Summary: With Jonah’s new purpose he is about to be used mightily. Do you desire to be used by God, but feel trapped in circumstances?
We are looking at Jonah’s prayer as he prayed to God from an unlikely place, the stomach of a fish. To pray we must have faith in God. Sometimes we say there are no atheists in foxholes. Now we find out from Jonah that there are no atheists in fish bellies.
Can you imagine what it would be like to live in a world where no one would talk to you? Everyday you saw hundreds of people, lived with them, ate with them, worked with them, but they never said a word to you. It would be terrible, because we as humans need communication in order to develop relationships. It must break God’s heart when he lives among us and we never take the time to talk to Him.
Here is a man who previously ran from God. Now he is crying out to God. We see that Jonah has put his priorities right.
Jonah’s disobedience has brought calamity to his life. His disobedience put him in an unimaginable position. Maybe our own disobedience has put us in a desperate situation. Of course, not all trouble in our life is the direct result of sin. It may be our troubles are there to strengthen us. James 1:2-3 says, consider it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
When we find ourselves in difficulties we need to ask ourselves is this to strengthen our faith, or is it, as in the case of Jonah a result of disobedience. God has put Jonah through an ordeal almost too terrible to describe. Does God have you inside some horrible circumstance? You might be going through something so horrible you feel like you would trade places with Jonah.
What did Jonah do? He cried out in distress to the Lord. He cried out for help. Jonah was down in the depths of the sea with the waves rolling over his head. However bad our circumstances we must pray. Jonah’s affliction compelled him to pray. The troubles that are brought on by our disobedience to God should bring us to our knees crying out to God.
Jonah had previously been fleeing from God. Now in humility he is seeking God. Jonah’s desperate condition caused him to cry out to God. He called to God in his brokenness.
Jonah is doing what he should have been doing all along. Instead of running from God Jonah should have been crying out to God. Whenever someone is running from God you can be assured it is not the result of a prayerful decision. Running from God is disobedience.
The Bible calls us to, pray on every occasion. Ephesians 6:18. The more desperate our situation the more we have a reason to pray. It is our devotional life and our prayer that becomes the barometer of our spiritual life. No one can take your privilege of prayer away from you no matter what circumstance you are in. God head Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish. When we pray in faith God hears us.
Jonah gets his priorities right
Now Jonah is putting God first. Jonah recognized his own unworthiness. Jonah 2:4 ’I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’ When we look to God in the midst of our troubles we are putting our priorities right.
Jonah cried from the depth of the sea. Even more importantly Jonah cried from the depth of his heart. He was determined to be reconciled to God. He says, I will look again toward your holy temple.’ Now Jonah is seeking God. He was giving God first place in his life.
He looks to the temple. He looks to the place that gives access to a rebellious sinner. The Jonah who is praying here hardly seems like the same man who ran from God. Now Jonah is running after God.
Jonah’s priorities have done a complete 180 degree turn. He ran away to flee God’s presence and now he is crying out for God’s presence. When our priorities are right our circumstances become secondary. Seeking God becomes primary. Jonah has put his priorities right and it has given him a new purpose.
Jonah has become thankful. Although his circumstances where at their worst, there is an inward transformation that takes place when he puts his priorities on seeking after God.
Jonah 2:9 But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD."
Jonah has a song of thanksgiving in his heart even in the worst circumstances and joy begins to flow. We need to praise God even when things are unpleasant. Now Jonah is able to trust God.