Jonah

Jonah gets a bad rap.

The book of Jonah begins with him running away from God and ends with him pouting and complaining about his dead plant. Not the most flattering stuff. But in the middle of the book, Jonah prays one of the most amazing prayers in all of Scripture. I just want to set it before you and as you read it, keep this one thing at the fore front of your mind:

Jonah prays this prayer from inside the belly of a huge fish somewhere in Mediterranean Sea:

1 Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying,

“I called out to the LORD, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
and you heard my voice.
3 For you cast me into the deep,
into the heart of the seas,
and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
passed over me.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
O LORD my God.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

This sort of prayer is only possible when the person praying has set their hope in the true and lasting salvation of the Lord. Jonah did not know of Jesus, but we can pray this very same prayer in the midst of all of life’s difficulties, for Jesus offers a salvation that goes far deeper and higher and wider than our present circumstances. It is eternal and lasting and sweet enough to cover the bitterest tasting suffering that this life brings.

In Christ, we have a clearer picture than even Jonah did about what that last line really means: “Salvation belongs to the Lord!” Hold on to that salvation.

It Does Not Fail.

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