Summary: Message 3 from our Jonah series exploring God's deliverance of Jonah after his repentance.
Chico Alliance Church
Pastor David Welch
Jonah Series #3
“God Delivered Jonah”
Jonah teaches us both about God and ourselves. We learn about the love of God, the sovereignty of God, the forgiveness of God, the persistence of God. We learn about people; their disobedience, their repentance, their fears and prejudices, their self-centeredness and yet God’s willingness to utilize them in His eternal purposes. As we have been doing the past two weeks I will direct us through the text and then suggest any possible pertinent principles to ponder.
I. God called Jonah – Jonah ran from God
A. God called Jonah
B. Jonah refused God’s call
II. God disciplined Jonah
A. God hurled a great storm
B. The sailors responded to the storm
C. Jonah slept through the storm
D. God exposed Jonah’s rebellion
E. The pagan sailors double their efforts to save Jonah
F. The pagan sailors begged for mercy
G. The pagan sailors hurled Jonah overboard
H. God calmed the storm
I. The pagan sailors became worshiping sailors
J. God appointed a great fish
Last week, we left Jonah in the belly of a great fish. Today, we observe the working of God in Jonah’s heart.
III. God delivered Jonah - Jonah ran to God in prayer
This is a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea story. It is too bad we get so obsessed with what was going on inside the fish we miss what was going on inside Jonah. Many have taken pains to explain the possibility of surviving such an ordeal. I prefer to focus on Jonah. We know he experience the trauma of being thrown into a violent storm. We don’t know how long before the fish taxi arrived. The internal environment would not have been pleasant. It was probably dark and hot.
A. Jonah prayed to God
1. Jonah’s prayer
Whereas Jonah utter NO prayer in chapter one, all but the first and last verse of chapter two is a prayer of Jonah.
Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the stomach of the fish, 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. Jonah 2:1-2
Psalm 120:1: "In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me", and like Psalm 18:6: "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears".
The bulk of chapter two appears in poetic form. The prophets often wrote in poetic form. Poetry seemed the best format to express the emotion associated with their proclamations. It is intended to express passion and generate word pictures. Hebrew poetry differs from our English poetry. Whereas we generally rhyme words, the Hebrews rhymed thoughts. Much of the prophetic writings appear in this form as well as what we call the poetic books of Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs. The obvious use of phrases from the Psalms demonstrates Jonah’s familiarity with the Scriptures to the point where they easily pour out of his troubled soul. Both Hebrew and English seek to stimulate the mind to better experience truth through use of expressive language. This prayer follows a common pattern of the times.
• Introductory statement of answered prayer vs 2
• Expression of personal crisis vs 3-6a
• Divine rescue vs 6b-8
• Vow of praise vs 9
One of the most common poetic devises is called synonymous parallelism where the second line of the poem repeats the sentiment of the first in different words.
I called out of my distress to the LORD, and He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol (place of the dead); You heard my voice.
Jonah knew he was near death. The foundational sentiment is that Jonah cried and God answered. The second line personalized the experience. He shifted from “He” to “You”.
There are some elements to honest prayer to be learned. Jonah gets real. He is not in denial. He doesn’t blame God or others. He honestly evaluates the source of his trouble; himself.
God sometimes permits life-threatening peril to prompt life-changing prayer.
Don’t wait for things to get bad before you pray.
Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word; It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes; I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. Psalm 119:67, 71, 75
2. Jonah’s predicament
The next section expresses how Jonah felt and what he experienced.
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.