verses for this week: Prov
31:10 Who can find a
virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. Prov 31:11
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he
shall have no need of spoil. Prov 31:12
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
In last weeks lesson on Chapter 1, we saw Jonah fleeing from
the call of God and trying to hide from the Lord. God gave Jonah directions to go down and preach a
message to Nineveh, but Jonah did not want to do this.
But after boarding a ship headed to Tarshish, a great storm
came upon them, and the crew discovered that Jonah appeared to be
what was causing the ship to be destroyed, and they cast him
overboard. This was all in Godís plan, and we see the whale
coming on the scene to swallow up Jonah in the last verse of Chapter
1:17 Now the LORD had
prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the
belly of the fish three days and three nights.
I. Jonahís Prayer
2:1 Then Jonah prayed
unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,
After God had dealt bitterly with Jonah, Jonah decided that
prayer might be a good thing to do.
Funny how that appeared to never have crossed his mind
earlier. Sometimes we
have to get into some pretty serious predicaments before we turn
things over to the Lord. In
these afflictions, Jonah cries out to the very One from whom he had
been trying to hide. From this chapter, we learn that the child of God will
not be allowed by God to get his own way when that directly
conflicts with Godís will in their lives in most cases.
Sometimes God does allow a Christian to become carnal and
walk in the Ďpermissive will of Godí rather than the perfect
will, and when that happens, we have a loss of fellowship with the
Lord and wind up like the nation of Israel in the wilderness when
they went their own way.
They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in
And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their
If you are saved, you know first hand that God is a God of
he wonít bring immediate judgment upon us, but will give us fair
warning and every opportunity to repent.
Because God is long suffering towards us and does not bring
immediate judgment, many set their hearts to do evil.
Because sentence against an evil work is not executed
speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in
them to do evil.
Though a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be
prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them that
fear God, which fear before him:
But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he
prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not
But if we continue in our evil ways, the bible warns us that
our sins will find us out, and that what we sow, that shall we reap.
But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the
LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man
soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit
reap life everlasting.
And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we
shall reap, if we faint not.
2:2 And said, I cried
by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of
the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
Man knows when their prayers or going through to God.
When you out of Godís will, you can virtually feel the
prayers bouncing off the ceiling and coming back.
But when we get our heartís right with God, we have great
power with the Lord. This
is a remarkable prayer in that Jonah does not utter a single
petition for himself. In
his prayer, he justifies God, not himself.
We canít fool God, but many times we try to justify
ourselves with the Lord when we pray by using the weakness of our
flesh as an excuse. Jonah
recognized that God was right in what He was doing.
In Genesis, we have the record where Abraham was asking for
mercy for Sodom and Gomorrah, and he said he knew that the judge of
all the earth would do right in what he did.
We need to have that kind of trust in our heavenly Father.
That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the
righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the
wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and
ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will
he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give
him a serpent?
Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy
Spirit to them that ask him?
For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the
seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy
waves passed over me.
Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look
again toward thy holy temple.
Jonah admits that he felt that God had cast him out of His
sight. He had gone down
as far as he could
goÖ it was high time to look to the Lord.
It reminded me of the story of the prodigal son who had took
all his inheritance and went into a far land and wasted it away.
He was in the hog pens taking care of the swine which was
probably the most despicable job that a Jew could have.
Iíve always thought the key verse in that story was:
when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of
my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with
I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him,
Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,
And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of
thy hired servants.
And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a
great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and
fell on his neck, and kissed him.
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best
robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us
eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost,
and is found. And they began to be merry.
Like the prodigal son, Jonah came to himself there in the
whaleís belly. How
much better to be in Godís will every day of our lives, and not
wind up in straits like these two men did.
But just like the prodigal sonís father, God was there
waiting for Jonah to repent and to come back to him.
In verse 4, Jonah says ďI will look again toward thy Holy
knew who he needed to turn to, and he went directly to God with his
saying the word Ďagainí, we can conclude that Jonah had looked
many times in prayer before he started running from God.
Sometimes I feel so inadequate when I pray to the Lord.
Seems like I fail Him everyday, and it is like I come saying
ďItís me again Lord.Ē
But you know what?
God is a merciful and loving God, and He is pleased when we
come humbly and confess our sins to Him.
I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not
hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and
thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:10
If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and
his word is not in us.
I donít know why we wait so long to call upon the Lord when
we know the power that prayer has.
Many times, when there is sickness in our family, the Lord is
the last one we will go to.
We get advice from doctors, fellow workers, read medical
books, and then when we get no results, we as a last resort call on
God. We need to
reverse that pattern and look to God first. When we may be cold and back-slidden, we need to
humble our hearts and come to God rather than waiting for a
spanking. And we
are promised that we will be chastised if we are disobedient.
2 Chr 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble
themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked
ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and
will heal their land.
Note it isnít the lost sinners, but Godís people who are
to humble themselves and pray.
The Rough Road to Repentance
The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth
closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with
her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life
from corruption, O LORD my God.
When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my
prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
It is important to remember that we are hearing an eye
witness account of what happened to Jonah.
Iím sure that he and God had some open lines of
communication during those three days and three nights in the belly
of that whale. Jonah
felt that he had gone down to the very bottom of the earth and it
had cast bars about him.
But because he did get cast down so far, that is when he
found Godís hand heavy upon him. And during this time, it brought him to his senses.
Sometimes we have to really get knocked down flat before we
will look up.
Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these
things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all
by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in
power; not one faileth.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
Jonah had just about given upÖ he says in verse 7 ĎWhen
my soul fainteth within meĒ.
The result of his tribulations is that it broke his stubborn
will, and he comes to God in repentance.
Oh that we might keep a humble heart and spirit about us, and
not have to be beaten down to follow after the Lord.
He loves us and wants the very best for our lives.
2:8 They that observe
lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
Jonah warns others about going there own way and chasing
lying vanities. When
we do that, we forsake our own mercy.
2:9 But I will
sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that
that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Several good things are pointed out in verse 9.
1. I will
sacrifice unto the Lord with the voice of thanksgiving.
This was the only kind of sacrifice he could possibly
bringóone of thanksgiving. In
is important to remember where Jonah was when he gave thanksgiving. (In the belly of the fish in the depths of the sea.)
He thanked the Lord for sparing his life.
2. I will pay
that which I have vowed.
Do we pay the vows we have vowed to the Lord.
We should. Iíve heard of mothers and fathers saying that
they vowed to do certain things when a child was sick if the Lord
would heal that child. Then
when God comes through for them, they tend to forget those promises.
Whatever we have vowed, we should fulfill that vow.
When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he
hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou
shouldest vow and not pay.
3. Salvation is
of the Lord.
We understand that Jonah may have been referring here to
being delivered from inside the fish, but it is also true that the
salvation of the soul is wholly of the Lord.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name
JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders,
which is become the head of the corner.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none
other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Adam Clarke said this about verse 9.
But I will sacrifice unto theeóI will make a sincere vow, which, as soon as my
circumstances will permit, I will faithfully execute; and therefore
he adds, ďI will pay that which I have vowed.Ē
Salvation is of the LordóAll deliverance from danger, preservation of life,
recovery from sickness, and redemption of the soul from the power,
guilt, and pollution of sin, is from Jehovah. He alone is the
Savior, he alone is the Deliverer; for all salvation is from the
Jonahís Prayer is Heard and God Delivers him
2:10 And the LORD spake
unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
I think it is interesting to note that God spoke to the fish,
and the fish obeyed the voice of God.
Like that verse we read last week about Christ stilling the
waters and stopping the winds of the storm, nothing is impossible
with God. All of
nature is at his command.
Jonah was vomited out onto dry land.
Jonah had been inside that fish for 72 hours, which was a
type of our Lordís death and resurrection.
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's
belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the
heart of the earth.
I kept this story from J. Vernon McGee to the end of the
lesson since it is a bit lengthy.
But it really does have a great relationship to what faces us
when we donít do Godís Will in our lives, and I want to share it
Men donít pray a prepared prayer in time of crisis.
They get down to business immediately when the crisis comes. I am
reminded of a friend of mine in the ministry who lost the index
finger on his right hand below the first jointóthere was nothing
left but a stub. When anyone would ask him how he was called to the
ministry, he would hold up that little stub of a finger and wiggle
it, and then he would tell his story.
When he was a boy, an evangelist came to their church
to hold meetings. The first night of the meetings, his dad, who was
an officer in the church, made him sit on the front row, and the
preacher really made that seat hot for him. He knew the preacher was
talking right to him, although the preacher himself didnít realize
it. His dad made him go to the meeting the second night, and he knew
that if he went yet another time, he not only would accept Christ as
his Savior but would also give his life to enter the ministry. He
had a feeling even at that time that that would be his call. So that
night after everybody went to bed, he got an extra shirt and his
pajamas and ran off to Mississippi. There he got a job in a sawmill.
I donít know if you are acquainted with the old-time sawmill. A
man would take a great hook and would roll the logs over onto the
carriage which would take the log on down to the big saw. The saw
would then rip that log right down through the middle. My friendís
job was to roll the logs onto the carriage.
One afternoon after he had worked there for about two
weeks, he ran out of logs. So the foreman got some old logs which
had not been run through the saw for one reason or another. There
was one log among them that had already been ripped about halfway.
For some reason they hadnít finished it but had pulled it back
out. When my friend rolled that particular log over onto the
carriage which carried it into the band saw, the place where the log
had previously been ripped opened up, and the index finger on his
right hand got caught in it. He felt himself being pulled along the
carriage toward that big band saw. He began to yell at the top of
his voice, but by that time, the other end of the log had hit the
saw and was already going through. If you have ever been around a
sawmill, you know that that makes a terrible racketónobody could
hear him. He was yelling at the top of his voice, very frightened as
he found himself being pulled against his will right into that saw.
It would take only about forty-five seconds for him
to get to the saw. His finger was way out in front of him, and the
place where the log had been sawed was clamped down tight on it. His
finger hit the saw and was cut off. But that released him, and he
rolled to the side and was safe. In that forty-five seconds, he had
prayed to the Lord. He accepted Christ as his Savior, promised the
Lord he would go into the ministry and do His will, and told Him a
lot of other things also! My preacher friend used to say that he
told the Lord more in that forty-five seconds than he has ever told
Him in an hourís prayer since then.
May I say to you, he prayed that prayer immediately
when the crisis came. Thatís when I pray; thatís when you pray.
You donít wait to pray
in a time of emergency.
So Jonah prayed this prayer as he went down from the
mouth of the fish and through the esophagus. By the time, he went
ďkerplunkĒ into the fishís tummy, this man Jonah had already
completed his prayer and had said amen. I think he prayed a great
deal more than is recorded hereóI think we have ďthe abridged
editionĒ of it.
Some folk put a great deal of emphasis upon the time word
thenóďThen Jonah prayed unto the Lord
his God out of the fishís belly.Ē They assume that this means
that after he had been in the fish three days and three nights, then
he prayed. This is not what it means at all. It is characteristic of
the Hebrew language to give the full account of something and then
to go back and emphasize that which is important. This same
technique is used in Genesis concerning the creation. We are given
the six days of creation, and then God goes back and gives a
detailed account of the creation of man, adding a great deal. To
attempt to build an assumption on the little word then is very
fallacious. It simply means that now Jonah is going to tell us the
story in detail; he is going to tell us what really happened inside
the fish. 
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Practice Random Acts of Kindness.
Each act spreads, and many will be blessed.