the sovereign hand of God that hurled the wind upon the sea. When we get to verse 15, it was the sovereign hand of God that calmed the same sea. When we get to verse 17, it was the sovereign hand of God who appointed the great fish to swallow Jonah.
Fourth, let me quickly mention that this testimony of Jonah captures the famous phrase by the great reformer Martin Luther, which in Latin says, “Simul Iustus et Peccator.” This basically means “at the same time, a Saint and a Sinner,” which is the truth for all of God’s people in this present age.
Even though we worship God as His redeemed saints, whom He declares to be holy, we do so at the same time still being sinners. That is Jonah in this book—a Hebrew who feared and worshipped God, yet he was still in sin, disobeying the clear command of God, which is what put the Hound of Heaven in pursuit of him. And to say it again, until the Lord returns to set up His eternal kingdom, this will be the reality for all of His people—saints while at the same time sinners.
Continuing in verse 10, as the sailors were exceedingly afraid after hearing this testimony of Jonah, we see that they wanted more details as they were trying to determine what to do with this information. Jonah tells us, “What have you done?” And in our text, they asked this question already knowing what he had done, that he had fled from the presence of the Lord. The sailors knew this about Jonah because Jonah had already communicated that information to them. So, this question, I think, was more a question of “What have you done in terms of bringing the Hound of Heaven upon us? Jonah, what have you done? Why did you do this? What will your God do in light of your disobedience?”
In verse 11, after the sailors asked Jonah what he had done, we see they then wanted to know what they were going to do. In the text, Jonah, they ask, “What shall we do to you now that we have determined you are the cause of this storm? Jonah, what shall we do to you so that your God will quiet down the storm for us?”
In the text, the sailors were asking Jonah what they were to do, but we see that the Hound of Heaven did not relent, not giving them time to collect their thoughts on the best strategy to move forward with Jonah. The Lord did not relent either because we read that the sea was growing more and more tempestuous, becoming rougher and rougher. As the sea became more and more rough, putting the ship in an even greater threat of being broken up, Jonah responded to them.
Jonah said to the sailors, “Let me tell you what you need to do. I think this is the only way you can be saved from the storm: Pick me up and hurl me into the sea. I must die in order that you guys might live.” By the way, “hurl” is also one of the key words in this passage. God hurled a great wind in verse 4, the men hurled cargo in verse 5, and now Jonah is telling the men to hurl him into the sea. Jonah knew that if he was hurled into the sea, the Hound of Heaven would be satisfied, and the sea would quiet down, bringing peace to the situation.
Jonah understood that it was because of his sin that the great tempest had come upon the sea. By the way, I don’t think Jonah needed to be a prophet to understand what was happening here. He knew he was in sin, he knew he was on the run from God, and I think he probably knew that God would not allow him to get away.
In verse 13, even though Jonah told the men what to do in terms of hurling him into the sea and why they were to do that, nevertheless, the men kept rowing as best they could, desperately trying to get back to dry land. This, I think, shows a bit more of the ironic graciousness of the pagan sailors—they were trying to save Jonah’s life. However, even though they were doing their best to get back to dry land, it was not going to happen because the sea only grew more and more tempestuous against them. Friends, we can’t fight against God and win, no matter how hard we might try.
In verse 14, as the sailors finally accepted that they were not going to get back to land, at least not with Jonah still on board, we read that an incredible work of God took place in their hearts. These pagan sailors started to call out in prayer to the one true and living God, to the Lord Yahweh in the text, saying, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O Lord, have done as you have pleased.” Basically, they were saying, “Lord, please do not hold this against us, what we are about to do to Jonah. This is your doing, your desire, this is what pleases you, which is why we are doing what we are about to do.”
With that, in verse 15, after they prayed to the one true and living God, we read that they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea. There’s that word “hurl” again. True to what Jonah, the prophet of God, told them, as Jonah’s body hit the sea, the sea immediately ceased from raging.
As the sea ceased from raging, we read that in verse 16, a worship service broke out on the ship as the sailors exceedingly began to fear the Lord. In keeping with their worship and fear of the Lord, we read they offered up sacrifices to the Lord, making vows of commitment to follow after Him. This is truly an amazing work of God.
Finally, in verse 17, we end with perhaps the most famous scene in the book of Jonah, where the sovereign Lord calmed the sea and also appointed a great fish, possibly a whale, though it’s impossible to know for sure what type of great fish it was. The Lord directed the great fish to the body of Jonah, where it swallowed up the prophet of God. Jonah would be inside the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights before the Sovereign God caused the great fish to spit the prophet back out onto dry land. We’ll get to that part in our next study of Jonah.
For now, we’re ending in verse 17 with the Hound of Heaven chasing and capturing His disobedient prophet. Now, for the rest of our time this morning, I want to close out by giving you several thoughts concerning the Hound of Heaven. I do think this is the main point that the author wants us to see in this text—how the Hound of Heaven, Yahweh, the God of Heaven, the one who made the sea and dry land, was at work to accomplish His will, even though His prophet Jonah was disobedient.
First, the Hound of Heaven chases His people, and this is related to the discipline of God that was briefly talked about in our text last Sunday. God, in His love and mercy, disciplines His people when they run from His commands. I know the word “discipline” can at times feel like a loaded term that can be used to communicate a spectrum of different things. So just to be clear on what I am aiming for here, let me read this from Hebrews 12:
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by Him. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us, and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment, all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
In the text, this is what God was doing in Jonah. He was pursuing Jonah as a loving father pursues his children to lovingly discipline them.
Friends, God, in His love, was not simply idly going to sit back and let Jonah run from His presence with a casual, “Oh well, shrug of the shoulders” attitude. He wasn’t just going to let Jonah do his thing. Rather, the great Hound from Heaven pursued Jonah all the way out in the middle of the ocean. As briefly mentioned last week, which is in the text of Hebrews that I just read, the discipline of God can be painful. Our text today was not a pleasant scene; there was great panic and fear, and there was the prophet being hurled into the ocean. Yet, through that discipline, this was how God was grabbing hold of His prophet to not let him go.
For us, scenes like this serve at least a couple of purposes. First, I think they are there to warn us that when we thumb our nose at God, He will pursue us and lovingly discipline us to get us back on track. Second, I think this should actually be a comfort to us. Here is the reality: when left to our own devices, we all would walk away from God. On our own, none of us would persevere to the end in our faith. But take comfort—the Hound of Heaven won’t let His people walk away from Him. He pursues and will continue to pursue us all the way to the end. So take comfort in His pursuit of His people. It proves His love to us and proves that we are indeed His children.
Secondly, the Hound of Heaven pursues us with His sovereign power, and I think that is at the top of one of the main points that our text is making.
Indeed, the Lord is the God of heaven, the one who made the sea and the dry land. Perhaps ironically, this is what Jonah declared in his testimony. To help us see this point that the text is making, that God pursues with His sovereign power, let’s go back to our text from last week. We read that the Hound of Heaven used His Sovereign Power to hurl the great wind upon the sea, which is in verse 4. Now, in our text today, the Hound of Heaven used His sovereign power to work through the lots so that they would fall on Jonah, as seen in verse 7.
The Hound of Heaven used His Sovereign Power to cause the seas to rage more and more, which we see in both verses 11 and 13. He used His Sovereign Power to also cease the sea from raging, as mentioned in verse 15. The Hound of Heaven used His Sovereign Power to bring pagan sailors into the worship of Him, which we will talk more about in just a second, as seen in verses 14 and 16. He used His Sovereign Power to appoint the great fish to swallow up Jonah, as described in verse 17.
Even though Jonah was doing all that he could in his power to get away from the presence of the Lord, as the Hound of Heaven pursued him, He did so with all of His sovereign power. Church, as the Lord pursues us, it is not some kind of weak, bumbling pursuit where there is almost a yin/yang balance of power, where Jonah had his power to flee, and God had His power to pursue, and they were kind of equal in power, leading to a struggle to see who will win out.
Rather, our text reminds us that God has all sovereign power, and according to His wisdom, He will use that power however He sees fit to accomplish His will. This should both inspire fear and bring comfort to us. Fear, to remind ourselves just who our God is—He is the one who is sovereign over all things, the Lord of heaven and earth, the one who commands even the wind and the seas to obey. For those who have faith in God, this is also an incredible comfort. We know that we fear and worship the one who is in control, who has all power and authority over all things, including the power and authority to keep His people in ways that no one will ever be able to snatch out of His hands. So that nothing, no one, and no thing will ever be able to separate His people from His love, even the sin in our own hearts. His mercy, from His sovereign power, is more.
Jonah’s great disobedience was being captured by God’s sovereign power to keep him. And by the way, one of the songs we love to sing here, “He Will Hold Me Fast,” speaks to the great Hound of Heaven who is the one who has all sovereign power to hold us fast, to keep us to Himself. Even when we fear our faith will fail, even in times when it seems like the tempter will prevail, even when few are on life’s fearful path, and even when our love is cold—the great Hound of Heaven will hold us fast. Friends, that is what we see in the text—the Sovereign God pursuing and keeping Jonah.
Which is what He promises He will do for all those who, by faith, come to Him.
Thirdly, the Hound of Heaven will fulfill His mission. As mentioned last week, the primary emphasis in the book of Jonah is that God is a God of mission—a mission to spread His glory throughout all the earth, a mission to put His love and mercy on display for eternity through the salvation of sinners, including great sinners like the people of Nineveh, whom we read about last week in the opening verse of this book. It is the first place we see God at work to fulfill His great mission, as the God on a mission gave the command to His prophet Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh to preach a revival that God desired to do in this great, evil, pagan city.
And as we read last week and again this week, God was going to have that desire met, that desire fulfilled. The Hound of Heaven chased Jonah. But that is not the only place where the Hound of Heaven was at work to fulfill His mission. Secondly, in this chapter today, in the mission of God, the Hound of Heaven was at work in the lives of the pagan sailors who, in our passage last week, were just praying to their own pagan gods. Yet in our text today, as they heard the testimony of Jonah in verse 9, where the prophet testified to the Lord, the sailors had their hearts gripped with fear, becoming exceedingly afraid.
The Lord used the testimony of His prophet, He used the sailors’ hearts being gripped with fear, to bring the once-pagan sailors to faith in Him.
Where in verse 14 they began to pray to the one true and living God, and in verse 16, they began to have exceeding fear of the Lord, which drove them to worship Him by offering sacrifices and making vows.
Friends, I know there are a lot of different things happening in this passage, and often our minds are taken to the great fish that the Lord appointed to swallow up Jonah. But don’t miss this part here. God, in His mission, just saved a ship full of pagan sailors. And He did not simply save them from the raging sea, but the Lord saved them from their sins as they turned to the Lord by putting their faith in Him. This was an incredible work of God who was fulfilling His mission. And by the way, this ought to give us confidence when we seek to testify to others. The work that God did on this ship to bring the pagan sailors to faith in Him is a reminder that indeed our God is mighty to save.
Thirdly, God is also fulfilling His mission in Jonah. Here I am not referring to the mission He was going to do through Jonah, but the mission He was fulfilling in Jonah. Friends, when God brings us to saving faith in Him, where we stand before Him justified, from that moment onward, God continues to save us. He does this through His sanctifying work in our hearts, where the Lord is growing our hearts to be holy like He is holy, and where He is at work to make us more Christlike in character.
To go back to the Hebrews passage I read for you: “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” And friends, that is what God was doing here in Jonah, and really what we are going to see the Lord do throughout the rest of this little book. In His mission, in His saving work, the Lord was actively sanctifying Jonah, training him in righteousness. God saves and continues to save until His mission is fulfilled.
And friends, for us, as I start to close in the Scriptures, in the end, this mission of God that the Hound of Heaven is on ultimately was brought about by the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, the second member of the Godhead who pursued in such a way that He came for us, fully God and fully man. As fully man, Jesus came for us, born of a virgin to live life as one of us in every way, yet without sin.
And as fully man, the Lord Jesus Christ, according to the eternal plan of God, came to satisfy the judgment of God that burns over sin. He was not hurled into the sea but was nailed to the cross, not because of His sin (which is why Jonah was hurled into the sea) but because of our sin. And as Jesus Christ proved to be the true Lamb of God, He shed His blood and took on the judgment of our sin on the cross to satisfy the judgment and wrath of God. On the cross, Jesus Christ died and was buried in an appointed tomb, just as Isaiah 53:9 had foretold. Our Lord was buried in that tomb for three days so that, by His death, those who put their faith in Him would find peace with God.
But not only did Jesus Christ come to us as fully man, but as mentioned, He also came as fully God. At times, even in His incarnation, the Lord Jesus put His sovereign power on display, including a story that has many parallels to Jonah. One time, our Lord was out at sea with His disciples, and a great storm came up on the sea that put His men into great fear. But when they went to find our Lord, they found Him asleep.
And as the men woke Jesus up, Scripture tells us, The Lord stood before them. And with all of his sovereign power, He called out to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And with that, the seas ceased, as the sea and the storm bowed down before its sovereign Lord, which caused His disciples to be further gripped by fear. This caused them to also bow down in worship, saying, “Who is this that even the winds and seas obey Him?”
And friends, it was in that same sovereign power that our Lord Jesus Christ picked up His life on the 3rd day, where Jesus eternally rose again from the dead. And is now calling all of mankind to come and worship Him as their Lord, to declare that His wooden cross and empty tomb mean everything. And by His divine grace, He gives the promise that He will save all who call upon His name, bowing down before Him as their Lord, to save us from our sin and save us to Himself, just like He did with the evil Ninevites, which we will get to in chapter 3, just like He did with the pagan sailors on the ship in our text today.
And friends, in divine grace, He promises that He will continue to save us all the way into eternity, just like He did with Jonah. So yes, friends, there is a great Hound of Heaven. Yes, the Hound of Heaven pursues His people with all of His sovereign power, which He does to complete His eternal mission. And today, let that drive us to fearful comfort that we have a God like this. May we praise and worship Him, knowing that His divine grace follows after us in an never-ending pursuit.