Summary: This is the 2nd sermon in the series "When God Says..."

Sunday Morning November 1, 2009

Bel Aire Baptist Church

Series: When God Says… [#2]


Jonah 2:1-10


Does it seem at times that your conversations with God are like having a conversation over a bad cell phone connection? You know, like the commercial says over and over again- “Can you hear me now”?

God had told Jonah to go to Nineveh and Jonah’s reply was no. God sent a storm to get Jonah’s attention and Jonah took a nap. God sent the captain of the ship to ask Jonah to pray and Jonah suggested they throw him overboard instead. The sailors showed mercy to Jonah and tried to row back to shore, but Jonah didn’t change and the storm continued. The sailors threw Jonah overboard and he was swallowed by a great fish.

Now what? When things can’t get worse, what do you do?

Jonah 2:1-2a (NIV)

“From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.”

When you are in distress…

1. Call out to God. What a mighty God we serve. After Jonah had basically told God to shut up; when he needs help and cries out to God, God listens. Not only did God listen, but He answered.

Jonah 2:2b (NIV)

“From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry.”

When you feel like you are in hell…

2. Call out to God. Jonah said he felt like he was in “sheol” which is translated here as the grave. The word “sheol” means the abode of the dead and the KJV translates it as hell. In Jonah’s case, he felt like he was in hell.

Jonah 2:3-6 (NIV)

“You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, `I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God.”

Notice the similarities between what Jonah was going through and hell.

He was…

=> Distanced from God.

=> Miserable.

=> Helpless.

=> Desperate.

=> Afraid.

=> Hurting.

Sounds like hell to me.

Jonah 2:7 (NIV)

"When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.”

When you think you are going to die…

3. Call out to God. I’ll never understand why we wait until life is so bad before we go to God. At that moment that Jonah felt like he was going to die, he remembered God and prayed. The beauty of this fact is- Even when you wait until the last second to pray, God is still there.

Jonah 2:8-9 (NIV)

"Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."

When you feel like you are held captive by something…

4. Call out to God. What idols have you been clinging onto? What is it that gets between you and God? If you want to be freed from it, lay it down and give yourself to God as a living sacrifice.


Jonah 2:10 (NIV)

“And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.”

Are you distressed? Call out to God. Are you in hell? Call out to God. Are you dying? Call out to God. Are you a slave to something? Call out to God. He will set you free.

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