Jonah 2: 1 “From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God.
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN “INSIDE THE FISH?” Maybe you have. Maybe you are. You just don’t realize it. For Jonah, it was an actual, literal, physical experience. But for us it is a spiritual condition.
(1) “Inside the fish” is a transitional time in our lives. It’s an in-between place in our lives. It’s time and a place in our lives when we’re not running away or rebelling anymore. We’re no longer were we used to be but we’re not where the Lord wants us to be either. There’s a lot more work to be done inside the fish.
(2) Inside the fish is a place of confinement. The Lord has us securely locked in and we can’t get ourselves out. We can’t change or control anything when we’re inside the fish.
(3) Ironically, inside the fish can actually be a relatively calm time in our lives. “The raging sea grew calm” when Jonah got swallowed by the fish. But we can’t confuse calmness with peace. They’re not the same.
Things may be calm for us, but they’re far from peaceful inside the fish. There may not be any fierce storms in our lives, but the sun isn’t shining yet either. Things may have quieted down for us, but there’s still very little joy in our hearts right now. The future is still very much up in the air.
(4) A lot of intense prayer goes on inside the fish.
Jonah 2:2 ‘In my distress I called to the Lod and He answered me. From the depths of the grave, I called for help and you listened to my cry.’”
“From the depths of the grave” Jonah called to the Lord and the Lord answered him.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lod will be saved.” (Acts 2:21) Jonah cried out to the Lord and he was saved. The Lord provided the fish, but Jonah asked to be swallowed.
(5) Inside the fish is a time of reflection and regret.
Jonah 2: 3-4a “You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight.’”
“I have been banished from your sight.” I can’t sink any lower. Things can’t get any worse.
(6) It’s also a time of anticipation and hope.
Jonah 2:4b “Yet I will again look toward your holy Temple.”
I believe the Lord still loves me. He still hears my prayers. I know I won’t be in here forever. It’s not going to end like this. I will look again toward His holy temple.
(7) Being inside the fish is also a time of awareness and appreciation.
Jonah 2: 5-6 “The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God.”
engulfing waters… seaweed… wrapped around my head… To the roots of the mountains I sank down.” I finally realize how close I came to destroying my life completely. Lord, I’m still alive because “you brought my life up from the pit.”.
Jonah 2:7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose toward your holy Tempe.”
When Jonah realized how desperate and helpless he was, he prayed. He remembered the Lord. His prayer rose to the Lord’s holy Temple. Jonah hadn’t been praying like that since he started running away from the Lord. He was too stubborn to pray; too proud to pray; too guilty to pray. But as his life was coming to an end, he remembered the Lord. Jonah cried out for the Lord to save him.
(8) We’re inside the fish, when the Lord takes away something He never wanted us to have or gotten us out of a place we never should have been in the first place.
(9) When we’re inside the fish, the one thing we have is time. We have lots of time. In fact, we have too much time. All we have is time. Time seems to be standing still when we’re inside the fish. For Jonah, it was only three days. But when it’s happening to us, it can seem like an eternity. It’s always just a brief, temporary moment in proportion to the total length of our lives, but it seems like it’s never going to end.
Lord willing, we’ll be back to learn from Jonah again next Tuesday. Hope you’ll be back and invite a friend to get in God’s Word with Pastor Buj.