Reading For Tuesday Jonah 2:1-10
Praying is sometimes our last resort. Jonah prayed out of his distress and cried for help from the depth of Sheol. He was as good as dead when he lifted up his desperate plea, but God heard the voice of his rebellious prophet Jonah and granted the petition for help. God's grace is manifest by the mere fact that he heard Jonah's prayer. Jonah describes in detail the distress out of which he cried out to the Lord, and he does not blame the sailors for his predicament. God had placed Jonah into the deep, and it was the only means by which the violent storm could be calmed. The crew was just the instrument God used on this occasion. Jonah vividly describes being siphoned into the current and battered by the waves. Jonah emphasizes that the sea was God’s means of disciplining him, and it left him feeling cut off from God. By being cast into the sea, Jonah had been “driven” from God's sight. In spite of his circumstances, Jonah was confident that he would “look again” toward God's “holy temple.” He was anticipating renewed fellowship with his God and these words probably suggest that Jonah had experienced a change of heart. What began as arrogance had given way to humility and his rebellion transformed into submission.
Jonah felt himself sinking into a watery grave as the water surrounded him to the point of death and weeds wrapped around his head. He was descending “to the roots of the mountains.” This was the point of oblivion as the land's bars were closing forever, the bars of death. There was no hope of return apart from divine intervention. By means of the great fish, God had brought up his life from the pit. While his life was fainting away, Jonah remembered God and turned to the Lord for help, as his prayer reached the heavenly temple. Jonah is keenly aware of how much he was indebted to divine grace. He declares that idolaters forsake their hope of steadfast love, and he pledges to sacrifice to God and pay his vows. Jonah now knows from personal experience that salvation belongs to God, and he needed salvation as much as the Ninevites. God's response was to speak to the fish and have it vomit Jonah up on the dry land.
Things To Consider:
- Do you ever delay prayer until you are in distress? Why?
- Why would God listen to Jonah at all?
- Have you ever prayed while in distress? When? What were the circumstances?
- Does Jonah actually ask God for anything in this prayer?
- Does this passage teach us anything about the importance of memorizing scripture?
- What can be learned about God from the fact that he speaks to a fish?
- How can our love of idols forsake God's steadfast love?