The sailors were afraid, and each cried out to his god. They threw the ship’s cargo into the sea to lighten the load.Jonah 1:5 (HCSB)
As God sent a mighty and violent storm upon the boat in which Jonah had fled, the sailors desperately tried to save themselves in two ways. Firstly, they tried to save themselves with human effort and human strength. They did all that any wise shipmen would do to survive the storm. But it did not matter what they did, the storm would overtake them eventually. Human effort is not capable of surviving the storms that we face each day, let alone the storm of the judgement of God. No one will ever be able, through effort and perseverance, to tell God that they were good enough, did enough nice things, were charitable enough, and deserve to go to heaven.
Secondly, the sailors tried to save themselves by calling upon their gods. But their gods could not save them; their gods could not tell them what they must do or how they could escape. False gods and hollow idols cannot help us survive the storms that we face each day, let alone the storm of the judgement of God. Anyone who cries out to an idol will ever be able to tell God that they were holy and righteous enough, were devout and holy enough, were sincere enough in their beliefs, to deserve to go to heaven. Whether the idol is literally a false-god like Allah or the false gods of Hinduism and Shinto; or whether the idols are things like wealth, power, pleasure, or appreciation, it matters not.
There is only one name given under heaven by which we can be saved, and that name is Jesus (Acts 4:12). Let us, in the power of the Spirit of God, cast aside all the idols of our hearts and proclaim Jesus as the only true God so that others may do the same.