Summary: A sermon on running back to God from Jonah 2. (Adapted from an outline by Jack Peters)
RUNNING BACK TO GOD
A. This fish tastes fishy.
B. You know the smell of fish and of ocean meat. Imagine that but 10 X worse.
C. Imagine the situation that Jonah finds himself. He is engulfed by the mouth of a huge fish, or whale or whatever. How terrifying.
D. He goes through the esophagus of that animal. Swallowed whole and traveling from the mouth to the stomach.
E. By the time he went kerplunk into the fish’s tummy, this man Jonah had already started praying. I think he prayed a great deal more than is recorded here. This prayer contains references to the Psalms and it is more like a poem. I think that when Jonah finally got back to his home in Israel and penned this story, he gave us the abridged edition of his prayers. He prayed as long as he could in that fish’s stomach. He didn’t wait three and three nights before he prayed.
F. How did Jonah breathe? If this was a whale there is some air in the stomach and the sinuses.
G. Some larger whales have 4 to 6 compartments in their stomachs, in any one of which a colony of men could have enough room.
H. Imagine the smell and conditions in that stomach. The stomach acids would have eaten Jonah’s clothes away. It would have easily dissolved all of his body hair in the matter of hours. These acids would have stung his flesh and slowly eaten the layers of skin.
I. Vs. 3 mentions that he was swamped by water. He went with that fish upwards, downwards, he was flown to and fro in that stomach. Seasickness!!!
J. Vs. 5 Jonah talks about the weeds. This animal was eating seaweed and it wrapped all around his body. Not to mention all of the other carcasses and trash that this fish may have swallowed and Jonah was fling to and fro with this stuff on him and over him.
K. Vs. 7- When my soul fainted. Jonah would have fainted in a matter of hours in this condition. He would have been unconscious for most of those three days and three nights.
L. There are some pictures of Jonah in that whale and it shows a man at a table sitting on a chair with a concerned look on his face. This is not the picture that is painted about Jonah in that great fish.
M. Vs. 2 Jonah calls that place the belly of death. VS. 6 The earth and its bars closed behind me forever; you have brought up my life from the pit.
N. These words seem to indicate that Jonah may have died in that belly. If he didn’t die, I am sure that he wished he would.
O. The Lord kept Jonah alert and alive enough so that he could repent and run back to Him.
P. However, did Jonah die in the belly of this great fish? If not, it serves as a horrible picture of hell. It serves as a warning to those who run away from God.
Q. There is a good chance that Jonah died in that whale and then when he was spit out, the Lord resurrected him.
R. (Mat 12:39 NIV) He answered, "A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.(Mat 12:40 NIV) 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.
S. This book teaches the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Resurrection is the basis for our faith and it is alluded to here in the Old Testament. Jesus makes direct mention of it in the New Testament.
A. Now that you have no appetite and I have your attention.
B. In chapter 1 of this book, Jonah tried to run from God.
C. After being swallowed by a great fish, Jonah runs back to God. He repents.
D. This passage shows us how we should repent, that is, return to God after we have run away from His directions and will for our lives.
Thesis: Repentance is
RUNNING BACK TO PRAYER Vs 1-3, 7
A. Jonah’s prayer life had been in trouble (Psa 66:18 NIV) “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened;
B. Because he ran from God, Jonah cries out in prayer, returning to his God.
C. Either we will keep on sinning and quit praying, or we will keep on praying and quit sinning.
D. My 10 minute rule. It helped to break that bad habit.
E. Make a habit of prayer and repentance. Get specific.