Jonah 2:1-9: Jonah’s desperate prayer for rescue

Posted: August 10, 2012 in Devotions, Jonah, Uncategorized

1-9 Then Jonah prayed to his God from the belly of the fish. He prayed:

   “In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to God.

   He answered me.

From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!’

   You heard my cry.

You threw me into ocean’s depths,

   into a watery grave,

With ocean waves, ocean breakers

   crashing over me.

I said, ‘I’ve been thrown away,

   thrown out, out of your sight.

I’ll never again lay eyes

   on your Holy Temple.’

Ocean gripped me by the throat.

   The ancient Abyss grabbed me and held tight.

My head was all tangled in seaweed

   at the bottom of the sea where the mountains take root.

I was as far down as a body can go,

   and the gates were slamming shut behind me forever—

Yet you pulled me up from that grave alive,

   O God, my God!

When my life was slipping away,

   I remembered God,

And my prayer got through to you,

   made it all the way to your Holy Temple.

Those who worship hollow gods, god-frauds,

   walk away from their only true love.

But I’m worshiping you, God,

   calling out in thanksgiving!

And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!

   Salvation belongs to God!” (The Message)

It’s odd sometimes in scripture to read another person’s prayer.  It’s kind of like hearing half of a cell phone conversation.

On one end of the call, we have Jonah, the reluctant prophet.  God sends Jonah on an important mission to some people God loves and Jonah decides to go in the opposite direction.  God might want to save those in Nineveh, but Jonah would rather that they perish (They aren’t exactly best friends of Jonah’s people).  Jonah’s on a boat bound for Tarshish when the storm hits and the sailors throw him overboard.  Then Jonah gets a ride in the ancient world’s first submarine.  He’s inside the belly of a great fish.

It’s easy to get why Jonah prays the way that he prays.  Jonah has messed up big time. His prayer hits on a lot of key areas:

  • His situation:  Jonah’s in trouble and he’s been thrown overboard. He’s been left to die in the water and God has rescued him even in the situation that Jonah created himself.
  • His fears: Jonah feels that he’s disconnected from God and that he’ll never have the chance to see the temple again. Jonah compares his predicament to being in a grave.  Everything is closing in and Jonah feels as far removed from God as he’s ever been.
  • God’s rescue: When it seemed as if there was no way out of the mess that Jonah had created, God stepped in and pulled him back up again.
  • Worship:  Jonah is thankful for what God has done to save his life.

Maybe that’s where Jonah’s prayer speaks to us.  We all find ourselves in places where we do things that we know God would not want us to do.  We create the situation on our own and we can live in fear of where we are and what we’ve done.  God has the ability to rescue us even in our predicaments.  And when we realize how God has rescued us, it leads us to giving thanks to the God who supplies.

Where do you feel lost right now in your life?  Where are you needing rescue?  Maybe there’s the opportunity for us to pray to the God who loves his children.

Prayer: Dear God, in our times of trouble and distress, help us to seek you.  You reach your hand out to rescue us from the situations we create for ourselves.  Thank you God for your amazing love.  In Jesus name, Amen.

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