Summary: Jonah found himself in one of the worst jams I can think of. But Jonah made it to the place of thanksgiving. Let’s look into God’s Word, and see how he got there.
Thanksgiving When the Water Is Over Your Head
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - Nov. 22, 2009
*Thinking about Thanksgiving, let me ask you to turn to the Old Testament Book of Jonah. Almost everybody knows the story of Jonah. It’s one of the first Bible stories we hear as children. In this tremendous story, God told Jonah to go warn the wicked people of Nineveh about His coming judgment. But instead, Jonah took off in a ship for Tarshish. He was going just as far as he could go in the opposite direction. Then God sent a monster storm to stop the ship, and an enormous fish to swallow Jonah and steer him back to where the Lord wanted him to be.
*By the way, this is an absolutely true story. The giant fish could have easily been a shark. In fact, history records other sailors who were swallowed whole and rescued. One man in the mid 1700’s toured Europe with the preserved body of the 3,000 pound shark that swallowed him. Or take Sperm whales as another example. These whales are capable of swallowing humans. They live on squid, which they swallow whole. In 1955 a 405-pound squid was removed intact from the belly of a sperm whale. (1)
*On top of that, all things are possible with God.
-He is in control of every planet and every particle in this universe.
-God could prepare a giant hummingbird to swallow you if He wanted to!
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 encompassed 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.
*Trapped for 3 days inside the belly of a really big fish.
-That’s what I call a bad week! -- And we all have them.
*Sometimes these things will hit you right out of the blue.
-The last thing Jonah thought when he got on that boat was that he was going to get swallowed by a giant fish!
*Now here we are near the end of 2009, and we wonder what is going on.
-The economy is in the tank, with unemployment at 10.2% and rising.
-The federal government seems determined to take over healthcare, and force taxpayers to pay for abortions, while they spend our country into bankruptcy.
*The list of national worries could go on for hours. -- But for many of us, the crises are a lot more personal than today’s headlines.
-Many of us have lost loved ones in recent weeks.
-Others have discovered traumatic health problems.
-Some marriages hang by a thread.
-Some of our children are on the wrong track.
-And we have deep-seated problems that just won’t seem to go away.
*How can we get to the place of thanksgiving? Let’s go back to Jonah.
-He found himself in one of the worst jams I can think of.
-But Jonah made it to the place of thanksgiving.
-Let’s look into God’s Word, and see how he got there.
1. First: Cry out to God for He will hear you.
*Cry out to God. When you are way under water, cry out to God! This is what Jonah did in vs. 1: “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly.” Next in vs. 2, Jonah looked back on his prayer: And he said: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of hell I cried, and You heard my voice.” Cry out to the Lord and He will hear you too! We cannot overestimate the power of prayer.