Prayers from a Watery Grave

God disciplines us for our good in terms of His call upon our lives, bringing us back to His presence and to His word.

Scripture:  Jonah 2

Sermon Notes:

  1. Jonah was a historical man who was swallowed by a fish.
  2. Well-known scholars have doubted Jonah’s historicity, but we must never place the word of man above God’s word.
  3. Jonah would not have immediately recognized God’s deliverance in being swallowed by a great fish.
  4. The image of Jonah in the fish is one of distress and expectation of death. 
  5. Jonah was in anguish separated from the presence of the Lord (cf. Psalm 69).
  6. Trouble and distress often lead us to call out to God.
  7. Jonah was delivered by God from his trial by the fish’s belly.  Similarly, God saved Israel when they passed through the Red Sea, and Jesus was vindicated in his deliverance from the power of death and the grave.
  8. The Lord is the One who saves His people under trial (Isaiah 43:1-3).
  9. Knowing that escape is futile, Jonah offers prayers of repentance to God, the only hope he has.
  10. God’s chastisement upon Jonah was merciful, having the repentance of Jonah, Nineveh and Israel in view.
  11. When God’s purposes for our lives involve trouble and affliction, only knowing the sovereign goodness of God can deliver us from fear (Romans 5:3-5; 8:28).
  12. The Lord’s discipline is always appropriate; He always does what is necessary in our lives to bring us back to the center of His will.
  13. God disciplines us that we might be holy; without holiness nobody will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
  14. God disciplines us in terms of His call upon our lives, bringing us back to His presence and to His word.
  15. True repentance means doing God’s will rather than running from it. 
  16. Restoration to God’s will means we must repent in the very areas where we’ve been in rebellion.
  17. In the church today we often see demonstrated worldly idolatry and total irreverence toward God.
  18. Jonah recognized the folly of idolatry and the exclusivity of God’s way of salvation.  “Salvation belongs to the Lord.”
  19. All Idolatry is vain.  It will fail.  It will only bring judgment (Deuteronomy 29:24-26).
  20. Idolatry is all around us.  In our nation we have scorned the salvation of our God.
  21. We must turn back to God and His Word as our only hope. 
  22. We’re to be thankful for every moment of God’s discipline.
  23. When experiencing God’s chastening we’re to pray in repentance for His restoration.

Application Questions

  1. How should we respond to scholarship doubting the historicity of the account of Jonah?
  2. What was God’s big plan in Jonah’s restoration to his prophetic calling?
  3. What was Jonah’s response to God’s discipline?
  4. Is it merciful to neglect discipline?  How should parental discipline be modeled after God’s?
  5. What are features of true repentance as distinguished from mere sorrow or guilt?
  6. How can we come to rejoice in trials? (Rom. 5:3-5)
  7. What forms of idolatry do we indulge, how can we fight the idolatry in our hearts and lives?