Read Jonah 2
2 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
4 I said, ‘I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
toward your holy temple.’
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
7 “When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
In this passage, Jonah vividly describes his feelings of hopelessness as he is sinking into the sea and swallowed by a fish. What Jonah experienced is the stuff of nightmares as seen in Jonah 2:3-6 “…the flood surrounded me… water closed in over me, the deep surrounded me…weeds wrapped around my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the pit whose bars closed upon me forever.” Jonah is figuratively in a spiritual/emotional valley as his circumstances fight to overwhelm him with hopelessness. By paying close attention to Jonah’s description, we find that Jonah is also literally in a valley as well since he is surrounded by “mountains.”
The fact that Jonah is literally and figuratively in a valley is likely no mere coincidence and should make us recall the literal and figurative valley depicted in Psalm 23 where David describes our Shepherd (God) leading the sheep (us) through the “valley of the shadow of death.” In both of these passages, we find David and Jonah recognizing God’s presence in the midst of their difficult times. In psalm 23:4 David writes that in the valley “I will fear no evil, for you are with me”. Likewise, in Jonah 2:2, Jonah speaks of how God “answered me” and “heard my voice” while in the belly of the fish. With this realization of God’s presence, Jonah and David were able to be comforted despite their terrible circumstances, and what a comfort that should be for us during our challenges.
The correlations between these passages continue! In Psalm 23, David discusses how the shepherd’s rod and staff “comfort me”. These were tools used to protect and guide the sheep. As described in A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, a shepherd’s staff were used by the shepherd to “guide his sheep gently onto a new path” or “reach out and catch individual sheep … and draw them close to himself for intimate examination.” The correlation between Jonah’s whale and the Shepherd’s staff is undeniable as we see how God uses the whale to redirect Jonah’s path as well as catch Jonah and bring him close to Himself. It is encouraging to see God’s kindness and provision repeatedly displayed in these passages and stirs me to ensure that I’m part of His flock.
- What are your tendencies when you face challenges in life? How has God been a part of those moments?
- How can you ensure that you are reminded of God’s presence when difficult times ensue?
- What part of God’s character stirs your affection for Him?
Watch the sermon “A Shepherd Comforts and Protects”. This sermon discusses part of the Psalm 23 passage that was listed above. This sermon series is based on the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by Phillip Keller.
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6 thoughts on “Jonah 2”
The BRP link did not work early this morning.
So with no link, I did some digging on Jonah 2. I love Jonah!! I love how God didn’t give up on him and loved him through his fear, disobedience and struggle. I read too that he is likely an enneagram 9 which helped me picture more of his personality.
We can pass by this powerful story and think of it as a children’s fable, but it literally happened!! Jonah miraculously was swallowed by a fish and God commanded the fish to “vomit Jonah onto dry land.”
What did Jonah do for deliverance?
1. Prayed (Chapter 2 & vs 7b)
2. Repented (4b)
3. Remembered (vs 7a)
4. Gave thanks (vs 9)
5. Made a vow (9b)
His prayer made me think of the countless prayers of David. Like in Psalm 18 “he reached down from on high & took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy…”
Ask yourself: What are my deep waters? What are my “enemies”?
We can trust God with these.
As I read today’s passage, I thought about the pits we find ourselves in, some of our own making and some consequences of a broken world. When Jonah landed in the sea, drowning, God rescued him and put him in a unique air bubble. Jonah saw his choices and recognized that when faced with death, clinging to idols- the world’s way of coping- was useless and harmful. Looking to God, the Maker of heaven and earth is our only hope. It seems like it’s times of extreme grief and heartache that tear away all our typical coping mechanisms, all our attempts to find satisfaction in things other than God. What is important in life becomes obvious, and everything else is revealed to be frivolous. Jonah had an epiphany in his time in the pit, and so do many of us. Whatever your pit is- whether it’s your parents or your child dying, a prodigal child walking away, or seriously unmet expectations- In His kindness, Jesus holds us, rescues us, and stays with us as we emerge from dark days into the light of His hope. If you’re currently in a pit, look to Jesus, our good Shepherd. He will never leave nor forsake us. What a comfort! I know from experience.
How seriously do we take the commands of God? Once we chose to disregard them we may end up tossed to and fro like Jonah, until we beg for his mercy and forgiveness. The part of God’s character that stirs my affections most is that he hears my heart’s cry and responds even though I am undeserving. I’m a mother to 7, and hearing one of them cry propels me into action. If I, who am imperfect, respond this way, how much more does our faithful God to us? He is a good, good Father! I’m so deeply grateful that he rescued & redeemed my life.
I echo Lori’s thoughts! ❤️
Thanks to Regeneration:Recovery, I have come to recognize addiction as my “pit.” Praise God he hears our cries no matter how deeply we have sunk; in fact, Romans 8:39 promises us “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.”
Psalm 130 reminds us of the significance in calling out from the pit. This Psalm is beautifully set to music in John Rutter’s “Requiem” (a work I had the privilege of singing over thirty years ago, and continues to speak to me to this day.)
“Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive To the voice of my supplications. If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with You, That You may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, And in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord More than those who watch for the morning— Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is mercy, And with Him is abundant redemption. And He shall redeem Israel From all his iniquities.”
-Psalms 130:1-8 NKJV
I invite you to listen to the words of the psalmist, calling up from the pit: