Salvation Is Of The Lord

Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Last week we talked about 3 things that the Lord did on Jonah's behalf. This week we're going to look at Jonah's prayer from the belly of the fish. Jonah's prayer reads like a survey of the Psalms. If you have a reference bible, you will see that the prayer in Jonah chapter 2 contains many quotations from the Psalms. I won't bore you with providing all of the references- check them out for yourself! I do want to bring a few things to your attention however, and here they are:
Jon 2:3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

Remember how we emphasized the great lengths God went to in order to deal with this one reluctant prophet last week? Here, Jonah acknowledged that it was truly the LORD who threw him overboard (He just used the men on the boat as His hands and feet). So often we fail to see God's redemptive hand print on our lives. Jonah had some time to reflect on his situation, and acknowledged that God has a way of bringing us where He wants us to be.
Jon 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

Jonah's current situation is dark, uncertain, and probably smelly! But in his prayer, he demonstrates faith that things will work out in the end. Jesus instructs us that when we pray, we should indeed believe that we will receive those petitions that we desire (Mark 11:24). Jonah probably had no verbal guarantees that he was going to worship in the temple again, but he had a confidence in the abilities of God. Many of us have a "wait-and-see" attitude towards faith, but the true order of faith is believe-then-see .
Jon 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

This is the tragedy of a life lived independent of God's will. One of my favorite teachers on prayer is Douglas Small. I once heard Mr. Small say (regarding prayer and the lack thereof) that often God is more disappointed for us, than He is "in us". Jonah's statement about those who observe or regard false ideologies is revealing. Those who do so, forfeit what could be theirs, if they would only receive it by faith. I'm reminded of how Jesus wept over Jerusalem and lamented their rejection of His offer of peace (Luke 19:41-42).
Jon 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Jonah praised God for his deliverance, and is ready to fulfill his obligations. He also confesses that salvation is all God's idea. This is Good News for each one of us. The bible declares that while we were yet sinners, alienated from God, unable to do anything about our plight- Jesus died for our sins! (please see Romans 5:6-8). We love Him today, because He first loved us! (I John 4:19). God took the initiative to save Jonah, even though Jonah ran as far as he could in the opposite direction.

In the dark confinement of the belly of a fish, Jonah reflected on some pretty deep theological concepts. No matter how dark or lonely your situation is, please don't stop praying. We too, will realize (through prayer) that God is always at work in our lives redemptively, even through the most painful of processes.

Until next time....

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