Jonah Episode 9

Beth's Notes

1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:1-5 (NIV)
8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs. 9But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”  10 And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.  Jonah 2:8-10 (NIV)

Our short passage today begins with my favorite verse in all of Jonah – Verse Eight: 8 “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”  Does that not ring so true in our day and age as we see it fleshed out over and over in the world and sadly often in our own lives as well?  It serves as a great red flag warning to us does it not.  Make no mistake about it, there is no grace in idolatry, neither is there sufficiency, peace, abiding joy or happiness.  All of these come up terribly wanting when it comes to idols of our own choosing.  It’s like seeking to fill our bellies with dirt.  Why would we want the paste gem when we can so readily have the diamond?  This is why God warns us against it in so much of Scripture.  Remember, remember, remember, God wants our wholehearted devotion and willing minds for our own good not to mention for His glory.  Jonah had already seen the plight of the sailors as they fervently cried out to their gods with no response.  No matter how much they cried out nothing changed – neither their circumstances nor their hearts in their circumstances.  Idols simply can’t do that. 

It so reminds me of the dramatic feud between the prophets of the gods of Asherah and Baal against Elijah the Prophet of the One True God in the Mount Carmel experience in 1 Kings Chapter 18.  There had been a drought in the land according to the Word of God through the Prophet Elijah for three long years.  Things were desperate and God had gotten the Israelites attention through the harrowing circumstance of famine.  Elijah calls for King Ahab to meet him on top of Mount Carmel and to bring with him the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah and they were going to have a showdown.  And quite a showdown it was!  We pick it up in I Kings 18:20-39:

20 So King Ahab sent word throughout all Israel and assembled the prophets on Mount Carmel. 21 Elijah went before the people and said, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”  But the people said nothing. 22 Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. 23 Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. 24 Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire--he is God.”  Then all the people said, “What you say is good.”  25 Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” 26 So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “O Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. 27 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” 28 So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. 29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.  30 Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come here to me.” They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which was in ruins. 31 Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” 32 With the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. 33 He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.”  34 “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again.  “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. 35 The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. 36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”  38 Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The LORD--he is God! The LORD--he is God!”  1 Kings 18:20-39 (NIV)
I guess they did!  The Israelites are no different from us – so easily distracted, consumed and in love with the lower objects of nature rather than the Creator of it all.  How foolish man can be!

All through the Old and New Testaments God confronts His people against idolatry.  It is, as you know, blatantly going against the first commandment.  Worshipping idols of our own choosing demonstrates our lack of faith in the One True God.  In Exodus 20:2-3 it states:

2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:2-3 (NIV)

Jesus echoes this in Matthew 22:34-40:

34 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. 35 One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 6 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV)

To be sure, idolatry is not man’s friend.  There is warning after warning against it in Scripture and left to our own devices, mankind always appears to spiral down to it unless we vigilantly guard against it.  Remember how insidious sin is.  Jeremiah tells us:

18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes of bread for the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to provoke me to anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame? Jeremiah 7:18-19 (NIV)

Isaiah 40:18-25 also tells us:

18 To whom, then, will you compare God? What image will you compare him to? 19 As for an idol, a craftsman casts it, and a goldsmith overlays it with gold and fashions silver chains for it. 20 A man too poor to present such an offering selects wood that will not rot. He looks for a skilled craftsman to set up an idol that will not topple. 21 Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? 22 He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. 23 He brings princes to naught and reduces the rulers of this world to nothing. 24 No sooner are they planted, no sooner are they sown, no sooner do they take root in the ground, than he blows on them and they wither, and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. 25 “To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?” says the Holy One.  Isaiah 40:18-25 (NIV)

And, of course, we can make idols out of anything from money, to fame, to popularity, to perfectionism, to hoarding, to whatever the mind can conceive. 

“We easily fall into idolatry, for we are inclined to it by nature; and coming to us by inheritance, it seems pleasant.”  Martin Luther

“There is nothing so abominable in the eyes of God and of men as idolatry.”  Blaise Pascal

“Scripture permits us to broaden the definition of idolatry so that includes anything on which we set our affections and indulge as an excessive and sinful attachment.  Therefore, the idols that we can see are certainly not the whole problem.  Idolatry includes anything we worship:  the lust for pleasure, respect, love, power, control, or freedom from pain.  Futhermore, the problem is not outside of us…. the problem is in us…. the heart’s instinctive plotting in this idol construction is amazing.  We know we are called to imitate God.  This means we are to live for His glory, not our own.  We are to make Him famous, not ourselves…. the purpose of all idolatry is to manipulate the idol for our own benefit…. but (we) need the power of God, the message of Christ crucified and risen.  Other therapies can offer sobriety, but only this good news is powerful enough to liberate the soul.”  Ed Welch

Only in Jesus is there trued liberation of the soul – true freedom.  Jesus came to set us free and as Paul states we are not to be yoked to slavery again in Galatians 5:1:

1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

In the New Testament we see the futility of idolatry or having a divided heart spoken against as well.  In Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells us:

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”  Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

BTW, the word translated “money” in the above verse is from the Greek word “Mamonas” which is a comprehensive word for every kind of valuable or material good.  It is not just money as we tend to think of it.  Remember as well, it is not the “thing” that is necessarily bad that we are speaking of here, it is the affection of our hearts towards that thing.  We will serve what we love the greatest.  Jesus tells us our affections can get disordered.  In Luke 12:13-21 He states:

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”  14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”  16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.’”  20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’  21 “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:13-21 (NIV)

This is not condemning being prepared, rather it is condemning greed.  Jesus here is shunning not being openhanded toward others even in our plenty.  We are to use whatever He gives us to bring Him glory not to hoard.  This, too, takes wisdom though.  In helping others, we must know what really helps them!  Sometimes we can go backwards in thinking we are helping when quite frankly we often are simply enabling.  Never give someone more than they have the capacity to appreciate.  And you can tell how much something is appreciated when you see how they handle what you give.  Always seek in prayer how God desires for you to use His time and His resources as they are His and we are held accountable to Him for both.

But I digress.  And now I am REALLY getting ready to digress!  Regarding greed in the gross form of hoarding, I remember when I was a young girl being given a great example of hoarding which unfortunately, I fleshed out – albeit at the time I didn’t know it and I was quite upset!  Every summer my family would go to a very large lodge that my Aunt owned in Fort Walton Beach.  While large, it was an antique (to say the least!!!).  No air conditioning (remember this is summer in the South!), one tiny, tiny bathroom that smelled like Sulfur, only two little bitty bedrooms (which no child would ever get!) and beds everywhere – and I mean everywhere.  It was the place where you stuck to your sheets with sweat because it was so hot, but it was also a place of extraordinary FUN!  With the bay in the huge front yard, rope swings and rockers on the large sweeping porch my cousins and siblings and I had the grandest of times!!  Most days we were given small change to walk to the nearby store for candy.  Being a delayed gratification girl, I would never eat mine but stored it in what I deemed a “goodie bag” in the one drawer I had been given for the entire two-week trip.  My plan was to indulge on the way home (and probably make my siblings jealous!) as there was simply no stopping on the way back!  Also, my candy of choice was chocolate - of course it was!!!  Well you can only imagine what happened to that “goodie sack” of chocolate in 100-degree weather!  It was a blended blob of mess!!  While, of course I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was also a perfect picture of hoarded greed.  Very reminiscent to  the hoarded manna of the Israelites day!     

One of the greatest enemies of hunger for God is not poison girls but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is having a greater desire for the gifts rather than the Giver.  For all the ill that Satan can do, when God describes what keeps us from the banquet table of his love, it is a piece of land, a yoke of oxen, and a wife (Luke 14:18-20). The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but an overabundant desire for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and very hard to cure.  Idolatry is not wanting happiness supremely. Idolatry is seeking to find supreme happiness in anything other than God.  Which, as we have already stated, is futile at best.  (John Piper paraphrase by BHY).

“Whatever a man seeks, honors, or exalts more than God, this is the god of idolatry.” William Ullathorne

It is so interesting to me in that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is not prohibiting our enjoyment of His good gifts rather our priorities of them.  

We find in Matthew 6:33: 

33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

Seek Him first.  Let Him fill your cup – actually He overflows it - so that it spills to others around us in our spheres and we are no longer needy but have something worthwhile to share.  He alone satisfies the hungry soul.  He alone quenches our thirst, our need. He is the Way to Happiness and Holiness, and we don’t want to miss His best for our lives.  Period.

Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 5:19-20:

19 Moreover, when God gives any man wealth and possessions, and enables him to enjoy them, to accept his lot and be happy in his work--this is a gift of God. 20 He seldom reflects on the days of his life, because God keeps him occupied with gladness of heart.  Ecclesiastes 5:19-20 (NIV)

I also think of young Daniel and the environment he and his friends were carried to in Babylon – not too dissimilar to our environment today.  Greg Laurie states:

“Daniel was a spiritual man in spite of the environment he was in. Carried away captive to Babylon, he could have easily fallen into compromise. There in the palace, he literally lived in the lap of luxury. It was a place of rampant idolatry, incredible cruelty, and sexual immorality. Yet in the midst of it all, Daniel remained a righteous man and flourished spiritually.  Sometimes when we are in an environment around Christians all the time, we can put our lives on spiritual cruise control. On the other hand, when we are in a secular environment, it forces us to do one of two things: either blend into the woodwork or stand up and be counted.”   Greg Laurie

Jonah had a strong testimony from his harrowing experience.  His statement concerning the folly of trusting in worthless idols in Verse 8, provides a dark background against which God’s brilliant grace is evident.  No lifeless idol could effect so great a deliverance as the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land and everything in it.  It is also in blatant contrast with those who trusted in lifeless weak idols for their deliverance.  The loyal love, God’s amazing grace, that rushes to the aid of God’s own not only glances back to Jonah’s deliverance but hints at that of the sailors who ended up abandoning their own gods and relying upon Yahweh for help.     

Remember, we can make idols out of anything – our work, our family, our friends, our hobbies, our adoring audiences, our wealth, even our ‘perfect’ children or our wonderful meals or our clean and ordered houses.  It appears we can make “Delilah’s” out of whatever the mind can conceive.  Idols are whatever we tend to hold on to with such a vice grip that we will not let go.  Often, none of these things are bad in and of themselves – it is simply the priority we place on them that’s askew.  If they become our “god’s” it is wrong.  If anything or anybody takes Christ’s rightful position on the throne of our lives it is an idol and must be removed for the King of kings and the Lord of Lords.  Live your life with open hands.  

Worshipping idols takes away from God the affection and obedience that rightfully belongs only to Him and demonstrates a lack of faith in Yahweh.  For any Israelite to trust in idol worship was a violation of the covenant.  Covenant loyalty was a mutual obligation both of God, the initiator of the covenant and of the Israelites to whom the covenant was given.  Accordingly, one who broke the covenant’s first commandment by having other gods had “abandoned” his or her loyalty to Yahweh.  Jonah expressed the availability of God’s abundant grace, His love, His covenant faithfulness to His people, and to warn them of the danger of abandoning that grace when they abandon God.   

Jonah’s idol of intense patriotism was a stumbling block to him.  He was so concerned for the safety and prosperity of his own nation that he refused God’s call to be a messenger of the Truth to Israel’s enemies, the Assyrians.  Jonah was also seeking to protect his own dear reputation.  These desires caused much havoc in his life and he rightfully deems them “worthless”.  God also deems any idols worthless as we discover in Deuteronomy 32:20-21:

19 The LORD saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful. 21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding. 22 For a fire has been kindled by my wrath, one that burns to the realm of death below. It will devour the earth and its harvests and set afire the foundations of the mountains. Deuteronomy 32:19-22 (NIV)

Indeed, God does not look lightly on idol worship.  Guard your heart against it.  

Still in the belly of the fish, and looking back at his time of desperation in the sea in his rear view mirror, Jonah now looks forward in Verse 9 to the coming Temple experience with a song of thanksgiving and praise.  Indeed, while still in the dire circumstance he chooses to sing a sacrifice of praise.  True sacrifices of praise occur when we choose to praise in circumstances that are not of our choosing.  Laura Black, a young Mom and believer in sweet Jesus who succumbed to breast cancer once wrote:

“I cannot understand Him, but I can trust Him.   And so today, when everything physical and emotional in me is completely drained, and there is not a single note of praise in my heart, I choose to praise Him anyway.  Not for what He does, but for Who He is.  When I cannot praise Him out of joy, I will praise Him out of obedience.  And I am learning that when I praise Him out of obedience from the depths of the pit, it is always more meaningful than when I praise Him out of an overflow of my heart from the heights of the mountain.  And because I know His nature, and I know that even when I don’t feel it, He is still a kind, loving, good God, then I know that soon, He will fill my heart with joy once again.  And the praise will flow easily from the depths of my heart.”    Laura Black

Like Jonah, whose circumstances had yet to change, Laura writes during her “belly” experience what is truly a “sacrifice of praise” and she states God rewarded her for it.  And actually, I might add, remembering we are but flesh, He bestows upon us an extra amount of grace for us to endure.  Praising God lifts us as well as puts our hearts in agreement with God’s will for our lives be it ever so hard.  I believe this blesses His holy heart. 

Yet another example of sacrifice of praise in circumstances not of our choosing is found in Kara Tippetts who died March 22 following a 2.5 year battle with breast cancer. She was 38 years old, the wife of a Colorado pastor/church planter, and the mother of four young children ages 3-12. Kara blogged about her journey with cancer on her web site which was appropriately named Mundane Faithfulness. Kara chose that name based on a Martin Luther quote, “What will you do in these days of mundane faithfulness?” Last fall Kara stepped into the national spotlight when she penned a letter to 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, the Oregon young woman who gained notoriety for championing her own assisted suicide. Maynard, in light of her own terminal diagnosis from brain cancer, chose to end her life on her own terms in an effort to avoid undue suffering for both her loved ones and herself. Tippetts, dying of cancer herself, wrote Maynard an open letter which stated unequivocally: your life matters, your story matters, and your suffering matters.”   Donna Evans

“My season of weakness has taught me the joy of receiving, the strength of brokenness, and the importance of looking for God in each moment.”   Kara Tippetts

“We will each of us endure moments, perhaps years, when we are tempted to doubt whether the promises were true after all. Joseph in prison. David in the cave. JESUS IN THE GRAVE. Such moments form the crucible where faith is forged. He cannot lie. He will do what He said.”  Ronnie Collier Stevens

Remember as well, God’s “No’s” to us are always for a greater “Yes”!  We can trust Him!

The Psalmist writes if Psalms 116:17-19:

17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the LORD18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people, 19 in the courts of the house of the LORD-- in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the LORD.   Psalms 116:17-19 (NIV)

Our wills and our praises in difficult circumstances not of our choosing are a fragrant offering and an acceptable sacrifice to God.  Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:2:

1 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

And the writer of Hebrews also adds in Hebrews 13:15-16:

15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise--the fruit of lips that confess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.  Hebrews 13:15-16 (NIV)

Jonah believes he will once more see the Temple and carry out his obligations to God.  He will sing a song of thanksgiving at a special thanksgiving ceremony.  He will recount all that God has done to deliver him and will testify about God’s goodness to him.  This is Jonah’s promise to God when he sees the Temple again.  Jonah had experience God’s grace in a way that melted his rebellion, soothed his pain and sweetened his sadness.  

Having reviewed all this, Jonah can only shout from the inside of the great fish’s stomach: “Salvation comes from the Lord”.  The prophet was well aware that deliverance always has its ultimate source in God.  This is Jonah’s personal confession.  God had saved him.  Standing at death’s door, he cried for God’s help and found God present and approachable – as He always is when we draw near or even scream out “Help!” or “Lord, save me!”  Peter demonstrated this for us as he found himself rapidly sinking in the waters when he took his eyes off the Lord and placed them on to the waves as we discover in Matthew 14:25-33:

25 During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It's a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. 27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 29 “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”   31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”   Matthew 14:25-33 (NIV)

This always reminds me of Hebrews 12:1-3 which tells us to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus:

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

The Lord is precious and loving to His own.  No matter how dark life may seem, do not give up, pray to the Lord for help.  God is always our greatest Source of help at all times and particularly when despair invades life like an ominous black cloud.

Jonah prayed to God, thanking Him in advance for what He was going to do.  He showed his trust in the Lord when all human objects of trust had failed him.  God had truly saved the Prophet Jonah and Jonah wanted everyone to know about it.  He could not save himself and nobody on earth could have saved him either, but the Lord could do it, for “salvation is of the Lord”.  Jonah is quoting from Psalms 3:8 and 37:39:

8 From the LORD comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people. Selah   Psalms 3:8 (NIV)

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.  40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.  Psalms 37:39-40 (NIV)

That salvation is from the Lord is the central declaration of the Book of Jonah.  It is also the central theme of the Bible.  How very wise for Jonah to have memorized the Word of God.  One never knows when one is going to end up in the proverbial “belly of the whale” and most often without the Scriptures in hand.  That’s why it is so important to have it stored safely in your heart.  Being able to quote the Scriptures, especially the Book of Psalms, gave our protagonist light in the darkness and hope in his desperate and seemingly hopeless situation.

God now speaks to the great fish as clearly as he had spoken to Jonah.  The fish served as God’s messenger in a way comparable to a Prophet serving as God’s messenger.  The fish did not reply he simply deposited Jonah on to dry land.  What a way for a distinguished Prophet to arrive on shore amidst the vomit of a great fish!  In Chapter One the sailors treated Jonah like dangerous cargo to be thrown overboard, and now he is treated like a foreign substance to be disgorged from the fish’s body.  He must have given that fish some serious indigestion!  But when Jonah ceased to be an obedient Prophet, he cheapened himself becoming the only one to blame in this situation.  We can be certain that he was duly humbled as he once again stood on dry ground albeit all covered with the great fish’s dinner from last night!

People like Jonah who see their prayers answered look back at their experience ad testify that God has given them salvation.  The Prophet Isaiah writes in Isaiah 25:9:

9 In that day they will say, “Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”   Isaiah 25:9 (NIV)

They know that God alone can bring deliverance because human help is in vain yet how so very often, we forget.  God Himself states in Hosea 13:4:
4 “But I am the LORD your God, [who brought you] out of Egypt.  You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me. 5 I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat. 6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.  Hosea 13:4-6 (NIV)

And again Hosea tells us in Hosea 14:3-4:

3 “Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount war-horses. We will never again say ‘Our gods’ to what our own hands have made, for in you the fatherless find compassion.”  4 “I will heal their waywardness and love them freely, for my anger has turned away from them.   Hosea 14:3-4 (NIV)

God expects the person being delivered to trust him and to repent of his sins.  Again, the Prophet Isaiah writes what God states in Isaiah 30:15:

15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.”   Isaiah 30:15 (NIV)

Jonah joined a long line of his ancestors in seeking God in His temple and lamenting, asking Him for salvation. He also joined a long line of people who had experienced God’s deliverance and could rightly proclaim, “Salvation come from the Lord”.

These are Beth’s personal notes, due to this fact sources are not often stated.

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