Summary: But God had other plans. He appointed a big fish to swallow Jonah and he spent three days and three nights in the most interesting air B and B ever!
A Pray from the Deep ( Jonah 2)
Pastor Jefferson M. Williams
Chenoa Baptist Church
When my boys were younger, we would go to CAPS pool in Chatsworth in the summer. We got to know the manager and one day she asked me to help with one of the life guard drills. All I had to do was drown. Well, pretend to drown.
I dove off the high dive and treaded water for a minute then began to flail and yell,”Help, save me!”
Whistles blew and the lifeguard nearest me dove in a swam towards me. When she got to me, she grabbed me and started talking very calmly -it’s going to be okay, I got you. There was just one problem. She didn’t have me.
She was about 5 feet tall and weighed about 90 pounds soaking wet. I went limp and she tried to pull me to the edge of the pool. But she couldn’t. She finally whispered in my ear, “Could you kick your legs a little bit?”
I learned something that day. If you are truly drowning, you need someone much stronger than you to save you.
Hmmm…we will come back to that idea in a little bit.
A Runaway Prophet
We are continuing our series on the OT book of Jonah. If you weren’t here last week, I would encourage you to watch the sermon on our FB page.
God said go to Nineveh and proclaim judgement. Instead of going 550 NW to Nineveh, Jonah boards a ship bound for Tarshish, which is 2,500 miles east!
God said go and Jonah said no. He knew it was a suicide mission. Imagine a rabbi standing on a street corner in Berlin in 1942. But he also hated the Assyrians and had no interest in seeing them get a chance to repent. The love of God was reserved for the Jewish people alone and the Ninvites were a brutal people who had terrorized Israel.
Jonah finds himself in the middle of the sea in a terrible storm. Jonah might run but God would pursue him.
The sailors understood this was a supernatural storm and began praying to their gods. The captain went below deck and found Jonah asleep. He woke him up and begged him to pray.
After casting lots, the sailors discover the storm is Jonah’s fault. He tells them that he is a Hebrew and that he worships the God who created the land and the sea.
The sailors are terrified. You are running from the God that created the sea…in a boat…on the sea?!
He tells them to throw him overboard and the storm all stop. What’s the best way to get out of going to Nineveh? Dying would work.
They have more compassion that he does and try desperately to row back to land. They finally give up and pray to Jonah’s God and ask that they not be punished for throwing him overboard.
They hurl Jonah into the sea and the storm stops immediately. The sailors break out in worship on the deck while the sulking prophet treads water waiting to drown.
But God had other plans. He appointed a big fish to swallow Jonah and he spent three days and three nights in the most interesting air B and B ever!
Remember the big idea of Jonah:
God is a God of extravagant grace, especially to those who least deserve it!
Turn with me to Jonah 2.
A Psalm from a Dark Place
Chapter 2 of Jonah is a psalm, much like the ones David wrote down for us.
It’s a prayer from a dark place, literally.
“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.” (Jonah 2:1)
Let’s set the stage:
Are any of you claustrophobic?
Scared of the dark?
Don’t like the water?
Don’t like fish?
Don’t like heat?
This would not have been a good day for you.
So far in the story, we haven’t heard Jonah repent or even pray. But now, in the belly of the great fish, he finally cries out to God.
Let me make a quick observation before we begin.
Jonah is deeply conflicted.
Jonah uses “I or my” 15 times in these 8 verses! He is still self-absorbed. But he also quotes 8 different Psalms. He’s a prophet. He was raised on the Psalms and they would have been deeply imbedded in his soul.
Notice also that he prays to the “Lord his God.” He is conflicted. He has been petulant and disobedient. But he still loves God.
I wonder if this could describe any of us?
Jonah’s cry for help in verses 2-3.
Jonah’s circumstances in verses 4-7
Jonah’s commitment in verses 8-9
I Cried to the Lord
“He said, ‘In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.’” (Jonah 2:2-3)