Jonah Study: Chapter Two
Read Jonah Chapter Two
Jonah cried out from the belly of the fish, which he called Sheol. Sheol referred to the grave or land of the dead. He also referenced death when he said “...[sinking] to the foundations of the mountains; the earth with its prison bars closed behind me forever” (Verse 6). This refers to earth taking our physical bodies after we die.
We read this as if we know Jonah was alive the entire time. However, we can’t be sure if Jonah was alive for three days inside of the fish, or if he died and was raised from the dead three days later, which would be symbolic of Jesus' resurrection.
From inside the fish, Jonah calls out to God and offers a prayer of repentance. In his prayer, he acknowledged the tools that God used to turn him away from his sin. These tools were the breakers and billows, which were the waves and the storm.
After he repented for disobeying God, Jonah vowed to offer an animal sacrifice. This type of sacrifice was a tradition religious people upheld to make amends with God after sinning. We no longer have to offer a sacrifice like this for our sin because Jesus was and is the sacrifice for our sin.
Regardless of where we are in life or how far gone we feel, we are never alone. God is always with us. Jonah blatantly ignored God’s call to “get up and go” preach to a nation who was about to be destroyed. Even though Jonah was being disobedient, he knew that God was full of mercy and grace, and He called upon God in distress from the inside of a fish. Thankfully, God doesn’t hold our disobedience against us when we turn and repent. Jonah shows us this by saying “yet I will look once more on Your Holy Temple… I will sacrifice to You with a voice of thanksgiving. I will fulfill what I have vowed. Salvation is from the Lord.”
How often do we feel blessed on our own when life is comfortable? Then at the first sign of discomfort or disaster, we begin frantically waving our hands, yelling, and sending smoke signals to God asking for a blessing because it’s emergent to us.
Our culture preaches comfort and calls us to claim we are #blessed. But we are not truly blessed until we accept Jesus and find our peace and joy in Him, and not the comfortable, material things we cling to here.
As Christians, we know that “It is finished” (John 19:30). Meaning regardless of any circumstance, we have abundant and unending grace on our side. When God looks at us, He sees Jesus. Thank, God!
In order to claim our blessing though, we need to be willing to get our hands dirty, put in the work that God calls us to, and go to the hard places because that is where God meets us. He meets us in the hard, in the messy, and in the everyday. He meets us in our weakness. He meets us in the fish bellies.
Reflect and journal your answers and responses.
Can you look back at a time in your life and see where God has used something specifically to redirect you?
What areas of your life are more influenced by culture rather than Jesus?
Can you see the blessing of Jesus and His sacrifice in your life? Can others see the blessing of Jesus through your life?
How can you share Jesus with others around you?
Choose at least one challenge to complete this week.
If you can think of an area of your life that you're not proud of, carry guilt over, or feel may have misrepresented you and/or Christianity, ask God for forgiveness, and lay it down for good.
Pray daily for opportunity to share Jesus with someone in your life.
Summarize or journal how God is using Jonah's story to connect with you.
Lord, Thank you so much for never abandoning us – even when we abandon You. Father, forgive us for the areas in our lives where we’ve turned and ran towards Tarshish or something similar, instead of towards You and Your people and plans.
Let our faith be bigger than our fear as we move forward this week. We ask for opportunities to do that; we ask for opportunities to show up for You. Let your Spirit lead our hearts to those who need Your salvation that we are so freely given and accept. As we speak to those around us in our own mission fields, Lord, let Your words be ours, and let our actions witness to You. Thank you for not giving up on us, God, and thank you for the fish bellies You use to sanctify us.
In Your gracious and loving name, Amen.
“I don’t say this out of need, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content — whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:11-13 HCSB
“Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 HCSB
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for His faithful love and His wonderful works for all humanity.”
Psalms 107:8 HCSB
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31 NIV