Summary: JONAH'S DESCENT
I. JONAH'S DESCENT 17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Ephesians 4:9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) The ascent of Jesus, has to do with Christ’s ascension from earth to heaven, where the Victor over death, hell and the grave forever reigns. The descent referred to here encompasses Christ’s incarnation, death, and burial. The term “lower parts of the earth” refers to the great depth of His descent. This includes His incarnation, His crucifixion and His death and 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.” So 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. The Descent Involved :-
(a) The Surface Experience (on the sea) -3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
o It was Encircling. and the floods compassed me about or and the floods surrounded me He is encircled by water with…§ no place to stand, § nothing to hold on to § and nothing to keep him afloat In v.3 he states this dilemma is God’s doing For thou hadst cast me into the deep
o It was Extreme.v.3 all thy billows and thy waves passed over me. God seems to be using the sea like a weapon. While Jonah is fighting to keep his nose above water God keeps pouring waves of water over his bobbing head. o It was Essential Ps 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. Just what Jonah Needed Isa 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
(b) The Submerged Experience (in the sea) Jonah Was :-
o Surrounded - 5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. “Water encompassed me to the point of death [lit., to my throat]. Again, Jonah is not swallowed up the great fish, but by the sea. He is not just encircled by water, but enveloped by water & unable to breathe. Where his surface experience made it hard to breathe, his submerged experience made it impossible to breathe. On the surface there was hope that his efforts would make a difference, but once submerged nothing he did made a difference. He Had Come To A Place Of :- Powerlessness "Couldn't Save Himself " Poverty "All Human Effort was spent " Pity "Now, He was ready for Mercy"
o Separated – 4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; or Then I said, I have been cast out of Your presence and Your sight; it was his own doing Ch 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, Now, choose as he may he had no choice.
o Sinking - 6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: Finally, he comes to rest on the ocean floor. He was about to be imprisoned forever in a grave of sand.
II. JONAH'S DISTRESS - 2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice. Jonah’s circumstances produced mental agony and emotional suffering. He was overwhelmed by fear, a sense of helplessness and intense anxiety. He says in verse seven, 7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: or 7 When my soul fainted upon me
His distress is the product of his struggle to survive the sea and the great fish.
The prodigal son had lost everything he brought into the far country.
• his wealth, • his dignity, • his family, • his home, and • his “so called” friends.
Penniless and alone, he continues his resistant struggle by joining himself to a citizen of that country who sent him into the field to feed pigs. (See 15:16, 17.) He is about to become a pig himself when he remembers that his father’s servants have it better than he does. Only then does he begin his journey back home. His reason isn’t remorse for his sin, but food to eat and a place to sleep.