Storm Damage • Devotion #3: Jonah and the Effects of Sin
Matt Hatton | Student Ministries Director
When I was in high school, I loved taking hands-on science, technology, and physics classes. I enjoyed these classes because they were an easy-A, most of the time, and because we had the opportunities to do many projects that involved building things. One of those projects that I managed to do six times in the span of four years was the infamous “Rube Goldberg” Project. The aim of these projects was to build something where energy would be transferred from one thing to another eventually causing something grand to happen. One push of a domino would have an effect on mousetraps, toy cars, wheels, pulleys, levers, and other random apparatuses that would somehow make their way to turning on a light, making a sound, squeezing toothpaste on a toothbrush, or even starting a car! One small thing had a large effect on many others.
Sin can be like those Rube Goldberg machines. The only difference is that we do not realize how large and detrimental of an impact sin makes not only in our lives but also in the lives of many others. In the book of Jonah chapter 1 we see that Jonah did not realize this either. God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and to preach against their wickedness; however, Jonah felt like he would rather do his own thing and not do what God had commanded him to do (That is called sin by the way). As Jonah continued to run from the Lord, as he dove deeper and deeper into disobedience, we begin to see the effects.
“But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them” (Jonah 1:4-5). “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” (Jonah 1:7).
“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. 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’” (Jonah 1:11-12).
The consequences of sin are unmistakable. Sin brings destruction! Sin makes us deserving of an eternal destruction, but it also causes damage that is immediate. We will often face the repercussions for our sin right here and right now. Jonah saw some immediate effects of his sin that made his life pretty rough for a short while. We also see that Jonah was not the only one that faced the storm caused by his sin. There were many others that were affected by it! Everyone else on the boat thought they were going to die all because of the sin of one man! Our sin has immediate consequences in our lives and the lives of others. Have you seen the immediate damage cause by your sin or others? Has your sin affected others? Have you been affected by the sin of others?