Summary: Jonah's story serves as proof that you can't keep a good man down.
You Can't Keep a Good Man Down
I think that there’s something in all of us that likes to rally around those who’ve been knocked down but they always seem to find a way to get back up. Rocky is a perfect example of what I’m talking about. I get fired every time I watch the underdog overcome his opponents; it never gets old to me. Because I love to see someone who, when it appears there’s no way out, comes through.
Jonah’s story also serves as proof that you can’t keep a good man down. He was thrown overboard during the storm; he was swallowed by a great fish. For three days and three nights, he was tossed around in the belly of that great fish as it swam into the depths of the sea, but then the Bible tells us, “the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” 2:10. Jonah gets up, wipes the seaweed off his face, and then the Bible says, “The word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time” 3:1.
Many of us are like Jonah today. God has called us to something greater yet we’ve refused to embrace this calling because of our fear, uncertainty or simply because we just don’t want to do it. And because of our disobedience, we’ve been swallowed up by our circumstances. We are in need of an escape. But I believe the reason we remain trapped by our circumstances is so we can learn some valuable lessons. It took Jonah three days and three nights to learn those lessons. How long will it take you to learn the lessons of your entrapment?
There are four things about Jonah’s character that I want for us to see. First of all, Jonah was…
1. A man of PRAYER (Vv. 1-6)
There are some important questions to ask regarding Jonah’s prayer life at this particular point in his journey. When did he pray? Who did he pray to? What did he pray? First, let's look at when he prayed.
Jonah was afflicted when he called out to God. Not much has changed since the days of Jonah. It’s amazing to me that many of God’s people wait until they’re afflicted to call out to God. Rather than going to God before we wind up in the fish’s belly in the first place, we wait until we are stuck. So here’s what I want us to understand…if we continue to go our own way in rebellion against God’s will, the result will be pain and hardship.
Some people will look to anything and everything to help them in their moment of affliction: pills, books, counselors. But listen to Jonah: “I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, And He answered me.”
I thank God that I can call on Him anytime…even when I’ve neglected Him before, God still hears our prayers and He still answers them. No matter who you are or where you are, you can call on God in your affliction. Jonah’s experience is a proclamation of hope. He cried out in his affliction and found deliverance — and so can we. The first step in getting out of the fish’s belly is to call out to God, to pray.