Summary: The LORD is Sovereign, accomplishing His purposes. The LORD is over all Creation, preparing ways to second chances that we would never have naturally figured. The LORD is available to all and shows great Mercy and Compassion. Has the LORD sent you a wh

Given at Glorious King Jesus (GKJ) on Sunday, February 13, 2010.

Apex, NC

Preacher: Sterling C. Franklin, Rev.

Webcast: (case-sensitive)

Scripture Reading:

Psalm 116:1-9

1 I love the LORD, because He has heard My voice and my supplications.

2 Because He has inclined His ear to me, Therefore I will call upon Him as long as I live.

3 The pains of death surrounded me, And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me; I found trouble and sorrow.

4 Then I called upon the name of the LORD: "O LORD, I implore You, deliver my soul!"

5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful.

6 The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.

7 Return to your rest, O my soul, For the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.

8 For You have delivered my soul from death, My eyes from tears, And my feet from falling.

9 I will walk before the LORD In the land of the living.

Main thought: The LORD excels in deliverance.

Opening Prayer

Main text: Jonah 2

Where we left off:

Jonah 1:17

17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Key Question: Was it a whale?

This creature could possibly have been a whale, but it could have also been another creature at the time, perhaps an even bigger fish living at the time. The term is simply 'fish' or 'sea-dwelling living-thing.' What if it were a whale? There was one story from the 19th Century about a man who was swallowed by a whale and was later spit out onto dry land:

James Bartley

(Illustration from New York World, 4/12/1896)

Quite possibly a fictional story that the sailor drummed up to get attention.

Sailor in the late 1800s, the story claims that he was sailing off the coast of Africa for whales. As he leaned overboard to harpoon the whale, he was instead swallowed. Later, he was spit up onto dry land with somewhat bleached skin and partial blindness (due to acids)


- The ship he was on wasn't listed as a whale boat.

- There were no other corroborating accounts from sailors.

Is it possible to live inside a whale?

- Likely not for long.

- Stomach chambers: The most external stomach chamber would only cause damage through regurgitated acids from the inner chamber.

- Oxygen: Whales are mammals. Their nostrils are on top of their body, so oxygen would have been taken in regularly. Even opening its mouth while above water would allow oxygen to enter internal cavities.

- Drowning: So long as the whale didn't open its mouth for too long underwater , drowning would not be an issue.

In James Bartley's case, the story is possible, though not very likely. And as it is extremely rare for a survival, I see Jonah as a miracle and thus as 'the exception' and not the norm. Some take the account to be figurative or allegorical, but I think it's worth taking Jonah at his word and trusting that the Lord literally provided a sea creature to rescue Jonah from drowning.

Now we will take a look at the thoughts of Jonah while in the whale's stomach --

Jonah 2

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish's belly.

2 And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, And He answered me. "Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, And You heard my voice.

3 For You cast me into the deep, Into the heart of the seas, And the floods surrounded me; All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight; Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.'

5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; The deep closed around me; Weeds were wrapped around my head.

6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains; The earth with its bars closed behind me forever; Yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD, my God.

7 "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD; And my prayer went up to You, Into Your holy temple.

8 "Those who regard worthless idols Forsake their own Mercy.

9 But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay what I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD."

10 So the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.

Verses 1-2:

Setting: Jonah is now in the stomach of a whale, and is now praying to the LORD in a prayer of thanksgiving and remembrance.

Brink of death (Sheol - place of the dead)

Yet the LORD is there to hear Jonah's voice/cry.

Parallel verse: David makes note of the LORD's omnipresence in Psalm 139:8 --

Psalm 139:8 - If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

Not the best translation -- "If I make my bed in Sheol"

Parallel poetic statement in that verse: if I go up to the highest altitude vs. if I go down into the depths of the earth.

Jonah was sinking to his death, and yet the LORD heard his cry.

Lesson: Whatever circumstance of life we're in, the LORD is never too far away when we call to Him in faith.

Verse 3:

This verse is a testimony to the sovereignty of God.

Despite the sailors hurling him into the ocean with their own hands, Jonah recognizes that the LORD was the one who ultimately cast him into the sea. The entire situation surrounding man's action was couched in God's ultimate control over nature. Remember in Chapter 1, the men tried an alternative and rowed harder and harder, yet the storm pressed in stronger and stronger as they tried in their own strength.

Verse 4:


Jonah had trust that the LORD would do something. Perhaps he knew that the LORD would not have any other way but to have Jonah accomplish his purpose by preaching to the Ninevites.

Verse 5:

Jonah goes down very far into the sea, quite possibly even to the floor (he notes the moorings of the mountains).

Perhaps you're thinking, "I'm glad I can swim!" We don't know whether Jonah was an avid swimmer or not, but in a fierce storm, swimming skill isn't a guarantee that you'll keep afloat!

Jonah was supposed to bring severe tidings, and yet now we see him failing to tread severe tides.

Verse 6:


Even though Jonah fled, the LORD sends a means of rescue.

This also shows the compassion that the LORD had for the people of Nineveh, as well as Jonah. The Ninevites needed to hear about Him.

Even today in this age of Grace, those who have yet to hear about Jesus need to hear.

Romans 10:14-15

14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!"

Verses 7-8:

Testimony to the LORD answering prayer, and not idols.

Chapters 1-2 are a testament to the exclusivity of the LORD. The sailors in chapter 1 were calling out every which way, yet only resolution was accomplished after they were told about the LORD and called on His Name.

Verse 9:

"Salvation is of the LORD"

This is a summary statement of Jonah's prayer.

Essentially, the message of chapter 2 is: "I was pretty much dead, but the LORD had mercy and saved me"

Verse 10:

We see that God resets the situation.

Jonah is not at sea anymore, but rather on land. The exact location of the regurgitation is not mentioned, though I would not be surprised if it were in or around Joppa, the starting point of this fiasco.


- The LORD is Sovereign

The LORD will accomplish the purposes He intends, regardless of what man desires.

- The LORD is Over Creation

The LORD was in charge of the storm in Chapter 1. The LORD was in charge of Jonah being thrown overboard, as well as the rescue and retrieval of the prophet. This also ties in with the sovereignty of God.

- The LORD is Merciful and Compassionate

Despite the prophet disobeying and fleeing, likely in fear (though note that fear is never an excuse or justification for disobedience to God), the LORD brings him back safely to a setting where he can have a second chance.

- Salvation is of the LORD

The LORD always has a plan available to bring his people out of the danger they put themselves in. We see Jonah putting himself in strict disobedience against God, and now in the sea, the LORD had prepared a fish to carry the prophet to safety.

- Applying this Today…

The LORD has also seen us putting ourselves in strict disobedience to Him in daily life. We sin, which is literally disobedience to God, and yet He has provided the means to salvation -- the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

Remember that the LORD is compassionate. He knows that we are imperfect, under the curse of sin, and able to stumble. Yet He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of our unrighteousness (cf. 1 John 1:9). We are able to approach His throne with boldness and confidence, and the result is His mercy and grace to get us through life (cf. Hebrews 4:14-16).

Has God sent you a whale?

Have you been running from God?

- Are you running from Repentance and Salvation?

1 John 3:23 - And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.

Turn from your sins and accept forgiveness and newness of life through Jesus!

- Are you running from a specific calling that the Lord has put on your heart?

1 Thessalonians 5:24 - He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

God has provided a way for you to fulfill what He's called you to do. If you're here tonight and you're running, why not stop and follow Jesus?

Make the decision tonight to run toward God, not away!

Closing Prayer


Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Adams, Cecil. Have any real-life Jonahs been swallowed by whales and lived? The Straight Dope, September 14, 2001.

YCA Reading Room. True Tales of Terror on the High Seas: Swallowed by a Whale.