Jonah 2:1 – 10
1. From deep inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God:
2. "In my distress, O LORD, I called to you, and you answered me. From deep in the world of the dead I cried for help, and you heard me.
3. You threw me down into the depths, to the very bottom of the sea, where the waters were all around me, and all your mighty waves rolled over me.
4. I thought I had been banished from your presence and would never see your holy Temple again.
5. The water came over me and choked me; the sea covered me completely, and seaweed wrapped around my head.
6. I went down to the very roots of the mountains, into the land whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, brought me back from the depths alive.
7. When I felt my life slipping away, then, O LORD, I prayed to you, and in your holy Temple you heard me.
8. Those who worship worthless idols have abandoned their loyalty to you.
9. But I will sing praises to you; I will offer you a sacrifice and do what I have promised. Salvation comes from the LORD!"
10. Then the LORD ordered the fish to spit Jonah up on the beach, and it did.
Throughout world history, the Assyrians have been known as some of the most sadistic people who ever lived. And though Jonah was scared to go to Nineveh, he wasn’t afraid of their cruelty. He was afraid of the mercy of God!
You see, Jonah knew God would be quick to forgive and offer mercy to the citizens of Nineveh. That was the last thing Jonah wanted to see! He didn’t want them blessed; he wanted them blasted. Yes, he definitely needed and attitude check.
But before we’re quick to judge Jonah as being heartless, let’s search our own hearts. Do you ever find it tough to forgive someone who’s been mean to you? Are you willing to go out of your way for someone who’s been a jerk to you?
As we read the first chapter of Jonah, we see that after he got his mission from God, he caught a ship and headed toward Tarshish – the opposite direction from Nineveh. Guess what? When you’re running from God, satan will always have a ‘ship’ ready to take you the opposite direction. In other words, the devil will always tempt you with means of escape.
The Bible tells us that Jonah went down to the port of Joppa. He boarded the ship, went to a downstairs cabin, and fell asleep. But when a horrendous storm began to threaten the ship’s safety, the sailors were terrified.
They began tossing things overboard in order to lighten the ship, and someone remembered Jonah, who was asleep in the bowels of the boat. Don’t think for a second that he was sleeping because he was at peace. He was sleeping out of rebellion and escape. Have you ever felt so down, so confused, so angry, you simply went to bed and pulled the covers over your head? It enables us to forget – for the time being – the heaviness that weighs on our heart.
The sailors finally woke Jonah, and they cast lots to see who had made God angry and caused the storm. When Jonah lost, he admitted that he was the reason for the storm. He even told them that if they’d toss him overboard, their lives would be spared. So they did. And just as Jonah had predicted, they safely sailed on to their destination.
God Bless!(Susie Shellenberger)