Summary: Jonah turned to God in a desperate hour and found his salvation through faith, repentance, obedience.
Jonah’s Prayer Jonah 2:1-10
INTRO.: There are many different postures and techniques for prayer. When times are good and we pray for the sake of praying, then how and where may be something to discuss, . We may argue about whether to kneel or stand, bow our heads or hold our arms up, etc. but when times are desperate, we pray when and where we are.
I remember a friend who said while he was driving he saw a car pull out ahead of him and thought he wouldn’t be able to stop. He prayed a one word prayer as he slammed on the brakes: “Father!”
When Peter walked on the water and began to sink beneath the waves, he said a very short prayer: “Lord, save me.” Matt. 14:30 These are prayers for desperate times.
I. Jonah finds himself in a desperate situation:
A. He is in the belly of a huge fish, not a happy spot:
1. In the depths of the grave. V. 2
2. He was hurled into the depths where currents and breakers sweep over him. 3
3. Seaweed is wrapped around his head. 5
4. There is water above, earth beneath and he is barred in. Hopelessly stuck. 6
5. All this describes darkness, smothering, confining, inescapable hopelessness.
B. If we live long enough, we will experience the same feelings:
1. A fearsome illness may restrict our activities, shut us off from loved ones, threaten to destroy us.
2. An inescapable condition we didn’t cause and can’t correct. Maybe a sudden divorce or bankruptcy.
3. Illness of a loved one may make impossible demands and go on forever.
C. Who can we blame?
1. In Jonah’s case, the fault was clearly his.
2. It’s not always so easy to fix blame. Usually a combination of events we may not even know of brings disaster and depression.
3. There is little satisfaction in fixing blame, anyway. It doesn’t help. Where shall we turn?
II. Jonah turned to God in the fish’s belly:
A. The same God from Whom he had fled:
1. Jonah, who had run from God now runs to Him.
2. You can’t run from Him. He is everywhere. Even in the fish’s belly. How fortunate for Jonah!
3. Only God could save Jonah, and with nowhere else to go, he turns to God in desperation.
B. Our times in the fish’s belly, i.e. times of disaster force us to cry out to God.
1. We find Him always ready to hear and help.
2. Ps 121:2 “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
3. When there is no hope in this world, look to God.
C. Man’s extremity is God’s opportunity: Jonah 2:7 "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.
1. There was no way Jonah could help himself. He had tried his own way and look what it got him.
2. Sometimes we are drawn to God by disaster that might not have happened if we had stood by God.
3. Jonah could have saved himself a lot of trouble by just obeying God from the beginning. So might we.
III. Jonah found his salvation in the fish’s belly:
A. He found it through faith:
1. There is no longer any doubt Jonah is a believer.
2. He is now in a position to please God. Heb. 11:6
3. In the times of deep disaster, there is nothing as important as maintaining faith in God’s care.
B. He came to repentance:
1. When he finally went to Nineveh, he clearly had changed his mind and his behavior. Who wouldn’t.
2. He went because he wanted to obey God or feared to disobey. He had no selfish motive.
3. Repentance means giving up selfish ways and surrendering to God.
C. He now recognized the need for obedience:
1. Immediately, he went to Nineveh and carried out his assigned mission.
2. God expects us to put our faith to work by obeying Him. Then He will save from sin and death.
3. The fish was Jonah’s ark. Just as the ark saved Noah from watery death, the fish saved Jonah by bringing him to obedience to God.
CONC.: Believe it or not, God has a greater salvation waiting for us than when He saved Noah or Jonah from the water. They both died physically. He wants to save us spiritually and eternally.
Jonah’s prayer is powerful and inspiring, but it didn’t save him. It was only the beginning. He was saved by God because of his faith, repentance, and obedience.
We are saved in much the same way as were Jonah and Noah. He expects us to come to Him in faith with a repentant spirit and then obey Him.