Summary: God deals with us when we do not do His will. Jonah is a prime example of how we should listen to God, and how God deals with His own when they don't listen and rebel.
The Chastening of the Reluctant, Rebellious Prophet: Jonah Chapter 2
Today's message is a continuation of a study on the book of Jonah, which we started last week.
Please turn to the book of Jonah, which is between Obadiah and Micah, just a few books before Matthew which is the first book of the New Testament. If you are using a pew Bible, Jonah Chapter 2 is on page 1324.
Last week, we saw how Jonah said NO!, and tried to run from God. Really, if you think about it, it's a bit funny in a sense: a prophet, someone who knows God only too well thinking that he can hide from Him.
When Jonah tried to run off to Tarshish, God did the first of 10 miracles in the book of Jonah, 5 of which appear in the first chapter; after Jonah said NO, God made the wind to BLOW.
We also saw how God can use the discipline dealt to us in the salvation of others. While God was dealing with Jonah, the pagan sailors went from praying to gods without life, merely pagan gods, to giving their lives to the true, living God.
The second miracle was when the lot fell on Jonah, showing him to be the cause of the problems they were having with the storm.
We saw how the hearts of these heathens were changed through the whole trial, coming to a high point when they saw the only solution was to THROW Jonah into the violent sea. We see the third miracle when God calmed the storm, followed by God preparing a great fish as the fourth miracle. The fifth miracle was Jonah being swallowed by the great fish.
So much in such a short chapter of a book from God's word. Yet, there is more to come.
Here's the three key words to today's message:
Despair, Dedication and Deliverance.
1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish's belly.
Now, let's step back abit, looking to the last verse from last week. Jonah was swallowed by the great fish and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
The question comes up--could this have happened? Could a man actually live in the belly of a large fish in the sea? Wouldn't the man die of either drowning, or from being chewed up?
There have been some interesting interpretations of this section of Scripture. J. Vernon McGee thinks that Jonah actually died and was resurrected, and honestly I can't say that this wasn't the case. In fact, the more that I study this the more I do think that it's possible.
Here's the argument in short: McGee and Dr. M. R. DeHaan both believe that the terms "Sheol" (hell in KJV) "the pit" (corruption in the KJV, something that I'll review in a moment). McGee states that he believes, and I hold to this too, that when old Jonah was on his way down from the mouth to the stomach of the fish that he was saying his prayer of repentance. The dedication and deliverance happen after Jonah was raised from the dead. Again, I can see McGee's point, and I think that it's possible. It sure does read that way, and it would fit with Jesus relating to Jonah also.
Is there a fish that could sustain a man's life for three days? The answer is, believe it or not, yes.
(Read portion from McGee)
So, is it possible? Sure. Whatever the view that we have, whether resurrection or survival, both are miracles by the hand of God.
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.
The way that "I cried" is written in Hebrew is using two different words. The first word, a verb or an action word, means "to call aloud", which is used many times in the Old Testament. (Use instance--call out to a person). But when it is used the second time, it means "a cry for help", particularly a scream to God. (Mention Patty when Rhonda went to the hospital).
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.
Now think just for a moment of the trials and tribulations that we all go through in our lives. We know that in most every trial that we go through that it seems that we don't deserve the trial, that we should find a way out. More often than not, the trials that we endure are from our own making. Although we don't see clearly that this is the case, we do sometimes see this and we know that we messed up big time. As I've said so many times before, you can avoid the sin but you can't avoid the consequences of the sin.