By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
From Jonah 1:4-16
1:4 Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. 5 All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.
But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep. 6 The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.”
7 Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”
9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so.)
11 The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?”
12 “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
13 Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. 14 Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” 15 Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. 16 At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.
In this passage, we see fear and awe emerge one after the other. Jonah 1:5 “All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god.” The wind and waves raged with such intensity that even sailors who were used to the sea all their lives were terrified. We can just imagine how terrible the wind and the waves must have been. Jonah 1:9 He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” This is what Jonah told those who were on the ship. He claimed to be a man who worships the Lord. Jonah 1:10 This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” This was the sailors’ response when Jonah told them that the Lord is the God who created the sea and the dry land and therefore, this terrible storm came from His hand. Jonah 1:16 “At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him.” And this was the response of the men by the end, their great fear turned to great awe.
Actually, fear and awe are the same word in the original text, but there are obvious differences in this case. The men began with fear but ended in awe, and in their awe, they responded by making vows and sacrifices to the Lord. The fear of God thrust them towards establishing a relationship with God. However, if it had only been fear, that would simply be like the devil’s belief of God. The apostle James says even the demons believe and shudder. We however believe in awe and reverence.
This passage shows us that there can be two completely different attitudes towards God: one is fear and the other is awe. Fear because He is truly a formidable God, and awe because we now know Him and we have a relationship with Him. What is your heart’s response to the Lord? Is it fear or is it awe?
Previous Post: Fleeing from the Lord
懼怕與敬畏 | 約拿書
1:4 然而耶和華使海中起大風, 海就狂風大作, 甚至船幾乎破壞。5 水手便懼怕, 各人哀求自己的神, 他們將船上的貨物拋在海中, 為要使船輕些。約拿已下到底艙, 躺臥沉睡。6 船主到他那裡對他說,你這沉睡的人哪, 為何這樣呢? 起來, 求告你的神, 或者神顧念我們, 使我們不至滅亡。
7 船上的人彼此說: 來罷, 我們掣籤, 看看這災臨到我們是因誰的緣故, 於是他們掣籤, 掣出約拿來。8 眾人對他說: 請你告訴我們, 這災臨到我們是因誰的緣故, 你以何事為業, 你從那裡來, 你是哪一國, 屬那一族的人。
9 他說: 我是希伯來人, 我敬畏耶和華, 那創造滄海旱地之天上的神。
10 他們就大大懼怕, 對他說, 你作的是甚麼事呢? 他們已經知道他躲避耶和華, 因為他告訴了他們。
11 他們問他說, 我們當向你怎樣行, 使海浪平靜呢? 這話是因海浪越發翻騰。
12 他對他們說: 你們將我抬起來, 拋在海中, 海就平靜了, 我知道你們遭這大風, 是因我的緣故。
13 然而那些人竭力盪槳,要把船攏岸卻是不能, 因為海浪越發向他們翻騰。14 他們便求告耶和華說, 耶和華阿, 我們懇求你, 不要因這人的性命使我們死亡, 不要使流無辜血的罪歸與我們, 因為你耶和華是隨自己的意旨行事。15 他們遂將約拿抬起, 拋在海中, 海的狂浪就平息了。16 那些人便大大敬畏耶和華, 向耶和華獻祭, 並且許願。
在這段經文裡, 我們看見懼怕與敬畏交接的出現。1:5 水手便「懼怕」, 各人哀求自己的神。風浪太可了, 連一生與海為伴的水手都害怕了, 可想這場風浪是何等的可怕。1:9 他說: 我是希伯來人, 我「敬畏」耶和華, 那創造滄海旱地之天上的神。這是約拿對眾人說的一句話, 他自稱是敬畏神的人。1:10 他們就大大「懼怕」對他說, 你作的是甚麼事呢? 這是水手們對約拿所說的話的反應, 約拿告訴他們, 耶和華是創造滄海旱地之天上的神。那這場可怕的風浪就是從祂而來的。1:16 那些人便大大「敬畏」耶和華, 向耶和華獻祭, 並且許願。這是船上的人最後的反應, 他們從大大的懼怕變成大大的敬畏。其實懼怕與敬畏原文是同一個字, 但在這裡明顯有不同去地方, 那些人從懼怕開始到敬畏結束, 而且還有敬畏的行動, 他們向耶和華獻祭, 並且許願。敬畏神使他們與神建立了關係, 但如果只是懼怕, 這與魔鬼信神的信心是一樣, 雅各說: 魔鬼也信卻是懼怕。我們信卻是敬畏。
在這裡也讓我們看見有二種對神完全不同的態度, 一是懼怕, 一是敬畏。懼怕因為神真是可畏的, 但敬畏卻因為與神有了認識, 有了關係。請問你對神的存心是「懼怕」或是「敬畏」呢？