JONAH 6: Prayer & Vomit (2:1-9)

“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 deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, 
   and you listened to my cry. 
You hurled me into the depths, 
   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, LORD my God, 
   brought my life up from the pit.

  “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 
   turn away from God’s love for them. 
But I, with shouts of grateful praise, 
   will sacrifice to you. 
What I have vowed I will make good. 
   I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the LORD.’”

  And the LORD commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (Jonah 2:1-9).

I apologize for the crude title. Once a youth pastor, always a youth pastor. This aptly sums up this section: Having been rescued from drowning by a giant fish, Jonah gives thanks to the Lord for his salvation from inside the belly.  His prayer is followed by release. Jonah is “vomited out” onto dry land.

Here we have an intense picture of a person being thrust out of darkness and into light, going under the waters a sinner and coming up a new person. This is Jonah’s sinner’s prayer, his testimonial, his conversion moment, his baptism into (near) death and his new birth experience.

From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, 
   and you listened to my cry.  

May we all remember our prayer from the belly of sin, and the moment we were given a new chance at life on new dry land. When were you vomited out of your old life of sin?

Finally, this image of “vomiting” evokes two other passages that serve as a warning to the new believer just leaving behind their old life of rebellion.  Firstly, Jonah and the new believer must not foolishly return to their old life of sin, for “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly” (Proverbs 26:11).  Jonah has been dumped back on the seashore where he first boarded the ship of rebellion.  Will he repeat his mistake?  We shall see.

Secondly, the emotional buzz of Jonah and the new believer’s born again experience will slowly fade in time, and then they must guard against becoming half-hearted or complacent in their obedience to the Lord.  Or else they will become like the Laodicean church to whom the Lord said: “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16).

So, as you can see, vomit is nothing to joke around about…. [Insert Junior high snickering here]


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