Summary: The Ninevites repent
July 1, 2012
Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh but instead he took a ship in the other direction. God sent a great wind that caused Jonah to be thrown overboard, and then Jonah was swallowed by a great fish where he stayed for three days and three nights. What we’re going to read now is his prayer before he’s vomited out onto dry land.
I want to point out something you should notice before we get into it though: this is a prayer of thanksgiving not a prayer for salvation. Jonah considered himself as good as dead when he was sinking to the bottom of the sea, but then God saved him inside the fish. So Jonah sees the fish as a means of mercy and salvation.
And there’s an important parallel here. Remember when Jesus was talking to some scribes and Pharisees? They asked Him for a sign, But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: 40For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. (Mt. 12:39-41)
Now think about this. Everything that happened to Jonah was for a purpose and it was directed by God. Someone might say it’s a bad thing to be swallowed by a fish. Someone might also say it’s a bad thing to die. But Jonah endured the fish for three days and then he went and preached so that the Ninevites would live. Christ endured the grave for three days, but then He too was cast out so that men would see the power of God.
The fish and the grave were both the means of mercy and salvation. So keep this in mind as we read chapter two:
Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, 2And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD,
His affliction is that he was drowning…
and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I,
He was certain that he was dead. “I was already in the belly of hell (or the pit or the grave).”
and thou heardest my voice.
Think about this in comparison to Christ:
Preserve me, O God: for in thee do I put my trust. 2O my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD, Thou art my Lord: my goodness extendeth not to thee; 3But to the saints that are in the earth, and to the excellent, in whom is all my delight. 4Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips. 5The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. 6The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. 7I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. 8I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm 16:1-11)