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I can’t remember what horrible offence my buddy did, but his mother asked him, “What am I going to do with you? Name your punishment. You tell me what I should do.”

“You could punish me with making me eat a whole carton of chocolate chip ice cream with chocolate topping, whipped cream and nuts.” He replied and smiled at me.

That was not his wisest decision. His mother told me to go home. I didn’t see my buddy for quite a while. She gave him multiple choice rather than an essay type answer for his crime. He chose being grounded for a month rather than a spanking or whatever other choices he had.

I thought having to choose his own punishment was cruel and unusual punishment without the punishment itself. It is interesting that God did this to Jonah through the sailors. Jonah knew what he had done and what he deserved. The sailors put Jonah on the spot. They asked him what they should do with him. He told them what they needed to do.

Knowing what the Bible says, I know that as a sinner I deserve hell. Jesus provided the way of salvation that I may escape hell and spend eternity with Him. I think that if Jonah repented God would have stopped the storm at that point just as a sinner can repent without going to hell. If God asked, What am I going to do with you? What would you say?

“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.” Jonah 1:11-12.

© copyright Kevin T Boekhoff