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(Jonah 2) Our God of 2nd Chances

Jonah  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Jonah 1:1-16 we observe the Prophet Jonah fleeing from the Presence of the Lord. His illogical pursuit is hindered by a God-orchestrated storm – which should have changed his heart. However, in defiance he tells the sailors to cast him overboard. Yet, God still shows mercy appointing a fish to swallow him. And then answering his prayer 3 days later by directing the fish to vomit him out on dryland. Jonah chapter 2 demonstrates

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INTRODUCTION:
When you look at your life,
do you see such a mess you can’t help but feel trapped in?
One
ILLUSTRATION:
One such example was Janice Walsh (Unshackled Series)
I would like us to begin this morning by considering the story of x.
She grew up in an abusive home.
She regularly woke up to hear her father yelling at and beating her mom.
Eventually her mom divorced her dad and they were forced into foster care.
There she found herself in just as bad of situation - bullied by the other foster care kids.
She worked hard to go to college and married a kind gentleman from her geology class.
And
However, 2 years after marriage he changed and began to beat her.
She left him after she nearly lost her life.
By this time - she felt alone and depressed.
She was ashamed of her past, and despaired that no one ever could love her.
She was ashamed of her past, and despaired that no one ever could love her.
She felt so lonely she considered suicide more than once.
Now, Maybe our struggle is not near that bad, or maybe it is.
She felt she had no way out-
Either way,
Sometimes we come to place in our lives where we feel like there is no way out.
Sometimes we come to place in our lives where we fill like there is no hope.
He was tired of living a life that evolved around church and the religious norms of church - so he decided to start a new life.
Perhaps it is a struggle in our marriage.
You and your spouse can’t even eat a bowl of cereal without arguing.
You feel alone, desperate to get back the love you had for one another, but have no idea how to get there.
One that allowed him to enjoy life and focus on what he really wanted to do.
Or a struggle in finding a job
or a struggle of addiction
or a struggle of addiction
So he went to college - but he enjoyed college to much.
Maybe not drugs, but addiction to money, security, pornography, lieing, success … and your desires are so strong you feel like a slave to your cravings.
Whatever your struggle,
you question - is there any hope?
Can I get out of this mess?
May I say, this text tells us that when all other empty vain solutions have been tried - and failed.
There is one person in all of creation who can rescue you from your misery - God.
And it doesn’t matter how deep that sin takes you - God is always able to rescue you from that pit.
Let’s Read ,
And you think - there is no way to get out of this mess.
Might I suggest that no matter how deep we find ourselves in sin and struggle, it is never to much for God.
Jonah learned this valuable lesson in Jonah chapter 2.
Jonah 1:17–2:10 ESV
17 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. 1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. 3 For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. 4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ 5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head 6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. 7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. 8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” 10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
The story of Jonah demonstrates that you are never without hope.
No matter how deep of trouble you find yourself in,
You can always seek God in the time of need.
From this text we learn,

PROPOSITION: You can always seek God in the time of need.

TRANSITION: And we observe 4 reasons why.

TRANSITION: And this text gives us 4 reasons why.
First, We learn that:

1) No problem is to great for God.

We see this in both the realm and the physical realm in our text.
God is more powerful than our:

- Spiritual Problems.

Perhaps, as you are sitting here - you are thinking, but you don’t know the wickedness of my heart.
I have tried right with God - and every time I failed.
I do acknowledge that having pure faith can be a struggle - and we can feel hopeless about it.
But think about the spiritual state of Jonah at this point.
Is Jonah the ideal example of Faith; a devoted Prophet of God?
Well he is prophet, but he is not the example of faith - if anything he is an example of mercy even when we rebel.
Consider this,
- Jonah fled from the presence of God when he was called to go to Nineveh.
- Jonah defiantly slept through the God-sent storm that threatened his life and everyone else’s life.
- Jonah’s solution to save everyone else was not to pray to God - like even the Pagans did; but did have himself thrown overboard.
At some point in all that we should have saw Jonah pray to God,
but he was to angry and hard hearted to call upon God.
And then the unthinkable happened - God sends a fish to swallow Jonah.
Jonah 1:17 ESV
17 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.
God have allowed him to die in the sea.
And we would have understood why - he was fleeing God, ignoring all of God’s warnings.
But instead, in mercy he allowed him to be swallowed.
Now picture this -
This should be a disgusting, terrifying event.
The swallow
ILLUSTRATION:
We have saw movies with terrifying shark attacks - in which the people try to swim away; only to be eaten by a shark despite their best attempts.
We have saw movies with terrifying shark attacks - in which the people try to swim away; only to be eaten by a shark despite their best attempts.
Jonah probably tried to fight off and swim away from this fish - but in the end was swallowed by it.
That would terrify me.
Then as he swallowed he finds himself in the inner stomach of a fish.
- There is no light - it would have been incredibly dark - pitch black.
ILLUSTRATION: I have been out to sea at night - and you go outside - and it is so dark can’t see your hand in front of your face.
It would have been that dark.
- Stomach’s have
- left over, decaying food - it would have smelt awful.
- It would have had stomach acid - making it even more gooey and disgusting.
In fact, v. 10 tells us that the fish had to vomit Jonah onto dryland - so he would have experienced the digestion process of being swallowed.
- And talk about lonely existence.
- You think you feel lonely and cut off - all by yourself.
- Try being in the stomach of a well.
- And finally - were told the fish did not just swim a few inches from the surface - but do the bottom of the ocean
This description is not just a story - but we can sense the fear that came upon him as Jonah describes the event.
Jonah 2:5–6 ESV
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head 6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
Essentially, being swallowed by that fish was a death trap for Jonah.
It was a prison that could only lead to death.
Now in all that - how long would you expect someone to wait to call upon God?
I would be praying as I am going down the throat of the fish.
But, Jonah waited 3 days before praying.
Jonah 1:17 ESV
17 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.
Jonah 1:17-
Jonah 1:17–2:1 ESV
17 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. 1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish,
What hard heart?
What anger?
What defiance?
Given this was a death sentence - Jonah was as closed to suicide as someone could get.
There was no way Jonah was going to escape
And it took Jonah being in the stomach of a fish, at the bottom of ocean, and enduring prolonged death - before he would turn back to God.
But he did - and declared in v. 9 - “Salvation belongs to the Lord” and promised to worship God with thanksgiving.
God was greater than the sin of Jonah.
When we consider his hard heart, his anger, and his defiance … we should be comforted that God can handle our Spiritual struggles.
But what about the physical realm.

- Physical realm

Perhaps, your struggle is not simply a spiritual problem - but a physical problem.
- You face a financial debt and you don’t know if you can get out of.
- You face medical problems that seem unsolvable.
- You are in a terrible job situation - but you can’t afford to find another job.
Consider Jonah’s Physical situation.
If God is powerful enough to deliver Jonah
- from the stomach of a fish,
- from the bottom of the ocean
- onto dry land like v. 10 tells us
then is there ever a time you are to far in hole for got to work in your life?
And the answer is NO!
CLARIFICATION:
Now to clarify, I am not suggesting we just need to believe and our wishes come true.
That is only found in the magical land of Disney
- but in real life God does care for us and he does answer our prayers.
As I say that, let me clarify - God answers our prayers
According to his will, according to his purposes, according to his Wisdom,
and may say also, always according to His goodness.
We think of Jonah - God delivered him from the fish - but he still had to go to Nineveh.
We ought to seek God in the time of need because we know he alone can handle our Spiritual and Physical problems.
The second reason

2) God is always working on our behalf.

Is it by accident that Jonah was swallowed by a fish?
Is it by accident that Jonah was spit out by the fish?
We have already observed God throwing a storm onto the sea in .
As we understand v. 9, that storm was not an accident - but God working in the life of the defiant prophet named Jonah.
But our text is not done with God’s work in Jonah’s life.
First, note the word “appointed” in .
Jonah 1:17 ESV
17 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.
Jonah 2:10 ESV
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
The Word “appointed” is not accidental translation. In fact the other translations make similar notes. The NASB and NET bible matches this translation.
The KJV says God “prepared”.
The word stresses the idea that Yahweh assigned or tasked the fish with the job to swallow Jonah.
NOTE:
Joyce Ba

Here, with YHWH as the subject, the verb stresses God’s sovereign rule over events for the accomplishment of his purpose

The suffering of Jonah of being swallowed by a great fish - was no accident - it was God working in the background.
God was working all along to bring Jonah back to a worship of the one true living God - Yahweh.
We also see this in Jonah’s return in dryland.
After Jonah Prayed, we are told God spoke to the fish.
Jonah 2:10 ESV
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
Why did the fish return Jonah to dry land?
Because God told the fish too.
This is why - v. 6 - Jonah tells us
Jonah 2:6 ESV
6 at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
Jonah 1:
Through the storm, God was working with his mercy by not letting Jonah drown
But by appointing a fish to swallow Jonah.
Through the digestion of Jonah, God was with mercy by not letting Jonah die at the bottom of the ocean,
but by telling the fish to spit out on dry land.
Elaboration:
Many times the faith compares believers to children following their father’s.
and For good reason.
and For good reason.
Galatians 4:4–5 ESV
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Galatians
Just like my own children do not always understand why I do something or even realize I am caring for them.
ILLUSTRATION:
For example;
I always set the alarm to wake them up for school.
They don’t realize Dad sets the alarm - they never hear it.
To them Dad just shows up and says it is time to go to school.
But in reality, I prepared the night before to make sure they got to school like they need to.
We as God’s children do not always understand why God does certain things and often we don’t even realize how God in the background is caring for us; but he is.
We as God’s children do not always understand why God does certain things and often we don’t even realize how God in the background is caring for u.s
Jonah demonstrates that God is always working in our life - even when we don’t see him appointing a fish to help change our hard hearts.
With a Good Gracious Father like that;
Should we not seek God in our time of need.
The third reason from is:

3) God always hears our prayers.

ILLUSTRATION:
Many times we treat God like our cell phone.
I mean - what do you do when you don’t hear someone on the other side of the phone?
Maybe it cuts out or you loose signal.
And so you do what?
Are you there? Are you there?
Can you hear me?
Can you hear me now?
And to often -that is exactly how we treat God.
When things don’t go the way we planned - what do we say?
Can you hear me God?
Are you there God?
One of the few guarantee’s in life is not just that we will pay taxes, but that God will hear our prayers!
The Answer might not what we expect. It might be:
a. No
b. Wait
c. Try this - it is better.
But I guarantee you are talking to God with all 4 bars.
Jonah’s prayer is great confirmation that God hears our prayers.
God heard and answered the prayer of Jonah!
We see that in the opening lines of his prayer?
Jonah 2:2 ESV
2 saying, “I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
Jonah 2:
Jonah repeats the praise that God answered his prayer in v. 7.
Jonah 2:7 ESV
7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
In other words - the indwelling presence of God in the temple - heard his prayer from under the sea.
How Good was Jonah’s reception?
He is down at the bottom of the ocean in the belly of a fish because he defied the one true living God.
If anyone was going to have reception problems from God - Jonah would have.
He has defied God - and so Spiritually fled from the presence of God.
He sits at the bottom of the ocean - as far removed from the temple as possible.
And yet God heard his prayers.
As believers in Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection for sins - we can say this even more boldly than Jonah could have.
God in his mercy heard Jonah’s prayer - but by strict covenant Law he didn’t have to.
But Jesus died on the cross so that there can never be any separation between God and his people.
But Jesus died on the cross so that there can never be any separation between believers in Yahweh and God.
Ephesians 3:11–12 ESV
11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.
As believers in the Gospel - Jesus removed all the barriers.
So May I say,
there is no Spiritual or physical barrier that prevents God from hearing our prayers.
If God had mercy on a rebellious OT believer who has rejected the covenant
- than God will hear the prayers of his children he adopted through the blood of His son.
So May I say,
there is no Spiritual or physical barrier that prevents God from hearing our prayers.
We ought to seek God in our times of need.
The fourth reason,

4) God’s love is always available.

There is a little nugget hear that we need to pay attention to.
CONCLUSION:
Jonah 2:8 ESV
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
Jonah in his prayer contrasts the empty answers of other false Gods >>>>> with the steadfast love a believer in Yahweh receives.
Now who are these empty idols?
In Jonah’s day that was any God besides Yahweh.
You see, it had already been declared by King Solomon that there is no other gods at the dedication of the Alter.
1 Kings 8:22–23 ESV
22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel and spread out his hands toward heaven, 23 and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart;
1 Kings 8:23 ESV
23 and said, “O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you, in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to your servants who walk before you with all their heart;
1 Kings
So by the time of Jonah - the obvious implication is that any other God besides Yahweh is false.
As NT believers; that has not changed.
Any religion hat confesses that there is more than one God - is false.
Any religion that confesses that you can become a god - is a false religion.
May I further state, as we understand the Cross of Jesus:
Any religion that confesses that there is another way to earn salvation - is not the God of the Bible.
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Isaiah 53:5–6 ESV
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
John 14:6 ESV
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Isaiah 53:Thus,
Thus,
The only true God is the one who sent his son to die for us - so that we can be saved from our sins and adopted as children of God.
the only way to be saved and the only form of spiritual progress that can be made -
is to believe that Christ died on the cross so we could be forgiven for our sins.
All others are empty Idols.
But on the other side - those who hope in the true living God of Yahweh get to enjoy his steadfast love.
Jonah 2:8 ESV
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
Imagine why he said this?
He has broken the covenant
Further,
He has refused to do the work of prophet.
He has fled from the presence of the the Lord.
He tried to defiantly sleep through a horrific storm.
And then sat in fish’s belly 3 days before praying to God.
He probably realized that he had not deserve any mercy from God and ashamed of his choices.
God could have ignored his plea - and be perfectly just and holy in doing so.
Yet God showed enduring, steadfast unconditional merciful love to Jonah.
He probably ashamed of his choice
He answered Jonah’s plea - delivered him from the pit of the bottom of the ocean.
APPLICATION:
Perhaps you are sitting there and don’t believe you deserve mercy from God.
Good because you don’t,
But one of the blessing of following Yahweh is that he shows steadfast love.
And that love was chiefly demonstrated through the Cross - the greatest love act in human history.
We ought to seek God in time of need because his love is always available for us.
CONCLUSION:
So to bring the major themes of this passage together.
What can we learn from .
1) No problem is too great for God.

- Spiritual Problems.

- Physical realm

2) God is always working on our behalf.
3) God always hears our prayers.
4) God’s love is always available.
And when we consider those truths - we ought to have 2 responses.
We ought to seek the one true living God in the time of need.
He is the one and only hope for the trials of this world.
I don’t know what you have faced in the past, in the present, or will face in the future
- But know that God is always there in our time of need.
Whether suffering because of our foolishness or suffering that was out of our hands.
- God is always there for us.
And the second,
2. May we bow down and worship our God.
Notice the vow of Jonah -
Jonah 8-9
Jonah 2:9 ESV
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
Jonah 2:8–9 ESV
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. 9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
When behold the steadfast love and care of God the Father, as chiefly shown by the Son, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
What better response could there be then to seek God and to Worship God.
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