Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Prophet overboard - Jonah story 2

"First leap of faith!!?"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Digital Painting - Corel Painter

Jonah 1:12-17

The lot had fallen on Jonah.  The men in the ship knew he was the one who messed up and brought on the storm.  So they asked him what to do.
12 And he said to them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me."
Jonah probably thought it would be better to be thrown into the sea than be tortured by the Assyrians.  So he told the men to throw him overboard.  He was sure it was all over for him now... curtains, the end.  He also confessed that he had sinned.

13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to return to land, but they could not, for the sea continued to grow more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they cried out to the Lord and said, "We pray, O Lord, please do not let us perish for this man's life, and do not charge us with innocent blood; for You, O Lord, have done as it pleased You." 15 So they picked up Jonah and threw him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice to the Lord and took vows.
It's pretty cool the men worked hard to try and save Jonah.  They finally gave up and turned to God.  I know how that is.  Sometimes I'll try anything before I simply pray.  I love how even though Jonah ran, God was still able to use him.  The men believed in God after they saw the miracle.  It must've made Him smile : )

Here's how God worked it out...
17 Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
I'm pretty sure this isn't what Jonah expected.  God can bring about His purposes in any situation. Nothing is impossible for Him.  He can use anyone.  And Jonah got to go on the first living submarine ride : )

Reminds me of this verse:
A man's heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.
Proverbs 16:9

So Jonah did what I'd do if I was in the belly of a big fish.  He prayed, like crazy!  Here's his prayer:
Jonah 2:1-9

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish's belly.
2 And he said:
"I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,
And He answered me.
"Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,
And You heard my voice.

3 For You cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the floods surrounded me;
All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.

4 Then I said, 'I have been cast out of Your sight;
Yet I will look again toward Your holy temple.'
Actually Jonah was never out of God's sight.  God had it all figured out. He knows before, during and after about us.  But Jonah was the one who lost sight of God, he lost his faith.

5 The waters surrounded me, even to my soul;
The deep closed around me;
Weeds were wrapped around my head.

6 I went down to the moorings of the mountains;
The earth with its bars closed behind me forever;
Yet You have brought up my life from the pit,
O Lord, my God.

7 "When my soul fainted within me,
I remembered the Lord;
And my prayer went up to You,
Into Your holy temple.

8 "Those who regard worthless idols
Forsake their own Mercy.
Idols are worthless they don't think, love, or comfort.  God does all this and more.  Yet I sometimes turn to TV or other things.

9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the Lord."
This is a sacrifice of praise.  Clearly sitting inside a whale didn't smell real good, it was dark, damp... generally yucky.   Plus Jonah experienced extreme fear.  He was afraid of Assyrian torture, then he was sure he'd drown in the ocean.  He probably thought the fish was sent to eat him alive!  To Jonah's credit, his praise to God truly is a sacrifice.  It took courage and faith to give Him praise.  Any time we praise God during a difficult time, He knows it's a sacrifice.


  1. Hi Karen,
    I loved reading what you wrote here. The book of Jonah is so fitting, God says to go, we like Jonah often times reply, "No" and run in the opposite direction. I know I do. You also said, "Sometimes I'll try anything before I simply pray." Sad to say, but I tend to do the same thing. Thank you for sharing this message with us and God bless,

  2. Thanks Ken : ) So glad you are enjoying the Jonah story. God bless!