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Sacramento, California, United States
so salty pieces of coral from surfing Hawaii in the 60's and 70's getting reef pounded living in my body fall through my skin from time to time!

sailing to Oahu

Jimi Hendrix was playing on Oahu. I had never sailed. Surfed Mexico, California, Hawaii! Aw, how hard could it be to sail 90-110 miles from Kauai to Oahu? Piece of cake, right? Remember it was the 60's! This is so bad. We thought we were looking at Kaiena Point,Ohau, knowing we weren't going to make the concert! But at least we were in site of Oahu-wrong! Coy, who had never sailed before, me,who had never sailed before, jeff and Abbott etc. We were looking at the sleeping giant on Kauai! We had done three-sixty's in the night! We sailed on the only tri-marran I've ever sailed on ( except later ) in my life, missed the concert! It was at the Waikiki Shell Ampitheater ( Moon eclipsed . We finally made Nawilwili Harbor! The Skipper tried to give us his boat saying, " It's trying to kill me"! We watched him go stark raving mad not even realising that had we got caught in the channel current we were on our way to Japan! Remember it was the 60's and we were going to see Hendrix. I left out some of the good stuff but I will make up for it later!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who Shanghaied Whom--Jonah and the Fearful Sailors


Jonah and the Fearful Sailors 

6/14/03 Grace Fellowship Jonah and the Fearful Sailors Jonah 1:4-16

Mercy is for misery. If not for sin and suffering, the mercy of God would not be evident. In pain and travail, in trials and heartaches, it is God's mercy that we pray for. Fathers don't understand the need for mercy like any woman who has ever given birth. After 8 1/2 months of pregnancy, every mother-to-be understands mercy and the need of it. We are all aware of the need for mercy because all of us have found ourselves in difficulty, oftentimes because of our own sin and its terrible consequences, and at other times because of the sins of others.

• The man who is addicted to smoking or alcohol needs the mercy of God. He needs God's pity upon him to grant him the grace needed to overcome the effects of his own sin.

• The parents of the child who suffers from cancer simply because we live in a fallen world, because all sickness is ultimately a result of sin, those parents pray for the healing mercy of God.

• The woman who lives in an abusive marriage cries out for God to have mercy upon her and protect her from harm by her sinful husband.

• The family in financial difficulty because of their own irresponsibility asks God to have pity upon them and forgive them for their sinful disregard for His providence.

• The Christian who lies in a filthy prison cell in chains, for years on end, separated from his wife and children because he will not repent from following the Lord Jesus, cries out for the mercy of providence for his family and deliverance from his, and God's enemies.

But in the book of Jonah, we see God purposing to have mercy upon a people that don't ask for it, nor are they aware of a need for it. There is no request from the king of Nineveh for an evangelist. There is no cry from Assyria for deliverance from the eventual wrath of God. There is no invitation sent to Israel for a prophet to come and explain the gospel to them. It is God who initiates an act of mercy and commands His prophet to go to that great city and preach against it so that He might have mercy upon the people there. And Jonah, being the great prophet of God that he is, in effect says, "Let them die in their wickedness. I will not go."

In contrast to the prophet Isaiah who said, "Here am I. Send me!" Jonah's response to God's order is to do as much as possible to avoid Nineveh and God's plan to show them mercy. He knows Jehovah well enough to know that He delights in mercy towards sinners. Consequently, because of his own sin of hatred, he himself is in need of much mercy. But not only does his sin make him a candidate for mercy, he places others in great danger so that they too are in need of God's mercy. Read 1:1-16.

Verse 4 Jonah has boarded a ship for Tarshish. He carries on board with him his sins of rebellion and hatred. In that act, unknown to him or the sailors, he jeopardizes the lives of everyone on board. This scene reminds me of a man trying to outrun the police. He may outrun a single policeman or a single police car, but he can't outrun police radio. Wherever he goes, the police are already there because the police helicopter sees his every move. There is no escape. But what makes it worse is his endangerment of many others in the chase.

How does one outrun God? When God has all of creation at His disposal, where does Jonah plan to go that will provide him a safe haven from God and His command? God has the wind and the waves which respond to His beckon call. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

So He calls upon them and they respond to such a degree that the little boat carrying the little prophet is about to be destroyed. This speck of wood in the middle of the sea with Jonah on it, being tossed around like a leaf in the wind, "was about to be broken up" into so much flotsam because of the sin of rebellion from the man of God.

Verse 5 If you are onboard a ship, and those professional seamen who are responsible for the safe operation of that ship are so afraid the boat is about to be destroyed, that they all suddenly and simultaneously become prayer warriors, how should you respond? Fervent prayer and sailors are not usually equated with one another. These mariners are convinced that their boat is going down, and every one of them prays to his god for deliverance. Perhaps one of the men will appeal to the correct god who is obviously not happy, and they will be shown mercy. They are employing the shotgun approach to prayer: "Oh god, whoever you are, if you are there and if you are able, please help us out of this mess!" Such prayer is futile because it has no recipient. Such a person prays to the air. It is no better than praying to a rock or a statue that can do nothing.

But while fervently praying, they do everything possible to save their own lives. These guys are not like many so-called Calvinists who expect God to do all the work while they wait for Him to act. They are so desperate that they throw their cargo overboard. They had a better understanding of the Christian life than many Christians I know. This is the stuff they were supposed to be taking to Tarshish. They were throwing their paychecks overboard! This was serious! They worked AND prayed because their lives depended upon it!

In the meantime, there is another who is not only comfortable with this critical situation, but completely unaware of it. Jonah is in the lowest part of the boat, fast asleep. This is the effect of unrepentant sin: it desensitizes us. Prolonged unrepentance makes us callused to the obvious danger we are in. Notice that Jonah "went down to Joppa". Then he went down into the boat, into the lowest parts of the ship. How much lower can you go? Much lower! Be patient. God will take Jonah far lower than he would have thought possible. But the lesson illustrated here is that sin brings us down. While the Scriptures repeatedly speak of God as being up, in the Heavens, on high, etc., sin brings us down to the depths, away from the presence of the Lord.

But the amazing thing here is that a prophet of God should have such peace about his own blatant rebellion. Are there ever things "we have peace about", that are in clear violation of God's will for us? Believers do this all the time! O. Palmer Robertson commented on Jonah's peace by saying this:

"Do you realize how subtle words can be? Very often a phrase comes to mean the exact opposite of what it actually says. I have seen Christians shatter the terms of a contract, and cover over their action by stating, 'I really do feel good about it.' In this case, "I really feel good about it' actually means, 'I have suppressed my conscience on this matter.'

Sometimes the name of God is blasphemed by the most pious Christians. Have you ever heard the phrase, 'I just didn't feel the Lord wanted me to do it,' or 'I really didn't have peace in that matter'? Well-intended Christians will break their word to you and cover infidelity with a cloak of 'feeling'.

Jonah had plenty of peace. He was sleeping like a baby. At the very time when he was running from the will of God, he had great peace. Beware of appeals to inner peace." (O. Palmer Robertson; Jonah: A Study in Compassion; p.20. Banner of Truth, 1990)

Verse 6 The KJV doesn't quite do the job in verse 6: "What meanest thou, O sleeper?" When the captain of the ship openly displays panic, then it is time to get serious with prayer. You can hear the incredulity in his voice: "What do you mean, sleeper!?" The NIV says, "How can you sleep?" If I had been the captain of that ship, Jonah would have been in the water right about now. He would have gone over the side with the rest of the cargo. But the sailors needed him to pray to his God. Maybe Jonah's God would help them out of this storm. Maybe Jonah's God would be merciful and spare them all from drowning. They didn't even know who Jonah's God was, but whoever He was, it was worth a try. "Perhaps your God will consider us, so that we may not perish." These guys are ready to do whatever to appease whoever: burn incense, offer a sacrifice, harmonic convergence, “Hail Mary's,” pray to anybody who may be out there. They are on the verge of death and they are absolutely terrified of death at sea.

Verse 7 In their superstition, they decide to cast lots to figure out which one of them made somebody really mad, because shotgun prayer isn't getting the job done. They need to be more specific. They finally come to the conclusion that someone on board has to get off the boat. But even in their unbelieving paganism, Jehovah sovereignly directs the lot to the right person: Jonah. It is a mercy displayed to the godless sailors when the true God reveals the source of their trouble. It is Jonah's God who is angry.

Verse 8 All the sailors barrage him with a variety of questions, but the basic question is, "What did you do?" What could you have done to get us all in this mess?? So he gives them the answer:

Verse 9 "I am a Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land." Apparently what Jonah means by the word "fear", and what the rest of the Bible means by "fear of the Lord" are two different things. If the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, then Jonah is not only rebellious, but also a fool. Psalm 34:7 says, "The angel of the LORD encamps all around those who fear Him, And delivers them."

If Jonah had feared the Lord, he would be in Nineveh by now. This is the most ironic and contradictory statement in this entire story. Jehovah, who is the God of Heaven, of the dry land and of the sea, is the God Jonah is trying to avoid. How does he hope to evade capture? What fools we become when we entertain our own lusts and desires over God's revealed will for us. Although he knew better, Jonah followed his lusts and ran away from the will of God. The fear of God leads to obedience, not rebellion.

Verse 10 But notice the response of the sailors: "What do you think you're doing?!!" Before, they thought they had offended one of the local deities. Now they find out that they are under the wrath of THE Deity! Palmer refers to God as "the big One". They were afraid before, but now they are EXCEEDINGLY afraid! "Why have you done this?"

Personal sin often brings community sorrow. Jonah's rebellion isn't OK as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. Our sin hurts others. He's about to get them all killed because of his hardness of heart. His heart is so hard that throughout this entire episode thus far, we never hear Jonah pray. It is the pagans who are doing all the praying, while the man of God refuses to do so. How can it be that the unsaved are often more spiritually oriented than the righteous? Nearly everyone prays sometime, but in this moment of great crisis, the prophet doesn't pray.

Verse 11 Now things are getting even worse, when things can't get much worse. This boat is being smashed to bits while the sailors interrogate Jonah. "What shall we do to you that the sea may be calm for us?" What must we do to appease your God, Jehovah?

Verse 12 The answer: "Get rid of me," Jonah says. Notice there is no contrition. There is no remorse. There is no repentance. There is no cry for mercy. This man is still so stubborn that he would rather drown than repent. I don't think it is unreasonable to assume that if Jonah had prayed and asked God to forgive him and deliver them all from the raging sea and the howling wind, that God would have done it. God may have even moved the sailors to take Jonah back to land. But his hardness of heart would not allow him to say, "I was wrong."

What makes people believe they can repent whenever they choose? Why do we believe we can entertain our own sin until we feel like saying we're sorry? Jonah reminds me of Pharaoh, and I wonder if God didn't harden Jonah's heart in order to teach him a lesson in humility. Is God using Jonah as an object lesson for us? How hard can a person's heart get? His response to the sailors to throw him overboard is not some humble self-sacrificial move to save the ship. Rather it is a self-centered tactic to escape from God.

I was once told that we learn everything is by mistake. It may be true that much, if not the majority of the things we learn, we learn from the mistakes we make. But God has given us the Scriptures, as well as some measure of common sense, so that we might learn from the mistakes of others. How foolish and hard-hearted is Jonah, and it is to his own shame that he is so. He serves as an example of how depraved the human heart can be that even a Christian is capable of believing he can outlast God and finally win an insurrection. Jonah is a man to whom God actually speaks. He is not your average believer, but a prophet and a spokesman for the God of Heaven. And he is foolishly walking around with his fingers in his ears because he prefers his own will to God's. He is stubborn even to the point of death.

Verse 13 These pagan Gentile sailors have more of a conscience than Jonah does. Rather than immediately toss him overboard to save their own lives, they row hard to get to shore so they can deposit him on land, or at least close to land. But God would not have it. Their rowing was an exercise in futility. Jonah was a marked man, and God was after him. So the unbelievers do all they can to save the servant of the Lord. They have more mercy than Jonah does. And the name of God is blasphemed because of people such as Jonah.

Verse 14 The sailors become instant theologians. Here is an acknowledgment of God's right to do whatever He chooses with what He has made. They also understand the gravity of murder. They are about to intentionally drown a man. In their minds, Jonah is as good as dead as soon as he crosses the side of the boat. There are no search parties or life jackets. There are no inflatable rafts in which to ride out the storm. These sailors are sending this man to his death. But they do so reluctantly because they have tried every other option. Now they are convinced that Jonah's God is forcing this action upon them, and they are absolutely correct.

Was God pleased to terrify these men? Was God happy to have Jonah thrown into the drink? Is that what it means when the sailors say that it has pleased God to force them to kill Jonah? To say that God works according to the good pleasure of His own will simply means that He does whatever He wants. In this situation, God has chosen to have these innocent men throw the guilty party overboard to his death. It is God's will that they do so. They have been forced into it, and they know it.

How is it that these godless men discern and do the will of God, while the so-called God-fearing man would rather die than obey? I believe it was at the Toledo Reformed Theological Conference that one of the speakers mentioned overhearing some seminary students referring to one of their professors as having a pastor's heart. "A pastor's heart"; it sounds so holy and reverential. Do you want to know what a pastor's heart is like? "The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?" (Jer 17:9, NKJV).

Verse 15 So these terrified sailors reluctantly pick Jonah up and heave him into his watery grave. Immediately upon doing the Lord's bidding, the storm ceases. The word literally means "to stand still" or "to stop moving", like the Sea of Galilee when Jesus commands it to be still. Storms don't do that. The sea doesn't just flatten out and stop heaving its huge boat-smashing waves. The reaction of the sea to Jonah's splash in the water caused these presumably seasoned mariners to be so amazed that…

Verse 16 tells us they "feared the Lord exceedingly". In verse 5, the sailors were afraid of the storm. In verse 10, they were exceedingly afraid of the Lord because He was bringing the storm upon them. But here in this verse they "feared the Lord exceedingly" because He instantly stopped the storm. If there were any doubts about the origin of their troubles before, there are no doubts now. So these Gentile sailors are not only prayer warriors, but worshippers of the true God.

Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters,

They see the works of the LORD, And His wonders in the deep.

For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea.

They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble.

They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits' end.

Then they cry out to the LORD in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses.

He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.

Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.

Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men!

Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders.

(Psalms 107:1, 23-32, NKJV).

Jonah's flight away from his responsibility to take the message of repentance to the Gentiles may have been the occasion for unwittingly bringing repentance to these idolatrous sailors and quite possibly to every port they visited in the Mediterranean Sea for many years to come.

1. God has free will. Whereas men have a semblance of freedom to do as they please, God has the ability to move heaven and earth and men to do His will. How is it that the lot that determined the guilty party fell to Jonah? How is it that the sailors were correctly convinced that their only escape from death was to throw him into the sea? Even after doing everything within their power to avoid God's plan, the mariners wind up performing exactly what God prescribes.

Not only does God have free will, but He has the power to accomplish whatever he wills. Men cannot do this. We do not have unlimited resources and infinite power to perform whatever we choose. God does, and according to Scripture, He actually works all things according to the counsel of His will (Eph 1:11). God not only can do anything, but He does do whatever He chooses to do because His desires are not contingent upon the cooperation of sinners or anything else He has created. He is not subject to His creation, but rules over it. Wind and waves are subject to Him. Saved and lost are subject to Him. He is Lord over all.

2. The Gospel not only eventually reaches Nineveh in spite of Jonah's foolishness, but it also reaches these sailors whom God has mercifully spared and revealed Himself to. Men who were not looking for God, found Him, and their discovery of Him was unmistakable. Men who had gods to worship, within a few hours find the true God and worship Him. In His mercy, God spares their lives. In His grace, He reveals Himself to them as the true God of Heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.

3. God is longsuffering and patient. Even with someone as mule-headed and insubordinate as Jonah, God is the One who is still in charge of the situation. He moves step by step to the accomplishment of His will, the display of His mercy toward those in misery.

4. God will glorify Himself either with or without our cooperation. He will be glorified in His merciful dealings with unbelieving sailors, or He can glorify Himself in the chastening and disciplining of His wayward prophets. Either way, He will not give His glory to another. The Westminster Catechism says that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. That is also the chief end of God: to glorify Himself and enjoy Himself forever. We exist for God, not vice versa.


• Do you need pity? Do you suffer from sin or the effects of it, either your own sin or someone else's? Do you need God to have mercy upon you? He is willing. He delights in showing mercy, particularly to His own children.

"Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:9-11, NKJV).

• Or, are you running from God, quite comfortable in your rebellion, at peace with yourself in your sinfulness because you have hardened your heart against God to the point of being unconscious of your desperate need? Do you sleep peacefully even in the midst of your wickedness, while putting those around you at risk of suffering for your sin? Repent! God will have mercy upon you as well.


The shipping articles, or contract between the crew and the ship, from a 1786 voyage to Boston.The role of crimps and the practice of shanghaiing resulted from a combination of laws, economic conditions, and practical considerations that existed on the American west coast in the mid-1800s. Crimps flourished in port cities like San Francisco in California, Portland[2] and Astoria in Oregon,[3] and Seattle[4] and Port Townsend in Washington.[5]

First, once a sailor signed onboard a vessel for a voyage, it was illegal for him to leave the ship before the voyage's end. The penalty was imprisonment, the result of federal legislation enacted in 1790.[6] This factor was weakened by the Maguire Act of 1895 and the White Act of 1898, before finally being eradicated by the Seamen's Act of 1915.

Second, the practice was driven by a shortage of labor, particularly of skilled labor on ships on the West Coast. With crews abandoning ships en masse due to the California Gold Rush, a healthy body on board the ship was a boon, and an actual able seaman was worth his weight in gold.[7][8]

Finally, shanghaiing was made possible by the existence of boarding masters, whose job it was to find crews for ships. Boarding masters were paid "by the body," and thus had a strong incentive to place as many seamen on ships as possible.[7] This pay was called "blood money," and was just one of the revenue streams available.[9] These factors set the stage for the crimp: a boarding master who uses trickery, intimidation, or violence to put a sailor on a ship.[citation needed]

The most straightforward method for a crimp to shanghai a sailor was to render him unconscious, forge his signature on the ship's articles, and pick up his "blood money." This approach was widely used, but there were more profitable methods.[9]

In some situations, the boarding master could receive the first two, three, or four months of wages of a man he shipped out.[7] How this was accomplished requires some explanation. Sailors were able to get an advance against their pay for an upcoming voyage. The purpose was to allow them to purchase clothes and equipment. However, the advance wasn't paid directly to the sailor, because he could simply abscond with the money. Instead, those to which money was owed could claim it directly from the ship's captain. An enterprising crimp, already dealing with a seaman, could supplement his income by supplying goods and services to the seaman at an inflated price, and collecting the debt from the sailor's captain.[9]

Some crimps made as much as $9,500 per year in 1890s dollars, equivalent to about $220,000 in 2007 dollars.[10]

The crimps were well positioned politically to protect their lucrative trade.[11] The keepers of boardinghouses for sailors supplied men on election day to go from one polling place to another, "voting early and often" for the candidate who would vote in their interest.[citation needed] In San Francisco, men such as Joseph "Frenchy" Franklin and George Lewis, long-time crimps, were elected to the California state legislature, an ideal spot to assure that no legislation was passed that would have a negative impact on their business.[citation needed]

The most infamous examples included Jim "Shanghai" Kelly and Johnny "Shanghai Chicken" Devine of San Francisco, and Joseph "Bunco" Kelly of Portland.[11] Stories of their ruthlessness are innumerable, and some have survived into print due to their rough humor. One example of such a story involved "Bunco" Kelly passing off a wooden Cigar store Indian as a much-needed crewman to a desperate ship's captain.[1]

Another example of romanticized stories involves the "birthday party" Shanghai Kelly threw for himself, in order to attract enough victims to man a notorious sailing ship named the Reefer and two other ships.[11]

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