This was a strange question for Job to ask of the Lord. He felt himself to be insignificant to be so strictly watched and chastened and he hoped that he was not so unruly as to need to be so restrained. This enquiry was natural from one surrounded with such insupportable miseries but after all, it is capable of a very humbling answer. It is true that man is not the sea but he is even more troublesome and unruly. The sea obediently respects its boundary and though it be but a belt of sand, it does not overleap the limit. And said, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come; but no further and here shall thy proud waves be stayed?’ (Job 38:11).  God gave the command to the great sea. Mighty as it is, it hears the divine hitherto and when most raging with tempests it respects the Word; but self – willed man defies heaven and oppresses earth, neither is there any end to his rebellious rage.

The sea, obedient to the moon, ebbs and flows with ceaseless regularity and thus renders an active as well as a passive obedience; but man restless beyond his sphere, sleeps within the lines of duty, indolent where he should be active. He will neither come nor go at the divine command. But he prefers to do what he should not and leave undone that which is required of him. Every drop in the ocean, every beaded bubble and every yeasty foam-flake, every shell, every pebble, each sand particle feels the power of law and yield or move at once.

O, that our nature were but one thousandth part as much conformed to the will of God! We call the sea fickle and false, but how constant it is! Since our fathers’ days and the old time before them, the sea is where it was, beating the same cliffs to the same tune; we know where to find it, it forsakes not its bed and changes not in its ceaseless boom. But where is man, vain and fickle. Can the wise man guess by what folly he will next be seduced from his obedience? We need more watching than the billowy sea and are far more rebellious.

God created a particular fish at creation and kept it in reserve until the day of Jonah when it fulfilled its specific mission for the preservation of God’s prophet. The fish has commonly been thought of as being a whale. God is in control of His creature and his creature unwillingly obeys and serves His purposes. After Jonah’s repentance in the belly of the fish, it vomited Jonah up on dry land.  “And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry  land” (Jonah 2:10). But in all probability it was somewhere on the coast of Palestine near the place from which Jonah departed from the presence of the Lord. Jonah repented due to the obedience of the whale. Every creature obeys God, except man.

 

WHAT ABOUT YOU?