A Cry from the Pit
Before you read, quietly bow your heart and spirit before the Lord reverently now, and let yourself worship him.
Read Jonah 2:1-10
 From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God.  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.  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.  I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.’  The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head.  To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, LORD my God, brought my life up from the pit.  “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.  “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.  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.'”  And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow does Jonah's prayer reflect a changed attitude?
So far, Jonah has been silent. Unlike other prophets, he did not even try to talk to God about his reservations (compare with Exod. 4:1,10; Jer. 1:6). It took this near-death experience (1,5,6) to make him realize that life with God is all that matters (4,7). When loved ones die, we can worry about whether they were reconciled to God. Jonah’s experience offers insight into those last moments of life. At the point of death all we can offer God is the wordless cry of our heart, the turning of our spirit to his (1,7). Jonah’s prayer was flawed; he didn’t acknowledge his disobedience, and even reinterprets events (4; compare with 1:3), implying that God drove him away! How reassuring that God responds with such extraordinary kindness (6). Jonah’s experience is also a picture of Jesus’ resurrection (Matt. 12:40) which we, too, will share. Jonah went “down” to death. God met him in the “tomb” of the fish (2,6) and ordered this fishy tomb to release him back to life (10). When we die, we can be sure that the Lord will meet us and order death to release us to our new life with him.
Not even death can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:37-39). Remembering this, pray for those facing death.
Lord, I’m so glad and thankful to know Your great kindness and Your great promise that death can’t hold me.
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