Debra Isenbletter - Pastor, Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
Jonah 2:10: “And the Lord spake unto the fish and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”
In the previous verse, Jonah cried: “Salvation is of the Lord” and in this verse we see the answer and it is immediate! Jonah is saved! The Lord was waiting for Jonah to come to the place where he understood that only HE could save him, that it had to be on HIS terms, by HIS means and that all Jonah needed to do was receive and accept HIS salvation. Jonah would find it both a wonder and a mystery. This is what we experience when we accept that “Salvation is of the Lord,” and see that it is found in Jesus Christ. We simply believe and receive what is offered to all who cry out in faith.
The Command: “And the Lord spake unto the fish” or “Then the Lord commanded the fish.” (Amplified/New American Standard). The Lord’s salvation begins with a command, given to the fish that swallowed Jonah. The One who gives the command is the “Lord” (Jehovah), the self-existent One who reveals Himself. How does He reveal Himself? He reveals Himself as the God of Creation and as the God of Salvation. He reveals Himself in a mighty, miraculous way. He reveals Himself through His Word, through His Authority. He “spoke,” which means “to commune, to charge, to command.” The Lord “communed with the great fish, is that not amazing? He gave the fish a command, He did not give the fish a choice and once that command was given, the fish obeyed. It was an irresistible, indisputable, irrefutable command. It is the command of the Creator to His Creation. We see the same power of that command in the words, “God said” is used 10 times in Genesis 1. Every time “God said” something, it happened exactly as God said. The Lord began with a command to the great fish to swallow Jonah and ended with a command to the great fish to let Jonah go. He could do this because that fish was His creation. He had the power to control everything it did. Whether it is His authority over the wind or the sea or the fish in the sea, He has the authority because He created all these things.
After the Command, we see the Deliverance: “and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” I do not know what type of deliverance Jonah was expecting but I do not think it was this. That deliverance shows that whatever way the Lord chooses to deliver it will always be on His terms and by His means. It is an amazing deliverance. This is a type of Resurrection. The fish was the place of Jonah’s confinement, and chastisement. It was also a place of Jonah’s preservation, a place where Jonah could exercise faith and wait for deliverance. The fish is a type of the grave in its confinement and the vomiting of Jonah from the fish is a type of resurrection from the grave. Jonah’s resurrection is a type of Jesus’ resurrection.
In the word “vomited out” we see the force with which Jonah is expelled from the fish. It was not an easy experience. The fish “vomited” or “spewed out” Jonah. Once the command to release Jonah was given, the fish could not resist that command. Jonah was released. The fish was forced to do this by the power of God. Removing Jonah from the fish was not easy, deliverance from the grave is not easy. Psalm 18 describes the behind-the-scenes battle that took place in order for resurrection to take place. There was resistance. There was a battle. God fought that battle and the earth trembled and shook. (Psa.18-6-7; 16-17).
We see that same trembling of the earth in the earthquake in the Gospels, where the veil in the temple was rent and the graves were opened and many of the Old Testament saints were raised when Jesus rose. (Mat.27:51-53). We see that same trembling of the earth, that great earthquake, when the stone was rolled away by the angel from the grave of Jesus (Mat.28:2). Once the command was given to release Jesus from the grave Jesus was set free. In the New Testament we see the resurrection but not the battle that took place, not the force that was used by God to bring up His Son out of the grave (out of the belly of the fish). The Apostle Paul gives us a hint of the power that was exercised in bringing up Jesus from the grave when he compares that power to the power God used in creation. Paul calls it “the exceeding greatness of his power,” he calls it “the working of his mighty power” (Eph.1:19).
After Jonah is brought out of the great fish, he stands “upon dry ground.” For Jonah, we do not know where this “dry ground” was. It could have been the coast of Nineveh. Wherever it was, it was the place of God’s choosing. In type where does Jonah stand? Jonah stands on resurrection ground. This is where Jesus stands. This is where we stand. When God delivers He sets those He delivers on dry ground, it is high ground, it is heavenly ground.
When Israel walked through the Red Sea, and they did so on dry ground (Exo.14:16,22). When Israel walked through the Jordan River, they crossed over on dry ground (Josh.3:17). This dry ground is high ground. It is the “high places” that He sets our feet upon and we are able to walk in those places with “hinds’ feet” (Psa.18:32-33) because we walk in the strength He gives us. We are walking in the power of resurrection life, Christ Life, the New Creation Life.
We have been brought out of and into something better. We have been brought “out of a horrible pit; out of the miry clay” and our feet have been “set upon a rock” (Psal.40:1-2). That Rock we stand upon is Christ Jesus. When He was brought out, we were brought out. When Jonah was brought out, he pointed forward to Jesus in His resurrection. Jesus said that this was the only sign he would give, the sign of Jonah. (Mat.12:38-40). Just as God delivered Jonah, He delivered Jesus. (Act.10:40). We have been brought out of “the power of darkness” into light, into the “kingdom of his dear Son” (Col.1:13). That is the “high ground” that we stand upon. The Lord chooses the place, it is a wonderful place, it is a place to serve him. It is a large place (Psa.18:19). It is a victorious place (Rom.6:9). It is a heavenly place (Eph.1:20).
Jonah is delivered from two things, from the sea and from the fish. The sea represents death and the fish represents the grave. The sea is still there, the fish is still alive. Both death and the grave are still with us, but no longer have power over us. We are risen in Christ. The resurrection of Jesus is the basis for our new life and our victory in that new life. (Rom.6:9-11). We stand on resurrection ground. Praise the Lord!