JONAH 1:17-2:10 (NIV – UK)
17 Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. 1 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said:
‘In my distress I called to the Lord,
and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
and you listened to my cry.
3 You hurled me into the depths,
into the very heart of the seas,
and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
swept over me.
4 I said, “I have been banished
from your sight;
yet I will look again
towards your holy temple.”
5 The engulfing waters threatened me,
the deep surrounded me;
seaweed was wrapped around my head.
6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
the earth beneath barred me in for ever.
But you, Lord my God,
brought my life up from the pit.
7 ‘When my life was ebbing away,
I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
to your holy temple.
8 ‘Those who cling to worthless idols
turn away from God’s love for them.
9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise,
will sacrifice to you.
What I have vowed I will make good.
I will say, “Salvation comes from the Lord.”’
10 And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
DEATH AND RESURRECTION
Jesus speaks of this passage in Matthew 12. He says:
“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:39-40).
Jesus puts this passage in Jonah into context for us. What are we meant to take from this story? It is a story of death and resurrection. It is no coincidence that Jonah spent three days and three nights in the belly of the fish. It is a foreshadow of the three days and three nights that Jesus would spend ‘in the heart of the earth.’
Jonah had run from the Lord – he was turning his back on the Lord – he was full of sin and transgression. Jonah needed to go through a death and resurrection experience. Jonah needed to die to his sin, and be raised to new life. It was through this process that he realised instead of running from the Lord, he should be running to the Lord (v. 2, 7).
Through all of his transgressions, having turned his back on the Lord, Jonah proclaims the ultimate truth: “Salvation comes from the Lord” (v. 9).
Question: Do you find it reassuring to know that, no matter how many times we run to the Lord, this truth remains the same: “Salvation comes from the Lord”?