In this chapter, we see Jonah is at the lowest point in his life that we know of. Having just been thrown into the sea to be killed, he is instead swallowed by a fish. All of this comes after his disobedience to God. Jonah is well aware of what has got him to this point, as chapter one explains why Jonah is making this prayer in the first place.
Jonah was supposed to be a prophet for God, his whole goal was the be the mouthpiece for God on earth, to prophesy to the word of the Lord. We know Jonah was a prophet before this one story, as he is mentioned briefly in 2 Kings 14. When Jonah is given the words of God to share with Nineveh this is his time to be used by God, this is his time to be a prophet. So when Jonah rejects God’s call to Nineveh and chooses to go in the opposite direction this is not a light decision he is making, this is a full rejection of God and his word and this act goes against all that Jonah should be as a prophet.
Jonah was cast into the sea for his rebellion, his sin was clear to God. He had to face the consequences of his rebellion. But yet Jonah prays in verse 2:
“I called out to the Lord, out of my distress,
and he answered me;
out of the belly of Sheol I cried.”
Jonah was facing certain death as the penalty for his rebellion, so he cried out to God, and he was heard. Later in his prayer, Jonah states that God brought his life up from the pit. He was saved from death by God who sent the fish. This prophet of God who disobeyed God was saved and given a second chance at life.
Sometimes in our own life, we can feel a lot like Jonah. Drowning in the consequences of our sin and rebellion. And like Jonah, we deserve everything that our sin brings us. But thankfully the same God who heard Jonah’s cry for salvation hears our cry for it as well. We were in desperate need of salvation due to the consequences of our sins. We had no way to save ourselves from the pit of death we found ourselves in. But God, being great in mercy and because of his great love, saves us from death through the son of God, Jesus Christ.
So how does Jonah respond to this salvation? He responds with a prayer of thanksgiving. As we read in verse 9:
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
Like Jonah, our response to God when we think of the salvation given to us should be a response of thanksgiving. Not because we have to but because we know the depths of sin and darkness we have been saved from and can’t help but be thankful. It can be easy at times to forget just how much we have been given in salvation through Christ, but we need to remember the depths of where we started without God. Because without God, we would be like Jonah, drowning in a sea of sin brought on by our own rebellion.
Dear Lord and heavenly Father, we thank you for your salvation. Lord, we thank you that even when we are rebellious sinners you send salvation. We pray that we would be reminded of how lost we were before you, that you saved us out of the grave, and would that lead us to a continuous response of thankfulness.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.