“But you, O LORD my God, brought me back from the depths alive.” Jonah 2:6 (B)
The consequence of Jonah’s sin of disobedience was very severe. For all of us, it is tough even to fathom Jonah’s crisis experience. The sailors had to throw him into the depths of the sea to save their lives. He understood it was his sin that caused the severe and violent storm. He suggested to throw him into the sea to get calm from dangerous storms. He went down into the sea. Then from there, he ended up in the stomach of a big and huge fish. Jonah 1:17 says, “Now the LORD prepared a huge fish to swallow Jonah.”
Someone asked me, do you believe this incident? Friends, I believe it with all of my heart. This is not a fairy tale or a human-made story. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, validated this incident and it is recorded in Matthew 12:39-41. Moreover, Dagon, a fish god worship was common at that time in the Mediterranean area. Dagon is mentioned many times in the Old Testament. What do you think the reason for the miraculous repentance of Ninevah when Jonah proclaimed, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.”? The unusual appearance of a man omitted by a great fish on the beach got the attention of the people, and the news even came to the attention of the king. He covered himself in the sackcloth and sat down in the dust. He announced mandatory fasting in the whole country to repent.
You see, even Jonah, a prophet of God can disobey God. However, God teaches us some lessons through this incident. The Lord does not abandon His people in the midst of their crisis experiences. He is there at the bottom of the sea and even in the belly of the fish. More than that, God can even use the disobedience of Jonah to accomplish His divine purpose. The appearance of a bleached white man due to digestive acids inside the stomach of the great fish and people who watched fish attempting to omit him on the beach all contributed to the big roar in the city to get the attention of the people and king. Praise God!
“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?” Romans 11:33-34.
Now listen to how Jonah prayed from the depths of the sea. Carefully look or read all the words came out of him in this hopeless situation.
“In my distress, O LORD, I called to you… From the deep in the world of the dead, I cried for help, and you heard me. You threw me into the depths, to the very bottom of the sea, where the waters were all around me, and all your mighty waves rolled over me. I thought I had been banished from your presence and would never see your holy Temple again. The water came over me and choked me; the sea covered me completely, and seaweed wrapped around my head. I went down to the very roots of the mountains, into the land whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O LORD my God, brought me back from the depths alive. When I felt my life slipping away, then, O LORD, I prayed to you, and in your holy Temple, you heard me. Those who worship worthless idols have abandoned their loyalty to you.
But I will sing praises to you; I will offer you sacrifice and do what I have promised. Salvation comes from the LORD!” Jonah 2:1-9.
Jonah’s crisis was a unique one. The fear and terror he experienced in the depth of the sea and then in the belly of such a huge fish is often unimaginable for all of us. Our crisis would also be a unique one, out of which God accomplishes His purpose in His unique way, and our faith gets ignited and energized. When Jonah called upon the Lord in prayer for help and deliverance from the bottom of the sea, the LORD heard his prayer in His holy temple up in heaven. The Lord commanded the fish to spit Jonah up immediately on the beach. It did obey God! You see, even sea creatures, animals and unexpected people would extend their help when God commands.
Beloved, I do not know what unique crisis you are going facing now. Most probably yours won’t be horrible like Jonah’s, I presume. At least you are not in the depths of the sea and stomach of a huge fish. However, whatever may it be I can point in the right direction for help. Bible promises if you pray to the Father in heaven in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, the only savior of the whole world, He will answer your prayer. Jesus also said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. (John 16:23). When you pray in the name of Jesus Christ, there is an alarm goes off in heaven and God listens. You will have a testimony to share with others as Jonah had. Do not be ashamed to share your unique testimony. Many would be encouraged in their trials and problems by hearing your unique and divinely designed testimony. Your unique test results in testimony and brings glory to the Lord.