Greetings! This reading is Jonah 2.
Jonah 2 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 the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, 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 brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. “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 forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the Lord.” And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land.
The text isn’t crystal clear on the three day and three night timeline, but it appears that as soon as Jonah repented and prayed that God delivered him. Jonah could have done this before he got on the ship, when he was on the ship, or immediately after being swallowed by the fish, but he waited until it was almost too late. It reminds me of Daniel 9:23, where the angel says, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given . . .” God answers prayers with his perfect timing. If an urgent answer is needed, then that’s what you’ll get.
Verse 8 is very powerful and is a good one to memorize: “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” When we cling to idols of pride, false religions, money, sex, work, power, relationships, entertainment, etc. then we are missing out on the grace that God offers. Grace is the most unique feature of the Christian faith. The complete, unearned forgiveness of sins and restoration to God is seen nowhere else. Yet we may fail to embrace grace because we want to hold onto wordly things that don’t truly fulfil us.
Think about times when you cried out to God in your desperation. You may be in that place right now, either through consequences of your own actions or due to things beyond your control. Either way, He has all of eternity to answer a momentary prayer.
Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.
The next reading is Jonah 3. Tune in to see if Jonah has completely turned around such that he sees the situation from God’s perspective, or if he still wrestles with wanting things done his way.