Jonah was on a ship hiding himself from the Lord. He was trying to escape God’s call for him to go and to preach to the people of the city Nineveh (the greatest Assyrian city founded by Nimrod – Genesis 10:8-12). So, the Lord caused great storm in the sea. The storm was so strong that the crew of the ship got scared. Then the ship-master came to Jonah and was pleading him to pray to God, so He may save all of them. But Jonah was inexorable and refused to pray to God. Moreover, knowing that the storm was a result of his disobedience to God’s will, he proposed to the ship-crew to throw him out of the ship. So they did. But God appointed a great fish to save him…
Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish's belly, 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. -- Jonah 2:1-2 KJV
Finally Jonah prayed. He “prayed to the Lord his God“. But his prayer “from the belly of the fish” is not a request for salvation, but thanksgiving for being already saved. He refused to pray to God for pagan sailors to be saved. But when Jonah himself was drowning and nearly died he remembered the name of his God. Isn’t it true about many of us?
There are many people on Earth who refuse to submit to God’s will and His authority, because it would require some accountability. They live their lives in such a way, so they can avoid taking the responsibilities. And just like Jonah was sleeping on the very bottom of the ship, many people prefer to hide themselves from God and lay low. And when distress and hardship comes, their pride and stubbornness bring them to the edge of the cliff, or to the bottom of the sea, like in Jonah’s situation.
And when it seems there is no hope and the end is near, God is closer than ever. Jonah “called out to the Lord, out of [his] distress“. When “the waters closed in over [him] to take [his] life” God answered him. Jonah probably even died and his soul was away from his body in hell. It was there that God heard his cry brought up his life from corruption. And “out of the belly of Sheol I cried and you heard my voice“.
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
- Do you run from the Lord God like Jonah did?
- Have you completely surrendered your life to God’s will or your pride is still ruling over you?
- Are you still in the belly of Sheol?
- If you are in the belly of the fish, if you have been saved from the hell, do you give thanks to the Lord God?
- Have you commend yourself to be minister of God?
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You God that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross on our behalf. We thank You Lord Jesus that out of the belly of Sheol You rescued us. Despite our stubbornness and pride, because of Your love, by your grace and mercy You gave us salvation. We pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us and lead us in accordance to Your will.
All these we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen