Don’t Pray Like Jonah (Jonah #6)

Text: Jonah 2:1-9

Chapter two of Jonah begins with a summary of the events that have led up to his death and entombment in a whale.  Jonah’s prayer is a deathbed confession.

Jonah is such an unusual character and such a great picture of Israel.  His prayer has power with God, yet he is disobedient.

  • Jonah is a type of Israel
  • He pictures a nation that is called by God to be a light in the world unto Gentiles.  Jonah, like the nation, rejects that call and suffers greatly for it.
  • He is dead for three days as the nation will be dead for three and half years of tribulation.

Don’t wait until you’re in hell to pray (vss 1-2)

  • It was a deathbed confession (vs 1)
  • Then Jonah prayed
    • Jonah hasn’t prayed the entire time.  Not even during the storm.  Not even when the captain demanded he say something to God
    • Voice of one in hell.  Reminds me of several years ago there was a story circulating about a company that dropped a microphone down into the earth and heard screaming.  The recording is on the internet, but there are several reasons it’s not real.  But you don’t need an audio recording since you have a real transcript of someone crying out from hell.
  • Hell is not separation from God.  Though I make my bed in hell, thou art with me.
  • Death is not the end
  • When life is at stake it has a way of distilling what is really important and removing vanity.  It’s why Solomon said consider the end
  • Rich man and Lazarus; rich man waited until he was in hell to try to get a hold of God.
  • Develop a regular prayer life with the Lord.

Don’t make hasty vows (vss 3-4)

  • It was the result of God’s chastening
    • No blaming others.  The sailors didn’t throw him overboard
    • It was God’s creation being obedient to His will to chasten Jonah
    • thou hadst cast me, thy billows, thy waves
  • Adversity is sometimes the result of disobedience.  Sometimes it’s not.  You say, how do I know the difference?  If you’re disobeying a clear call from God then your trouble is disobedience.  If you’re obeying God and facing trouble, God is pleased with you and I think you know it.
  • Jonah says he is cast out of God’s sight which isn’t true.
    • Exaggerate because that’s how you feel
    • Psalm 31:22
  • Jonah says he’ll do what Solomon prescribed for repentance in 1 Kings 8:38
  • Jephthah’s vow to make a sacrifice is a foolish and unnecessary promise

Don’t forget God (vss 5-7)

  • His prayer contained something that most of our prayers don’t and that is fervency
  • Maybe your prayers are dull and dead, vain repetitions.  Get some fire in them.  Get a hold of God as if He’s the only one that can do anything about it because in the end, He’s the only one that can do anything about it.
    • Jacob said one time I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.—until you give me an answer Lord
    • that’s arrogant to think that you can get God to do something—NO—its arrogant to think that God cares about a prayer that you weren’t serious about praying
    • prayer is not an end in itself, the idea is to get hold of God
  • Jonah dies. His presence leads to the repentance of everyman on the boat.  His preaching is going to lead to the greatest revival in all of history.  He is blessed by God, called by God, but waits until he is dead to remember the Lord
    • Matthew 16:18
    • Job 17:16
  • Our tendency is to forget God.
    • There are some landmarks the Lord intends you to remember.
    • There are some landmark times the Lord intervened in your personal life that you need to remember.

Don’t promote your own righteousness (vss 8-9)

  • Some observe lying vanities in order to get what they want, but in so doing they forsake their own mercy.  Jonah contrasts himself with that group of people by saying he is not like them.  Though that is exactly what he’s done up to this point.
  • This is a desperate prayer and almost seems like trying to make a deal with God.  The rest of the book of Jonah he doesn’t really seem to be sincere about repentance.
    • Hebrews 13:15-16, the confession is good, but don’t forget to do right
  • Salvation is of the Lord
    • This is certainly true
    • If the Lord doesn’t help, you have no help.