Summary: A look at four things concerning Jonah: 1)His Descent; 2)His Distress; 3) His Deliverance; 4) His Deposit. Each point could be turned into an individual sermon.
Sermon Series: JONAH
Sermon Number: Five in series
Sermon Title: The Way of the Lord (Pt. 2)
Sermon Text: Jonah 1:17-2:10
Sermon’s Author: Louis Bartet
Date: 06-20-04 AM
17And the LORD appointed a great fish [masculine noun dag] to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in [Hebrew term meceh for the “inward parts”, which is a synonym of rehem meaning “womb”] the belly of the fish [masculine noun dag] three days and three nights.
1Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish [feminine noun dagah],
2and he said, “I called out of my distress [“in my distress” translates sarah, a word that is specifically used of the “travail” of childbirth] to the LORD, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth [the Hebrew here is beten, womb or belly] of Sheol; You heard my voice.
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.
4“So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’
5“Water encompassed me to the point of death [to my throat]. The great deep engulfed me, weeds were wrapped around my head.
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.
7“While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple.
8“Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness,
9But I will sacrifice to You with the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”
10Then the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.
CLARIFICATION OF MY POSITION: It is not necessary for you to agree with me, but it is important we all begin with the same orientation or in the same place. In the Hebrew Scriptures, Chapter Two begins with verse seventeen of Chapter One. Verse seventeen is synoptic; it is a one sentence summary of that which is expanded in Chapter Two. Likewise, Chapter Two is not a verbatim quote of Jonah’s prayer, but it too is a synopsis of his experience and the prayer that he prayed after being tossed from the ship.
REVIEW: In Chapter One, Jonah acknowledged that he was the cause of the storm threatening the ship and its crew (See 1:12.), but his heart was still set against God’s will. The storm sent by God had no affect upon him. In short, he would rather die in the sea than obey God and go to Nineveh. What stubbornness! What rebellion! What arrogance! What insolence and disrespect this selfish little man expresses toward God.
Frankly, we could not find fault with God if He had let Jonah drown, but mystery of mysteries HE doesn’t.
TRANS: We do not face the threat of a literal stormy sea or of being swallowed by a great fish, but Jonah’s experience does offer us a valuable lesson in The Way of the Lord. The great storm, the deep, and the great fish are crucibles used by God to deal with Jonah. The events may not be exactly the same, but the experiences are. We will deal with three of them.
1. The Descent
2. The Distress
3. The Deliverance
4. The Deposit
I. The Descent – What we have in these verses is a summary of Jonah’s experience in the sea.
PERSONAL NOTE FOR FURTHER EXPLORATION: Scripture tells us that before Jesus ascended he first descended into the lower parts of the earth. (See Ephesians 4:9.) The ascent of Jesus, as described by Paul, has to do with Christ’s ascension from earth to heaven, where the Victor over death, hell and the grave forever reigns with His Father. The descent referred to here encompasses Christ’s incarnation, death, and burial. The term “lower parts of the earth” do not refer to a specific place, but to the great depth of His descent. This includes His incarnation, His crucifixion and His death and subsequent burial. In Matthew 12:40, Jesus declared, “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Jesus’ three days and nights stay in the grave is likened to Jonah’s stay in the belly of the great fish. Thus it would be safe to assume that Jonah’s descent to the bottom of the sea is descriptive of a descent into death, be it physical death, emotional death, or spiritual death. It may well be a verbal graphic that describes the unbeliever’s descent into death and hell, and the death Jesus experiences for the sinner.