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. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, 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.
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.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
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.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land. – Jonah 1:17-2:10 (ESV)
Rosemary Nixon writes:
Whether for Jonah or ourselves, the great wonder of this kind of prayer is that our Lord, in His great love towards us, condescends to deliver us out of our frequently self-inflicted mess. Here is a God more willing to hear than we are to pray, a God who longs for us to speak them so that we may know He has heard our prayer.
Jonah’s reference to ‘those who pay regard to vain idols forsak[ing] their true loyalty’ (v. 8) may be an indirect acknowledgement of his guilt in forsaking Yahweh. More likely, however, these words refer to the pagans whom God had called Jonah to address. Here he dismisses them as paying regard to ‘vain idols’! In fact, the pagans, unlike the believers, do not know whom to call upon in their distress. Jonah was called to make God’s ways known to these very people whom he here dismisses. … In calling the fish to spew him out, God is indicating that the key to Jonah’s new life lies with the very pagans, the Ninevites, whom the prophet so desperately struggled to avoid.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 60
Q. 60. How is the sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days; and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship, except so much as is to be taken up in the works of necessity and mercy.