Jonah 2 (NLT)
Pray, Jonah, Pray!
1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from inside the fish.
God could have rescued Jonah in any number of ways. He chose this specific way because of the effect it would have on Jonah’s heart. The book of Jonah shows us important principles about the sovereignty of God. What happens when God wants a person to do something, but the person doesn’t want to do it? Jonah shows us that God has a way of bringing us to the place where we want what He wants.
Dear Lord, Please let me never be so disobedient to you that you have to put me in the belly of a great fish before I will obey you!
“I cried out to the Lord in my great trouble,
and he answered me.
I called to you from the land of the dead,
and Lord, you heard me!
Jonah knew the Word of God by heart! See how he quotes from the Psalms:
Psalm 18:6 (NIV)
In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
3 You threw me into the ocean depths,
and I sank down to the heart of the sea.
The mighty waters engulfed me;
I was buried beneath your wild and stormy waves.
4 Then I said, ‘O Lord, you have driven me from your presence.
Yet I will look once more toward your holy Temple.’
Open my eyes, Lord, to see you beside me in every circumstance.
5 “I sank beneath the waves,
and the waters closed over me.
Psalm 42:7 (NIV)
All your waves and breakers
have swept over me.
Seaweed wrapped itself around my head.
6 I sank down to the very roots of the mountains.
I was imprisoned in the earth,
whose gates lock shut forever.
But you, O Lord my God,
snatched me from the jaws of death!
Thank you, Lord, for all the times you have saved me from my own poor choices!
7 As my life was slipping away,
I remembered the Lord.
And my earnest prayer went out to you
in your holy Temple.
Psalm 31:22 (NIV)
In my alarm I said,
“I am cut off from your sight!”
Yet you heard my cry for mercy
when I called to you for help.
8 Those who worship false gods
turn their backs on all God’s mercies.
9 But I will offer sacrifices to you with songs of praise,
and I will fulfill all my vows.
For my salvation comes from the Lord alone.”
Yes, Lord! Forever and ever and ever I will say, Yes, Lord!
10 Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah out onto the beach.
from Peculiar Treasures,
by Frederick Buechner
If it was actually a whale that swallowed Jonah on his voyage to Tarshish, it couldn’t have been the kind of Right Whale you find in these waters because their gullets aren’t big enough. Maybe it was a sperm whale because they can handle something the size of a prophet without batting an eye. Or maybe, since the Hebrew word means only “great fish,” it wasn’t a whale at all but a man-eating shark, some of whom attain lengths as great as thirty feet. But whatever it was, this much is certain.
No matter how deep it dove and no matter how dark the inside of its belly, no depth or darkness was enough to drown out the sound of Jonah’s prayer. “I am cast out from thy presence. How shall I again look upon thy holy temple?” the intractable and water-logged old man called out from sixty fathoms, and Yahweh heard him, and answered him, and Jonah’s great relief at being delivered from the whale can hardly have been any greater than the whale’s at being delivered from Jonah.
HERE is “Love Lifted Me.” Randy Travis and Mac Powell.
- I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore,
Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more,
But the Master of the sea heard my despairing cry,
From the waters lifted me, now safe am I.
Love lifted me! Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help, Love lifted me!
- All my heart to Him I give, ever to Him I’ll cling,
In His blessed presence live, ever His praises sing,
Love so mighty and so true, merits my soul’s best songs,
Faithful, loving service, too, to Him belongs.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.