When Jonah was thrown into the sea, a big fish swallowed him up at God’s bidding.
Jonah must have thought that death indeed was going to be the only way to escape the mission to Nineveh. But the big fish (not called a whale in the book) was an instrument of salvation for the prophet. Unlike Jonah, this creature responded promptly and obediently to God’s commands (Jon. 1:17, 2:10).
God’s providence worked in an amazing way here, and, however much some people scoff at the story, Jesus testified to its veracity (Matt. 12:40) and even used it in reference to His own death and bodily resurrection.
Read Jonah 2, often called Jonah’s psalm. What is he saying there? What has he learned? What spiritual principles can we take away from this chapter?
Jonah’s psalm celebrates God’s deliverance from the perilous depths of the sea. It is the only poetic part of the book. In it Jonah recalls his prayer for help as he was sinking deep into the waters and facing certain death. Becoming fully aware of his salvation, he thanked God for it. The hymn indicates that Jonah was familiar with biblical psalms of praise and thanksgiving.
Jonah’s vow likely consisted of a sacrifice of thanksgiving. He was grateful that, though he deserved to die, God had shown him extraordinary mercy. In spite of his disobedience, Jonah still considered himself loyal to God because he had not succumbed to idol worship. Whatever his many character flaws, he was determined to try and be faithful to his calling.
Sometimes it takes a terrible experience to open our heart up to the Lord, to realize that He is our only hope, our only salvation. Dwell on an experience you had where you clearly saw the hand of the Lord working in your own life. Why is it so easy to forget the ways in which the Lord has led you, even miraculously, especially when new trials arise?