Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish. That alone is enough to give us pause. What is more amazing about all of this is that after three days and three nights the fish spit him back out. Even with all of this said, that is not the main focus of Jonah chapter 2.
Ernest Hemingway and Herman Melville have written books detailing a great fish and a great whale respectively, in which the fish or whale take a central place. But the book of Jonah is different. For one, the events in Jonah are real historical events. Jonah was actually swallowed up and spit out by this fish at a real time in history, yet still, the fish is not the central theme of chapter 2. Rather, the One who is central is Jonah’s God.
In the first chapter of Jonah, we see that Jonah flees from his God, but his God pursues him. God is sovereign over all things, even over His prophet who is fleeing from His commands. Jonah was called to go to the people of Nineveh but ran away–he sought to chart out his own course. But God sent a storm to rage on the sea which Jonah was attempting to use as an escape route. Jonah was tossed into the sea to cause the storm to cease from its raging. But this was not the end of Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 says, “And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” This fish was appointed by God to swallow up Jonah in order that Jonah would live. And in the belly of this fish, we see in chapter 2, Jonah calls out to God. In Jonah’s prayer we see the power and the sovereignty of Jonah’s God, and we also see the faithfulness of God to deliver His people. We see especially that God is absolutely sovereign in the salvation of His people: “Salvation belongs to the LORD!” (Jonah 2:9) This is a truth that comforted Jonah’s soul once again, and the truth that many have noted is the theme that runs through the entire book of Jonah. Jonah’s time in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights also points us to the one who died for sinners and on the third Day was raised from death. It is there, in the death of Christ for sinners and His victorious resurrection that we see most clearly that “Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
Would you join us this Lord’s Day for worship at 5 PM at The Commons at St. Andrews Church at 8300 Kanis Rd. in Little Rock as we consider these truths together? Click here for directions, or contact us for more information. You can also join us on FacebookLive@RiverCityARP or on YouTube.
Photo by Giga Khurtsilava on Unsplash