Debra Isenbletter, PastorSpringfield, Missouri
Jonah Chapter 2 Introduction: Chapter 2 is unique, it is very personal. Jonah is the subject. In chapter 1 Jonah says very little and only when called upon to speak. In chapter 2 Jonah pours out his heart to God. We see his suffering, his submission and his salvation. The key verse is: “Salvation is of the Lord.” (v9). Jonah is not just seeing his own salvation but his cry also points to Nineveh’s salvation and our salvation. Salvation that is open to all who call upon the name of the Lord.
Jonah’s experience and prayer is a type of Jesus and of Israel. He is a type of Jesus in death and resurrection, and Jesus points this out in the New Testament. In contrast to Jonah, Jesus was an obedient servant and he suffered judgment not for his disobedience but because he took the place of disobedient man. The prayer of Jonah concerns his suffering and it is also a personal picture of the suffering of our Savior. Jonah is also a type of Israel, especially the remnant, in their suffering. The waters and the fish picture death and the grave in connection to Jesus. The waters can also picture the Gentiles nations and the fish God’s provision in preserving and protecting them in the midst of the nations. The cry for deliverance by Jonah will be the cry for deliverance by the remnant.
1. Jonah’s Prayer (2:1-9)
2. The Lord’s Answer (2:10)
Debra Isenbletter (Outline):
1. Jonah’s Submission (v1-9)
2. Jonah’s Salvation (v10)
John Phillips: (Outline)—The Word with God (1:17-2:10)
Jonah’s Desperate Prayer (2:1-8)
1. What Jonah Reaped (2:1-6)
2. What Jonah Remembered (2:7)
3. What Jonah Realized (2:8)
Jonah’s Dying Promise (2:9-10)
1. His Surrender (2:9)
2. His Salvation (2:10)
Warren Wiersbe: (Outline)—God’s Mercy toward Jonah (2:1-10)
1. He hears his prayer (2:1-2)
2. He disciplines him (2:3)
3. He honors his faith (2:4-7)
4. He accepts his confession (2:8-9)
5. He restores his ministry (2:10)
Jonah 2:1: “Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly,”
Matthew Henry makes four observations concerning chapter 2 of Jonah. They are: 1. When he prayed; 2. Where he prayed; 3. To Whom he prayed; and 4. What he prayed. This reminds me of the 5 W’s of Journalism: Who, What, When, Where and Why. In this chapter all of these questions are answered. Who Jonah prayed to: The Lord. When Jonah prayed: After he was swallowed by the great fish. Where Jonah prayed: In the belly of the great fish. Why Jonah prayed: To be delivered. The Lord would have us learn from Jonah and to see deeper truths in his experience. There is the literal answer and there is the spiritual answer. There is the present answer and there is the future answer. We see Jonah. We see Jesus. We see ourselves. We see Israel. All the Word of God is profitable and instructive to us.
We see When Jonah prayed. “Then Jonah prayed…” When is “Then,” and it is not immediately, it is not right away. Jonah did not pray immediately but when he did pray, his answer was immediate because as soon as he finished, he was delivered. He did not pray when he was thrown overboard or when the fish swallowed him. He did not pray until after “3 days and 3 nights,” that means he was silent the first day, the second and the third day. But when he prayed, he really prayed and what a prayer! It does not matter that he waited and we find no criticism of Jonah for waiting. The Lord just waited patiently for him to pray and he waits just as patiently for us to pray.
We do not know why Jonah waited so long to pray. He certainly expected death and he obviously accepted death. He may have thought that he deserved to die. He may not have realized how much time went by. He may have thought that death would free him from his responsibility as a prophet. We do not know. The important thing is that he did pray. The Lord brought Jonah to the brink of death. He would see the reality of death and in the face of death would see the reality of grace. Though there was a delay, the Lord used that delay. He used it to teach Jonah and He used it to reach Jonah. He used it to fulfill a prophesy concerning His Son. This is one of those instances where we see prophecy with a present fulfillment and a future fulfillment. Just as it took “3 days and 3 nights” for Jonah to be delivered, it would take the same for Jesus to be delivered. Jesus spoke of this. (Matthew 12:40).
Jonah “prayed” and this word means “to entreat, to make supplication.” This is why I believe this prayer can be divided into Supplication and Salvation. It is so simple. We ask and the Lord delivers us. Jonah may have hesitated or may have doubted but when the time came he knew how to pray, he knew when to pray and he knew what to pray. He just had to be brought to a place of utter need and that need magnified the Lord’s power and glorified Him. That is what the resurrection of Jesus did, it magnified and glorified our Heavenly Father, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He used unbelievable power to deliver His Son and His Son exercised unbelievable faith. That same power is available to us today and we can exercise the same faith. I want to emphasize that though it took a while for Jonah to pray, God accepted his prayer. We all come to a place where we cry out in our need. For some, it takes a lot to bring this cry from their hearts. For others, it takes little, they cry out immediately. Both cries are based on faith and the Lord hears each cry.
We see Who Jonah prayed to: “unto the Lord his God.” Jonah knew, despite his disobedience, he still had a relationship with his Lord and his God. “Lord” is (Jehovah) who was “the self-existent, eternal one, who reveals himself;” Who had revealed Himself to Jonah though judgment and Who would reveal Himself through mercy and grace. “God” (Elohim) is the “strong, mighty one”; there He will reveal His strength and might to Jonah. The “Lord his God” would not let him go or let him die.
We see Where Jonah was when he prayed: “out of the fish’s belly.” This was a place he could not escape from. It was a place of darkness, a place of death, a place of confinement, a place of suffering and yet it was a place of preservation. Jonah prayed from that place a prayer of faith because that place had also become a place of reflection, a place of examination and a place of truth. A truth about himself. A truth about his faith. A truth about his calling. Jonah prayed “out of” the fish’s belly and faith brought him “out of” that terrible place. Faith brings us “out of” and “into” a glorious place and it is the bitter experiences, the suffering that helps us to see that place. Out of darkness, into light. Out of death into life. Out of disobedience into obedience. Out of weakness into strength. Out of sin into righteousness. Out of law into grace. Jonah came “out of” that place a different man, though he still had much to learn.
To be continued