Sleeping or waking

Last updated on April 19, 2021


‘But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”’ (Jonah 1:5-6)

Given the mighty storm and the mariners panicking, it is almost unbelievable to read how Jonah responded to the turmoil: he was fast asleep! He had not listened to God’s voice speaking to him, and now he did not even notice God’s supernatural intervention. The captain of the ship had to wake him. This man, who did not even know the true God, urged Jonah to call out to the Lord.

The text does not say whether Jonah took this advice to heart. Probably not, given the rest of the story. But it is a reminder for us: are we ‘awake’, or are we ‘asleep’? Are we spiritually alert? The apostle Paul exhorts his readers: “let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). This is important both to resist the devil (see 1 Peter 5:8) and to be prepared for Jesus’ second coming (see 1 Thessalonians 5:2-4).

Being prepared for Jesus’ return first of all means that our sins are forgiven and our relationship with God is restored. If that’s not the case, we will wake up in hell! If we are still ‘asleep’ in our sins, it is vitally important to arise and call out to God. The captain only hoped that “perhaps” God would listen. We can be certain that He will.

Are your sins forgiven? And are you spiritually awake?

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