Verse 1. "Then Jonah
prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish,"
We are not so different from Jonah.
Sometimes we have to be "swallowed" by the circumstances of
this life before we will turn to the Lord. And that's
not just true about the "lost" of this world. It's true
of God's people as well. When Jonah ran away from God,
he had no intention of discussing his decision with the Lord.
And when the "lot" fell on him
(1:7) and he told the ship's crew, "throw
me into the sea" (1:12), he didn't pray about that decision,
For those who have difficulty praying,
it's important to consider the possibility that you don't WANT
to pray, which might be all the time or in certain instances.
If days go by and you do not pray, here's a prayer for you:
Ask Him WHY you don't pray! And then ask Him for His help.
There is a plan, a "call" of God for each one, and it may be
that you are afraid He will send you someplace or prompt you
to live life differently than you do now. More than ever,
it's time to pray.
Verse 2. "and he said,
'I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice.
"Why doesn't the
Lord answer me?" is the question of many. Actually,
"the word of the Lord" DID discernibly
come to Jonah (1:1) and the man did not like what he heard.
His response was to "flee...
from the presence of the Lord"
(1:3). At the point of this verse, Jonah was at or near
death and in the extreme "distress"
of the moment, when he felt like he was in hell ("Sheol"),
he FINALLY "called out...
to the Lord."
Think back on your life. Was there
a point where you felt drawn to commit your life utterly to
the Lord? Did you do it? That moment was a great
turning point for you, and here's a suggestion: Prayerfully
go back to that time and become willing to listen to Him right
now. God has a plan. Don't wait until you feel like
you are in "Sheol" before you listen.
His preference is that you will respond to His call. He
has a good purpose - for you.
Verse 3. "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, in this verse and its context,
is recalling the time when he finally called out to the Lord
in prayer. He was almost dead at the moment. Yes,
he was literally deep under the Mediterranean Sea and yes, he
had been swallowed by a "great fish"
(1:17), but the imagery of this verse is not merely about his
physical situation, bad though it was.
Here the phrases "You
(God) had cast me into the deep,"
along with "the current engulfed me"
and "Your breakers and billows passed
over me," refer more to his emotional state than his
outward situation. He was depressed. Have you felt
like that? There was a poem many years ago, called the "Hound
of Heaven," in which God was portrayed as a relentless
animal who will pursue us until we are finally caught.
That's how Jonah felt at that moment.
Verse 4. "So I said,
'I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look
again toward Your holy temple.'"
Like so many, Jonah felt that since
he had so greatly sinned by running away from God, that God
could no longer see his need or answer his prayer. And
there are Scriptures that seem to support such a position.
For instance, Micah the prophet said of a sinful people, "they
will cry to the Lord, but He will not hear them..." (Micah
3:4). But the phrase "He will not
hear them," actually meant that God would not give them
what they asked for. We'll see in Verse 10 that God very
clearly heard the sinful, but repentant Jonah and would answer
by causing the "great fish" he
was in at the moment to vomit him up alive onto dry land.
Jonah now did what we all should do
- he prayed. And by the way, the "holy
temple" of this verse was not the temple in Jerusalem.
The true temple always was outside of space and time as we know
it and it is reflected in places like Revelation 11:19, where
it says, "the temple of God was opened
in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen..."
The earthly temple, in the desert and then in Jerusalem, was
a copy of something greater; something that never was on this
earth at all. It's the place from which God hears and
forgives the "Jonahs" of this world (1 Kings 8:30).
Verse 5. "Water encompassed
me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me, weeds
were wrapped around my head."
Notice that these verses are in the
past tense. He was not somehow writing while he was within
the great fish. Jonah was, at a later time, carefully
writing down his memories of these events, which at the moment
was the continuance of his prayer to God. He was dying.
The "weeds" that were wrapped around
his head were slimy sea-weeds and they must have added to his
certainty, at the moment, that he was going to die.
He knew where he was - within a great
fish that had swallowed him whole (Jonah 1:17), and he was beneath
the surface of the Mediterranean Sea. No human effort
could help him now. If it was in today's world, some little
submarine might be dispatched to locate Jonah, but there was
no technology at the time to do the job. Even today, helping
this man would likely be a human impossibility. Many must
come to a place where human help, even self-help will not be
enough. Like Jonah, we must finally turn to and trust
in the Lord.
Lord, we turn to You now. Like
Jonah, we have run away, but not anymore. We place our
trust in You. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Audio Bible Study - Jonah 2:6-10
Verse 6. "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."
As far as Jonah knew, he was as deep
as it was possible to be within the earth. That's what
he meant by the "roots of the mountains."
Emotionally and physically, he was at the bottom. It was
like being in prison, with "bars"
that were far too strong for him to open. But at this
point, it was dawning on him that he was still just barely alive.
He was just as amazed as we are that he still had some life
Do you feel like there are "bars"
around your life right now? Perhaps your finances are
out of control. Maybe you or someone you love has an illness
that is impossible for medical science to cure. It may
be that you don't like who you are and are just - depressed.
That was Jonah; and it was at the bottom of his life when he
finally began to pray. If you are at or near the end,
it's time to pray. As we will see, God does hear us, no
matter what has happened; no matter what we have done.
Verse 7. "While I was
fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to
You, into Your holy temple."
Jonah was desperate now. He was
just like everyone else in humanity. He had done something
willful that was leading him to death. Not long ago, he
didn't care - he wanted to die. But now that he was dying,
he was discovering that he really didn't want to after all.
He wanted to live. From a human perspective, it was too
late, but with God it is never too late. As he was dying,
he called out to the Lord in prayer.
The world is filled with people who
have rejected and forgotten the Lord. He is your Creator,
your Savior, and you need him now. Everybody on earth
is dying. We are on a path that will lead us to disease
or injury, and even if we manage to escape such things, the
aging process will not be avoided. We are all in the place
of Jonah and our only hope is to remember the Lord and trust
in Him now.
Verse 8. "Those who
regard vain idols, forsake their faithfulness,"
God does not insist that we become rich,
famous, good-looking or heroic. He only asks for us to
be faithful to Him. Jesus told us that the greatest commandments
are to "love the Lord your God"
and "love your neighbor as yourself"
(Matthew 22:37-38). In that regard, FAITH is essential
to love, for how could you love God, unless you become willing
to believe that He exists? And it's unlikely you would
love your neighbor unless there is a God who fills you with
are whatever actions you perform that are substitutes for time
that should have been spent with God. Paul said, "pray
without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). How many
times have you prayed today? He also said, "in
everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ
Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:18). How thankful
are you? There is nothing wrong with radio, television,
the internet, or any other means of communication, except to
the extent that we "forsake (our)
faithfulness," looking to things
instead of trusting in God.
Verse 9. "But I will
sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which
I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the Lord."
Jonah, right from the beginning of this
Book of Jonah, had been running from God and the call of God
for his life. He now said, "that
which I have vowed I will pay." Jonah was now willing
to place God's will ahead of his own. He had reached the
bottom, not only in the literal place of the Mediterranean Sea,
but most important, he had finally reached the end of his objections
and would follow the Lord.
Jonah was afraid for his people. He
did not want to preach God's message of repentance to the Assyrians
of Nineveh because they were the enemies of his people Israel.
If the Assyrians were spared, Israel might be destroyed by them.
As people tend to do, he took matters into his own hands and
went in the opposite direction from the will of God. You also
have to wonder if he was not simply prejudiced – he possibly
just did not like groups other than his own. But now he had
reached his own end and realized that the only hope for Assyrians,
Israel, and for you and me, is to recognize that "salvation
is from the Lord."
Verse 10. "Then the
Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry
Please note that God is utterly in control
of nature. He has purposes in what He allows and what
He does. That's why Paul could make the astonishing statement,
"in everything give thanks, for this is
the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians
5:18). God sees the future and He knows your needs, better
than you do. The ultimate outcome of Jonah's life and
yours will be precisely what it should be.
Note there is no way possible, from
a human perspective, that Jonah would be once again on his way
to Nineveh, or even be ALIVE at the moment. That has been
the objection of those who criticize this book, and they have
a point - it's not humanly possible. But all things are
possible with God. Remember that Jesus Christ, who is
God, authenticated these events in places like Matthew 12:39-40.
And note that just like Jonah was delivered, we can be, too,
at just the right time and in the power of God.
Jonah now resumed his journey to Nineveh,
which was 500-miles to the east from his present position.
He began to walk, and he had plenty to think about as he went.
Father, when we finally come to the
end of our resources, we will recognize our need of You.
Let us trust in You now, BEFORE we are swallowed up by life.
We place our faith in You, Lord. Thank You for forgiving
and receiving - even me. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Friday Study Ministries
The First Church On The Net
we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)
To Subscribe or Unsubscribe
to the weekly e-mailings of Sermons and Bible Studies from Friday
Study Ministries, write to