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September 11 – What do you mean, you sleeper?

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 1:6

Scripture reading: Jonah 1:4-7

But where is Jonah in all of this? He’s fast asleep. He found some corner at the bottom of the boat where no one could disturb him and fell fast asleep.

The frenzy and fear of the sailors contrast with Jonah’s slumbering state. God has sent the storm to arrest Jonah, and the storm is God’s tool to bring Jonah to his senses. The pagan mariners do not know all this — they think they will go down with the storm.

Eventually, the ship’s captain finds the sleeping prophet and wakes him up: “What do you mean, you sleeper?” In other words: Are you for real? How can you sleep during a storm like this? The captain continues: “Arise, call on your God, perhaps your God will take notice of us, and we will not perish.” The captain knew they had not “tapped” or “dialled” the right god yet with their prayers, so it was essential that they “tap” and “dial” every possibility. If they “dial” the proper deity, sooner or later, he might have mercy on them and stop the storm. Perhaps Jonah’s God was the one behind the storm.

The religions of these sailors are false, and therefore their prayers do nothing. Notice, though, that they are more committed to their gods than Jonah is to his God! At least they were praying! Jonah doesn’t pray to his God.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for people in your life who may be putting their trust in idols and false gods. Pray that they may turn in faith to the Living God.

Pastor Jeremy Veldman is the co-pastor at Rehoboth United Reformed Church in Hamilton, Ontario, serving as Minister of Congregational Life. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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