Jonah 1:4–9 (NKJV)
4 But the Lord sent out a great wind on the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship was about to be broken up.
5 Then the mariners were afraid; and every man cried out to his god, and threw the cargo that was in the ship into the sea, to lighten the load. But Jonah had gone down into the lowest parts of the ship, had lain down, and was fast asleep.
6 So the captain came to him, and said to him, “What do you mean, sleeper? Arise, call on your God; perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish.”
7 And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this trouble has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. 8 Then they said to him, “Please tell us! For whose cause is this trouble upon us? What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?”
9 So he said to them, “I am a Hebrew; and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”
Jonah’s disobedience led to a response from God to discipline Jonah. The storm that came up once Jonah was on the boat to Tarshish was severe, so much so that the boat was destined to be broken apart. While Jonah slept below deck, his entire world was about to sink into the sea. They woke him, cast lots to determine who was responsible for this terrible storm, and settled on Jonah as the cause. While this series of events may seem overly mystical and a little spooky, it was a common practice to determine things via methods such as lots in the day of Jonah. They believed things happened for a reason, and that the gods determined the fate of men in trouble. What they did not realize was that the true and only God, Jehovah, had come by their way that day.
Jonah identified himself as a follower of Jehovah, the one who created the land and sea. He was unafraid, even though he was moving in disobedience at the moment. We will find in the next passage that he willingly went overboard to save the ship. When one knows God, there is no need for fear or panic. In the midst of confusion and blame, trust God. He may just be the source of the trouble you are facing in order to guide you. Many in the Bible(Moses, Paul the Apostle) ran against God instead of with Him, and they were afforded the same level of discipline as Jonah received here. But when a rebel finally sees the light and surrenders to God, then the restoration can begin, and His will may be accomplished.