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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

Sleeping at the Wheel

Today’s Verse:

So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. ~Jonah 1:6


Have you ever fallen asleep while driving? That can be pretty scary or, even, fatal! Sleeping at the wheel is a way of saying that someone has not given attention to their responsibilities and has allowed things to slip. It means that someone has been derelict concerning their responsibilities. This morning, we are looking at a time in the life of a man named Jonah and how he was sleeping at the wheel.

We see a conscious disapproval.

Jonah was given a command by God to preach a message to the people of Nineveh. Instead of obeying the Lord, Jonah ran from the presence of the Lord, paid the fare, and boarded a ship headed to Tarshish with the hope of running away from God’s command. He knew what he was doing. He defiantly left his calling and disobeyed the command of God. He disapproved of God’s mercy and desire to see the people of Nineveh repent of their sins. Disobedience takes us farther than we ever intend to go. Disobedience led Jonah to run away from God.

We see a callous disinterest.

After he boarded the ship, he went below to the sides of the ship and went to sleep. He was in such a deep sleep that he did not awaken during a turbulent storm that the ship was in. The other people on the ship were crying out to their idol gods to deliver them. They discovered Jonah soundly sleeping through the storm! The shipmaster awakened him and asks, “What meanest thou, O sleeper?” I wonder if we are sleeping as people are slipping into eternity without the Lord. I wonder if we are sleeping while others are carrying more of the burden of the work. I wonder if we are sleeping when we need to be serving the Lord.

We see a candid denunciation.

“What meanest thou, O sleeper?” Jonah was being rebuked by pagan men for being asleep at a time when men should have been responsible. It is a shame to the testimony of our Lord when we are sleeping when we should be living for God! It is an endangerment to the spiritual welfare of others if we are sleeping when we need to be guarding their souls. It is derelict behavior on our part if we are sleeping when souls need to be saved and churches need to be started.

We see a contrite disclosure.

Jonah confessed to these men that he was a prophet of God who was running away from God. He was ashamed that he was the reason that everyone was in this bad storm. He was truly sorry that other people were implicated by his bad decision. Eventually, our sin will find us out! Our sin cannot be hidden. Jonah was brought to a place in life where his life would either be a burden or a blessing to others.

Are you sleeping at the wheel when you need to be awake? "Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame." Don’t allow yourself to become unconscious to serving the Lord, winning souls to Christ, and helping others. Be careful that you are not found sleeping at the wheel!

Have an awakened God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Romans 1-3

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