Sunday 18 October
God's life-saving rescue
17 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. 1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 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.
3 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.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight;
yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 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.
7 When my life was fainting away, I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
Jonah had been running away from God, disobeying what he said.
That had got him into very deep water (literally) and he was drowning under God's judgement, until God sent a submarine saviour to rescue him.
But the same is true of us - not the drowning bit or the giant smelly fish! But we too disobey God, and without his rescue, we would be facing God's judgement and death forever. But God's rescue plan was even more fantastic than the sending a massive. He sent his only Son down to earth in order to lift us up to heaven and down to the grave to raise us up to life. And none of us deserved it, but God decided to do it anyway. That's called 'grace'. Amazing grace. As Jonah says, "Salvation belongs to the Lord."
You might like to colour in this picture of Jonah praying from inside the great fish/whale.
"I called out to the Lord, out of my distress, and he answered me" (v2)
Dear heavenly Father, sorry that I run away from you, just like Jonah, when I ignore your word and disobey you. I know that deserves your judgement. But thank you for your rescue and grace, that Jesus came down to the depths to raise me up to you and eternal life. I am so grateful. Amen.