Salvation belongs to the Lord (but He reserves the right to dish it out with some humor)!
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Jonah 2 (ESV)
1 Then Jonah prayed
to the Lord his God
from the belly of the fish,
2 saying, “I called
out to the Lord,
out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
you cast me
into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
the flood surrounded me;
and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said,
‘I am driven away from your sight;
yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped
about my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life
from the pit,
O Lord my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came
into your holy temple.
8 Those who
pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I
with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
10 And the Lord
spoke to the fish,
and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
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Jonah 2 Summary
After the opening chapter in which he was continually going down, Jonah has literally sunk to the bottom (v6), and can do nothing except for look up to God.
It's at this point that Jonah's story begins an upward arc, ironically from the belly of a great fish that the Lord provided (1:17).
Notice the tension with which Jonah speaks to God with: On one hand, Jonah recognizes Yahweh as his God, who heard Jonah's cry for help as he was sinking down.
On the other hand, in v3, Jonah understands that it was God who put him into his current predicament:
It was God, not the sailors, who cast Jonah into the churning sea;
The very things threatening Jonah's life came from God! Jonah tells God that it was your waves and your billows that pushed him under.
Yet Jonah's prayer is a beautiful psalm of salvation:
v1 - know that in your deepest distress that God hears your voice and answers you;
v6 - God can bring your life up from the pit;
v9 - Salvation belongs to the Lord!
Jonah's prayer is ironic reminder that even if your life isn't perfectly aligned with God's will, that God still listens and responds to your prayers.
We've already noticed the accusatory aspects of Jonah's prayer, as if it was God's fault that Jonah finds himself deep in the realm of the dead (v2 NIV). It wasn't even Jonah's first instinct to pray for help during the storm. The pagan captain had to wake Jonah up to pray to his god (1:6), but yet Jonah doesn't begin to pray until he suddenly remembered the Lord as his life was fainting away (v7)!
Not once anywhere in this short book, even in his prayer, does Jonah repent. In fact, the evil Ninevites will put on a repentance clinic in chapter three, but there's not once word of contriteness from the prophet Jonah.
Yet Jonah was right. Salvation does belong to the Lord! But poor Jonah (the Silly, Senseless Son of Faithfulness) was about to be introduced to God's sense of humor in the way Jonah's salvation would be delivered:
And the Lord spoke to the fish (the same word Genesis 1 uses to describe God's mode of creation), and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land (v10).
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The LORD God, who brings life up from the depths (v6);
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Like Jonah, recognize God as your source of salvation, but unlike Jonah, sincerely repent.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: