Peter Misselbrook's Blog
Jul 4 2019 - Jonah 2 – Prayer from the belly of the fish

Never has there been a stranger place of prayer than that of Jonah in this chapter; "From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God" (Jonah 2:1). The prayer appears to be one of thanksgiving. Within the fish, Jonah realises that the Lord has saved him; he has not drowned;

The engulfing waters threatened me,
   the deep surrounded me;
   seaweed was wrapped around my head.
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…

Those who cling to worthless idols
   turn away from God’s love for them.
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.’ (vv. 5-6, 8-9)

Jonah rejoices that he knows the living God. His God is not like the worthless idols worshipped by so many, idols which cannot see or speak or help. Jonah had known and felt the reality of God's power in the storm at sea. He had felt the reality of God's judgment as he was thrown from the boat to sink in the waves. And Jonah knows God's power now – his saving power in response to Jonah's prayer of repentance and faith. His God is the living God who hears and answers prayer. He has saved Jonah from drowning and will continue to save him; "Salvation comes from the Lord."

In answer to Jonah's prayer, "the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land" (v. 10). How does God's strange answer to Jonah's prayer encourage you to come before God with your prayers and thanksgiving?

Who would have thought that being swallowed by a great fish was a saving act of God! Have there been times in your experience when you seemed engulfed by deep trouble, yet you can now see that this very situation was designed and used of God for your blessing and learning? How have you proved that "Salvation comes from the Lord"? How will you testify to God's power both in his judgment and in his salvation?

Have you ever felt that you have failed God and are no longer worthy to serve him? Jonah is soon to find out that God still has a purpose for him. In grace, God does not decide to use someone else for his mission to Nineveh. God is pleased to use those who sometimes – maybe even often – fail him. His work is dependent upon his own power and grace at work in us not upon our own capabilities and track record. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Saviour God, I thank you that the Lord Jesus was buried in the dark earth and rose again on the third day to bring the light of salvation to those that sit in darkness. Help me to know that wherever I may be and whatever I may face – even dark situations of my own making – the Saviour is always with me and I am in his safekeeping, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Help me to testify to your saving goodness – even with shouts of grateful praise.

Peter Misselbrook