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Jonah Chapter 2

Memory 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. 

Introduction:  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.

Jonah 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   

Jonah 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.

Psa 106:13  They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:

Psa 106:14  But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.

Psa 106:15  And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.

If you are saved, you know first hand that God is a God of mercy.   Normally 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.

Eccl 8:11  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.

Eccl 8:12  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:

Eccl 8:13  But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God.

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.

Num 32:23  But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out. 

Gal 6:7  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Gal 6:8  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.

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.


Jonah 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.

Gen 18:25  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 do right? 

Luke 11:9  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.

Luke 11:10  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Luke 11:11  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?

Luke 11:12  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?

Luke 11:13  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?


Jonah 2:3  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.

Jonah 2:4  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:

Luke 15:17  And 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 hunger!

Luke 15:18  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

Luke 15:19  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

Luke 15:20  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.

Luke 15:21  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 son.

Luke 15:22  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 his feet:

Luke 15:23  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24  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 Temple.Ē   Jonah knew who he needed to turn to, and he went directly to God with his petitions.   By 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.

Psa 32:5  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.


II.   The Rough Road to Repentance

Jonah 2:5  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Jonah 2:6  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.

Jonah 2:7  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.

Isa 40:26  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.


Psa 121:2  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.

Jonah 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.  

Jonah 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.

Eccl 5:4  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.

Eccl 5:5  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.

Mat 1:21  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.


Luke 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


Acts 4:11  This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.

Acts 4:12  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 Lord.


III.  Jonahís Prayer is Heard and God Delivers him

Jonah 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.

Mat 12:40  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 with you.

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.  [1]  


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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