The Salvation of YHWH
The Discipline of YHWH (2:1-9)
2 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God. 2 He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ’I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ 5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. 7 "When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple. 8 "Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
Exegesis: From the previous paragraph, we know that Jonah was “inside the fish three days and three nights.” Chapter 2:1-10 clearly a transition from what was happening on the boat to what is happening in the belly of the fish; this marks the paragraph scene change. There’s clear ending in thought here when the writer culminates the scene with Jonah being regurgitated onto “dry ground.” The scene again changes from inside the fish in 2:1-10, to what happens on “dry ground” in 3:1. The point of this scene is very clear, verse 4a “’I have been banished from your sight;. . .” and verse10, “And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry ground.” Jonah admits he was been "banished" in the belly of the fish, he was "hurled" into the "deep" by YHWH. Out of Jonah own confession is identifying that his current situation was an act of YHWH and so is his deliverance. Everything else that is described here is mere details of his incarceration and deliverance. But then Jonah prayed to YHWH from the deepest mires of despair. Jonah look to the YHWH. Jonah was in a prison of flesh that was eating away at him. Nowhere to run now, nowhere to buy a passage out of his situation. Jonah has been placing YHWH on ignore and giving Him the hand of rejection. It clearly stated in 1:17a, “17 But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah.” YHWH was clearly and literally placing Jonah in “time-out” with no escape. From the human perspective, he was doomed to die.
Inside the belly of a fish in the depths of the ocean swimming who knows where. Jonah was no doubt “banished” from the land of living and into belly of fleshly death. Swirling in a belly sack of sea water, dead rotting fish that are in mid process being devoured, sea weed, and the fish’s stomach acid. Incased into a prison of living flesh and involuntarily thrashing in utter darkness while striving to gasp for air, spitting out small bits of waste and half-digested food that happen to accidently be inhale. The intoxicated fumes and taste of dead ocean carnage and absolutely no possible hope of rescue or deliverance from this living nightmare. Banishment and devoured out the known world of the living. Out of the sight of man and into the loneliness of darkness and rotting foul carnage of despair. A fleshly prison that barely provided to room enough to twist and turn in; most likely just a little more room as a baby has inside an expecting mother. No room to stand up, walk around, no solid walls , no light, no exits and absolutely hope. He was in utter terror and completely trapped into a fleshly prison of devouring death that was consuming his body. Jonah was in a place of utter hopelessness and needed someone who was supernatural.
The text does not say how long Jonah was in the belly of the fish before he started praying to YHWH. He could been praying the entire time or at the very end of the “three days and three nights.” Either way, it seems that YHWH was giving Jonah a taste of his own actions, YHWH could have commanded the fish to give him immediately but rather He waited “three days and three nights.” While it would be hard press to say for certain, one can help but see the a little poetic irony that Jonah ignored YHWH three times and He was left Jonah in the fish three days and nights. Once when he was instructed to go Nineveh. Second, when he saw the storm and knowing it was YHWH when below deck and went to sleep. Thirdly, YHWH was inviting him to pray through the unbelieving sailors who insisted that he call upon his God to save them while he was aboard the ship. This cannot be proven conclusively, its it no hard to see poetic irony on behalf of YHWH it’s interesting to conjecture and note the similarities. However, we do know that Jonah’s duration was an illustration and typological of the duration of Christ from burial to resurrection and alluded too by Christ Himself. Matt 12:40, 40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”
Jonah’s turns to the divine for a divine problem unlike the sailor tried to do previously trying to solve a divine problem with human means. The prayer of Jonah is interesting to say the least considering the circumstances. This may have been placed in after his deliverance but either way, Jonah was out of options and now where to run, and was in no position to ignore YHWH anymore. This is the moment of truth for Jonah. When all hope is lost he turned to YHWH in prayer. No one to pay for a passage out as he tried to do in Jobba. From Jonah’ perspective he was in the flesh of death but since this was an act of YHWH, Jonah was merely placed in the depths of grace. YHWH was persevering his life intentionally and for a reason. YHWH has no reason to save him, He had mercy on Jonah even though He has every right to leave in the mire of the rotting carnage of sin and darkness. A lot could be said about the prayer and aside from moving to present to past tense the conclusion is the focus and the point of this situation. Jonah’ prayer was that of confession, repentance, praise and proclamation as to YHWH’s response. His confession was twofold. First, he confession and acknowledgment of his situation (3-6, 8). He was utterly helpless and need to reach out to YHWH who was as he puts it in chapter 1 the “God who made the lands and the seas.” Second, he turns to YHWH in utter helplessness in prayer for aid from on high (2, 4 and 9). He repentance in verse 8 Jonah then moves to praise and proclamation about who YHWH is and acknowledges He greatness in verse 9. In verse 9 Jonah makes a statement that to this day brings hope to all mankind, “Salvation comes from the LORD.” Throughout the entirety of Scripture permeates this theme. All thought history up this point and time where YHWH demonstrated this to Hebrews. The God called that. . .
• Saved Noah’s family from a worldwide flood
• Rescued the family of Jacob from famine and turn them into the nation of Israel.
• Crushed the superpower of the Egypt to save His people from bondage.
• Refused Pharaoh army access to Israel who was pinned against an ocean
• Parted the Red Sea giving them safe passage on DRY ground
• Provided manna, quail and water in a barren desert
• Saving Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah
• Divided the Jordan River giving the Israelites into the Promised Land
• Crushed down the walls of Jericho with His mighty hand
• Suspended the sun still while Joshua and his warriors fought for Israel.
• Delivered King Eglon to the hand of the prophetess Deborah
• Consumed the fire on Mt. Carmel to the disgrace of the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of the goddess Asherah supported by the evil King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
• Slayed the warrior Goliath to save His nation
In this immediate context. Salvations was twofold. First, the salvation of Jonah’s life from the belly of the fish. Second, the impending repentance and salvation of the city of the Nineveh.
Illustrations: I have seen many documentaries of the National Geographic footage of war. They interviewed many of the soldiers that were there and everyone one of them was quoted that they prayed they would remain alive. There are no atheist in fox holes. Jonah’s disobedience placed him in an unthinkable situation of filthy and carnage. That’s what sin does to us when we are disobedient to God too. When there’s nowhere to turn, God is always a prayer away, because “Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Application: Disobedience is detestable in God’s sight and it grieves Him at His heart Gen 6:5-7. Are you living in sin, are you living with the consequences of choices of ignoring God’s Word in your life. Are you alone, destitute, filled with anger and bitterness? Anger, bitterness is like venom in our spirits; and in the end will reap the consequences of loneness and depression. When there is nowhere else to run and all hope was vanished Jonah turned to prayer. In fact, I believe that is innate knowledge to reach out to God. In the sailors did in chapter 1 remember. They were afraid for their lives and they all prayed to their own gods but it wasn’t until they encountered the One True YHWH who made the land and the seas that there that instinctive nature was made clear. The Digression and Consequences of Jonah’s Choices: He was “Disobedient,” he was “Defiant,” and then he was “Devoured.” If you are honest with yourself how many can say at one time they too were devoured with the consequences of your action/sin. Is that where God has to place us before we listen to Him? What do you do when all hope seems lost. Where do you turn when there is nowhere to go and nowhere to run? “Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Transition: Why did Jonah turn to YHWH in prayers? Jonah’s turns to the divine for a divine problem unlike the sailor tried to do previously trying to solve a divine problem with human means. His declaration in the phrases tell us, “Salvation comes from the LORD.” How did Jonah know this.
The Mercy of YHWH (2:10)
10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
Exegesis: The scene changes from Jonah in the fish to YHWH’s divine intervention here in verse 10. It was the fish that was prepared for YHWH and now it’s being a continuous instrument of His doing. The fish is not functioning under normal deigned instinctive behavior. YHWH’s caused Jonah to be sour in the its belly and caused it to vomit him whole unto “dry ground.” The fish could have be regurgitated him anywhere even hundreds of feet under water, or on the surface of the sea left strained in the middle of nowhere. YHWH is a God of second changes here in this passage and its evident that He had mercy when He had no reason too. YHWH could have left Jonah in the fleshly prison of death and every right to do so. Even after Jonah repented from pending doom of digestion, YHWH did not own Jonah anything. But YWHW was not finished with this runaway prophet. YHWH had mercy on him and demonstrated to him by freeing Jonah from his dark void of decay and rotting death. This also demonstrates to us YHWH’s power of His creation. Jonah make it very clear the he “worship the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land" (1:9). This reinforces this declaration. “Salvation comes from the LORD.” There was absolutely no way out of fish other than being disgusted. This clearly demonstrates Jonah’s deliverance was an act of YHWH alone.
Illustration: What can you do to get out of death. How much money to have to save yourself. Place yourself in Jonah’s situation right now. What do have to exchange for the gift of life and not death? Jonah, like us are utterly depended on God for salvation. A baby when born are utter depended on their parents for survival. We too are utter depended on God for life.
Application: YHWH is a God of second changes here! He had mercy when He had no reason too. It’s the same with us. Nothing Jonah did or could have done could have saved him. YHWH is the author of salvation and mercy. What do you have to offer God or anyone to release you from this fleshly decaying digestion of death? Again, YHWH had no reason to have mercy on Jonah. Jonah, like us are utterly depended on God through Jesus Christ for salvation; because “Salvation comes from the LORD.” We are all saved purely by God’s mercy. We are saved not by fame, fortune, prestige, power influence or wealth. Its not by our works. “Salvation comes from the LORD.” It not by works but by God’s mercy. Do you know that “Salvation comes from the LORD,” have you experience the mercy of YHWH today?
Transition: YHWH’s mercy is directly connected with Jonah’s statement: “Salvation comes from the LORD.” YHWH had mercy on Jonah and saved him from the fleshly devouring prison of carnage and called him to a mission that he was supposed to have been on in the first place.
The Mission of YHWH (3:1-3)
3 1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." 3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh.
Exegesis: Chapter 3:1-3 now moves from the YHWH and the fish to dry ground and again demonstrates a notification from the Lord to Jonah to be obedient and reiterates His original directive. Clearly a complete different scene from the previous paragraph in 2:10. A passage breaks here because it moves from the YHWH dealing with Jonah to Jonah preaching to Nineties in the next passage, a clear change of scene and major division. The paragraph point here is very evident, in verse 1, “1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time 2 "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” It does not tell how much time passed between the regurgitation and YHWH calling to Jonah a second time. However, YHWH reiterated His original instructions to Jonah and proclaim His messages to the people of Nineveh. YHWH provided a living example of Salvation and now He wanted Jonah to proclaim it to them. Through the experience of the fish, YHWW taught Jonah something about Himself and as a result desired that same messaged of salvation to be proclaimed to the city of Nineveh if they repeat. YHWH’s call to Jonah is not relented, it was not removed, and it was not recalled. YHWH’s divine call to Jonah intentional and he was YHWH’s man for the job. YHWH could have used anyone but he choose Jonah this task. The experience also taught Jonah a two other important lessons. First, it’s not advantageous to ignore YHWH. Second, its futile to attempt to run away from mission YHWH call him too. This was YHWH’s mission, this mission certainly was not a fabrication of Jonah’s desire, we learned that from the first passage. YHWH will choose who He want send, and it was He will to send Jonah. This is very evident that this calling was not recalled; and it was YHWH’s mission for Jonah. From carnage to calling, from Deliverance to Directions, Salvation to works
Illustrations: How many time have you been giving a second change in life, or second change to make things right.
Application: Have you been giving a calling that God’s place in your life and you have chance now to finally be obedient? “Salvation comes from the LORD,” and now He calls to do live in that Salvation. “Salvation comes from the LORD,” now He wants us to tell others about it. There are people in our sphere of influence in which only we can communicate with. People are looking for a second change, people around us are needing to know that “Salvation comes from the LORD.” And God’s has placed that mission on us its’ called the Great Commission. For Jonah it had to come down to getting to the end of himself before obeying. Let us learn from his mistakes and answer the call, live your Spiritual walk before others and show and tell them that “Salvation comes from the LORD.”
Transition: “Salvation comes from the LORD.” Go live and tell others that God is a God of second chances. Show them and tell others that. . .
The Discipline of YHWH (2:1-9)
The Mercy of YHWH (2:10)
The Mission of YHWH (3:1-3)
“Salvation comes from the LORD.”