JONAH PART 14 – HIS PRAYER
Jonah had been cast into the Mediterranean Sea. He now describes what it was like being in the stormy water prior to the fish (whale shark?) swallowing him.
In verses 3, 5 (NKJV) it says as he prayed, “For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods (of water) surrounded me. All Your billows and Your waves passed over me…The waters surrounded me, even to my soul. The deep closed around me. Weeds were wrapped around my head.”
He was in the sea drowning. In fact, it is very possible he had completely drowned before the fish (not a whale) swallowed him as his limp body could no longer struggle against this God-sent creature.
In verse 7a (NKJV) it says, “When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the LORD.” This is another indication Jonah was deceased as his soul (spirit) “fainted” or departed from his body. Further evidence of this is found in verse 6, “I went down to the moorings (bottoms) of the mountains. The earth with its bars closed behind me forever. Yet you have (later) brought up my life from the pit, Oh Lord, my God.”
He descended to the bottoms of the earth, into “the heart of the earth” as Jesus said in Matthew 12:40. Jonah said he had gone into the pit (KJV) – corruption) which is the Hebrew word “shachath”, which also means the “grave.” No living person goes to the pit or grave in the “heart” of the earth. Though his physical body would be dead, he was still fully conscious in his spirit/soul as it is in the pit. From the pit, his soul cries out in earnest prayer to God who still hears him.
His prayer in verse 4 says, “I am cast out of Thy sight, yet I will look again toward Thy holy temple.” In verse 7b it says, “and my prayer came in unto thee, into Thine holy temple.” (KJV). Verse 9 says, “I will sacrifice unto Thee with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that (which) I have vowed. Salvation is of (Yahweh).”
He acknowledged his “cast out” condition and cried out from the pit in earnest prayer. “I will sacrifice” shows his repentance as he would by Mosaic Law offer a sin sacrifice, and also the “sacrifice” of praise and thanksgiving. He made a vow to God, and vows cannot be broken; he would keep and honor his vow. He glorified Yahweh (Jehovah) as the God of salvation.
He would not be as verse 8 which says, “They that observe lying vanities (worthless idols) (and) forsake their own mercy.” Their idols can have no mercy for they are false. The pagans forsake their “own mercy” by not turning to the only Almighty God who is full of mercy.
God heard Jonah’s prayer and extended His mercy according to His plan. We all have received God’s mercy for without it we would be hopelessly lost for eternity. His great grace (favor) has extended mercy to you and me. Praise God!
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