“There Arose a Great Storm Yea a Great and Terrible Tempest”

Bryan Richards

It is a bad idea to rebel against the Lord before or during ship travel. Jonah ended up as fish food after he rebelled from the Lord at the command to go preach to the city of Ninevah. He ran the other way on a ship headed for Tarshish. His experience on the ship is similar to what happened to Nephi and his brothers. The Lord sent a great storm to beat on the ship. Eventually, the crew determined that Jonah was probably responsible for the wrath of the storm. When they inquired after him, Jonah replied:

"I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. (Jonah 1:9-15)

The Apostle Paul also had bad luck on ships. In his case it was not because of wickedness. Paul reports that he suffered shipwreck on three separate occasions (2 Cor 11:25). The 27th chapter of Acts contains a record of Paul suffering a fourth shipwreck. During this episode, the Lord showed that the power of God was with Paul. Thus, we see that great storms on the seas can represent the wrath of God.