THE GOD OF THE SECOND CHANCE HEARS OUR DESPERATE CRIES DESPITE THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS
(GOD’S DELIVERANCE IS NOT CONSTRAINED BY THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS)
Do you ever feel that your situation is so hopeless and entangled that God could never bail you out?
The belly of the fish is a lot safer place than the depths of the sea. God is moving Jonah through various stages on the way back to following Him.
As long as you can still pray there is still hope.
I. (:1-2) ANSWERED PRAYER REACHES DOWN TO THE DEPTHS OF OUR DISTRESS
“Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, ‘I called out of my distress to the Lord, And He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; Thou didst hear my voice.’”
A. Prayer as the Lifeline Connection to our Personal God
“prayed to the Lord his God”
B. Prayer in the Nick of Time — Even as the Last Resort
– Jonah prayed
– I called out to the Lord
– I cried for help
Context: running away from God; under God’s hand of judgment – yet still able to pray to God for help.
In the belly of the fish for three days and three nights – did he start calling out to God right away . . . or did he sulk for some time?
C. Prayer from the Depths of Distress (Impossible Complications)
– from the stomach of the fish
– my distress
– from the depth of Sheol
D. Prayer that Receives Merciful Response – (The Mercy of Answered Prayer)
– He answered me
– Thou didst hear my voice
The Lord wants to train us to be merciful instead of judgmental and prideful.
He wants our heart of compassion to be wide like His.
Guzik: God can give us a total peace and assurance that our prayers have been answered, even before the actual answer comes
II. (:3-4) HOPE COMES FROM UNDERSTANDING THE HAND OF THE LORD IN ADMINISTERING DISCIPLINE
“For Thou hadst cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me. All Thy breakers and billows passed over me. So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Thy sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.”
A. Sovereign Discipline – from the hand of the Lord
“Thou hadst cast me”
“Thy breakers and billows”
B. Severe Discipline
“into the deep”
“into the heart of the seas”
C. Surpassing Discipline – beyond measure – looks like I am permanently separated from God
“passed over me”
“So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Thy sight.’”
D. Sufficient Discipline – Accomplishes purpose of Restoration and Orientation towards Holiness, Worship and Service
“Nevertheless I will look again toward Thy holy temple.”
III. (:5-6) THE AWESOMENESS OF THE DELIVERANCE CORRESPONDS TO THE MESSINESS AND HOPELESSNESS OF THE PIT
A. The Messiness and Hopelessness of the Pit — 5 Images
“Water encompassed me to the point of death”
“The great deep engulfed me.
“Weeds were wrapped around my head.”
“I descended to the roots of the mountains.”.
“The earth with its bars was around me forever,”
B. The Awesomeness of the Deliverance
“But Thou has brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.”
IV. (:7-9) REPENTANCE SPARKS RENEWED COMMITMENT AND THANKSGIVING
A. Turning Back to the Lord with his Last Gasp
“While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer came to Thee, into Thy holy temple.”
B. Specific Repentance to Return to Faithfulness
“Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness”
Ryrie: Jonah includes himself among those who forsake God’s faithfulness for lies.
C. Renewed Commitment
1. Worship from a Heart of Thanksgiving
“But I will sacrifice to Thee with the voice of thanksgiving.”
Copeland: It is interesting to note that his prayer is more of a THANKSGIVING, than a petition
2. Service in the context of Faithfulness
“That which I have vowed I will pay.”
3. Dependence Upon God’s Grace and Mercy
“Salvation is from the Lord.”
Note: But we can tell from the events of Chapter 4 and Jonah’s attitude there that he had not fully repented or grasped the lessons yet that the Lord had for him.
V. (:10) SOVEREIGN DELIVERANCE BRINGS US TO THE PLACE OF SAFETY AND RENEWED SERVICE
A. The Sovereign Lord Accomplishes His Purposes
“The Lord commanded the fish”
B. The Process of Restoration Can be Painful and Messy
“and it vomited Jonah up”
C. The Place of Safety Brings Opportunity for Renewed Service
“onto the dry land”
Now it is time to obediently answer the call of God and go minister to Nineveh.