Jonah finds himself in a nasty gross place yet he is finding himself thankful. Being in this fish meant that the death he deserved he did not get. Instead by God's grace he was saved by the fish. Just as salvation is a gift of God that we do not earn or deserve. It is just given to us. We are saved from death to life.
I just had to post this video for this week. I love it!
Jonah 2 is his prayer to God. This week we will explore this.
Read his prayer all the way through and then let us discuss it. First it is evident that Jonah is a man who knows Scripture. Here he is sitting in a stinky, tight, dark place but reciting Scripture. It is so important we memorize Scripture and store it in our hearts. In this prayer Jonah is praying Scripture which I love.
Copied from www.enduringword.com commentary. Here are the Psalms he prayed.
- In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple (Psalm 18:6)
- Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me (Psalm 42:7)
- For I said in my haste, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications when I cried out to You (Psalm 31:22)
Chapter Two starts like this.Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish. He said, “I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble, and he answered me. I called to you from the land of the dead, and Lord, you heard me! (Jonah 2:1-2, NLT)
Have you ever felt like you were in the land of the dead? This is how Jonah felt. Yet God heard his prayer. It does not matter how far we have strayed if we are His He will always hear us when we cry out to Him. He is waiting for us to return to Him. He will not force you to return. He may step up the heat in His pursuit of you but He will never force anyone to come to Him.
“For You had cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me" (Jonah 2:3 NASB).
Jonah knows it was God's plan for him to be tossed into the sea though it was through the hands of the sailors. These sailors are in a location off shore. Jonah is now in the middle of the after math of the storm. It had ceased its raging but any winds or storms will affect the surface currents of the ocean. It seems that this overtook Jonah and he started sinking down. The ocean waves are also breaking over him. It is too much.
Have you experienced life's waves and breakers being too much to handle? Have you ever felt one thing after another go wrong. It hit you like waves not knowing when it would stop and if you could even rise up above it?
“So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple." (Jonah 2:4NASB).
Jonah knows this is all his fault. He has run from God. He feels rejected and thinks he has been expelled from God's sight (this is often where the enemy would like to sow in us the guilt of shame) BUT take notice of this, He remembers God's goodness and faithfulness and in faith he says we will look again toward God's holy temple. There is no condemnation for us who are in Christ (Romans 8:1) no matter what we have done. Sin has consequences but His grace has taken away all guilt and shame.
"Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, Weeds were wrapped around my head. “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. “While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, And my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple." (Jonah 2:5-7 NASB).
Jonah had literally hit rock bottom. The word for descended in the original language is used once again here. Thus indicating Jonah falling further down closer to death. He did not think he could get out of the pit he was in. He got a seaweed wrap in the process but mind you not the good kind. Yet God reached down and got him out of the pit. He used the fish to save him. And take note of what Jonah yet again remembers....He again remembers the Lord and His love and faithfulness to those who are His. He believes though in the pit that his prayer will still be heard by God.
Have you ever descended into a pit because of poor choices? It is so easy to do. We make one compromise then another and another and before you know it you hit rock bottom. Yet God can reach down into that pit and lift us up. We must confess before Him. Cry out to Him. Jonah came clean about his situation when he told the sailors what he was doing. His crying out to God shows he knew he needed God. God saved him from drowning by the fish.
"Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds, walk away from their only true love.
But I'm worshiping you, God, calling out in thanksgiving! And I'll do what I promised I'd do! Salvation belongs to God!" (Jonah 2:8-9 Message).
I love how the Message words this last part of Jonah's prayer. He sees the importance of God being our first and foremost heart's desire. Any other focus is hollow and takes us from the Lover of our soul. Jonah's false God was judgementalism (Jonah 4:2). He did not want God's mercy to extend to anyone outside of his Israelite circle. So He ran. Everything spun downward because of this idol. Here is where we see him turn. He turns from his judgementalism back to worshiping God. This puts him back on the right path. He again is able to be thankful in all things even in the belly of a fish he is still in. He says he will fulfill his promises to God. He realizes salvation alone belongs to God. We have a turning point in Jonah! It is great to see.
Now Dee Brestin has done a Bible study on idols of the heart. These idols can be summed up into three areas, Idols of Security, Identity, and Comfort. If we seek to get our security outside of God alone then that thing we seek is an idol. If we seek to get our identity anywhere outside of God then that thing is an idol. If we seek to get comfort anywhere outside of God then that thing is an idol. These are the deep root idols and they surface through our actions.
An example of a challenge for me continues to be needing to be in control. I have a hard time trusting all the decisions my husband makes. Now that can come out as disrespect toward him. It can come out as manipulation to try to sway him in my direction. It can come out in just plan judgementalism toward him. When really the issue is not my husband it is this idol in my heart. I think if I am in control then I will be secure. God says the only way to security is trust in HIM. He has established the order of things in my home. If I do not trust my husband's God-given leadership then I am not trusting God. It is a deep root idol of security but comes out as sinful action or behavior in various ways. If you want to study this more go over to Dee's blog and look up all the stuff on idols. It has been so liberating!
With that said, can you identify a possible deep rooted idol in your life? Thoughts?
What do you think Jonah's was based on all we learned so far about him? Of course we cannot know for sure but can make good guesses based on his actions.
Jonah returned to God because of his remembering God's character of love and faithfulness. That too is how we turn back. God is our everything and we cannot lose sight of that. He is our salvation. That is why is is so important to preach the gospel to ourselves everyday maybe even every hour. Doing this is a way we can live God's grace.
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land (Jonah 2:10).
This is amazing. When Jonah sorts things out in his heart, God speaks to the fish and Jonah is now free. He is now on dry land. A second chance he is given.
Questions to answer1-What are some Scriptures that you have hidden in your heart for hard times or challenges?
2-Share an example when you felt like you were in the land of the dead. How did God save you?
3-Have you experienced life's waves and breakers being too much to handle? Have you ever felt onething after another go wrong. It hit you like waves not knowing when it would stop and if you could even rise up above it? How did God intervene?
4-Have you ever descended into a pit because of poor choices? How did God get you out?
5-With that said, can you identify a possible deep rooted idol in your life? Thoughts?What do you think Jonah's was based on all we learned so far about him? Of course we cannot know for sure but can make good guesses based on his actions.