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Jonah 2:1-10

He's Working in Your Waiting

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • August 13, 2017

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture
He’s Working in Your Waiting

Jonah 2:1-10 

Intro: Breakfast time.

Generally, we aren’t too concerned with the process needed to get us out of a time of waiting, we just want out! Similar responses can be seen at a restaurant when the check doesn’t come with perfect timing, at a local coffee shop when the internet goes down, or, if an app we want to access needs updating. These are situations that require us to wait for a solution, waiting can be difficult.

Backstory: Jonah Ch. 1

Once thrown into the sea, the Lord appoints a great fish to swallow Jonah, where he would remain in waiting while God was working, for 3 days and 3 nights.

Read Jonah 1:17 - 2:1-10

When Jonah was thrown into the water he would need to wait for what was next. After God provided a great fish, he would need to wait even longer. Things just seemed to be getting worse and nothing good was happening. What Jonah didn’t seem to know initially, was that God was working in his waiting.

The Lord was at work, but the days Jonah spent inside of the great fish, were days that the Lord used to transform Jonah’s heart despite where he was physically.

I. Become Better Not Bitter

  • Jonah experienced a great difficulty in his attempt to resign as prophet and escape his appointment from the Ninevites.
  • After being thrown into the sea, the Lord provides a great fish to swallow Jonah whole.
  • Chapter 2 verse one reads “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord God from the stomach of the fish.”
  • The word “then” comes after the scripture tells us Jonah was in the fish 3 days and 3 nights. He had waited to pray this prayer, seemingly, it took him three days before he was able to pray this way.
  • Jonah had run from God, he had turned his back on the will and plan of God. There could be any number of reasons Jonah waited to pray, however, he was finally where God wanted him, with a softened heart.

Illus. The process of creating a beautiful guitar.

  • The three days Jonah would wait before praying, were integral in the softening of Jonah’s heart. Jonah may have found himself unworthy to reach out. Stuck in shame, guilt, anger, or confusion.
  • The Lord wanted Jonah to become better, not bitter. He continued to provide what was necessary to get him back on course.

A. The Lord will provide
  • Had Jonah seen the great fish coming his way, he might have perceived that he was going to be lunch meat.
  • God was plotting the course for Jonah to turn around. This was not going to come through the efforts or ability of Jonah, it was going to come by the hand of the Lord.
  • Many people debate the type of sea creature that swallowed Jonah: was it a whale? Was it a mythical fish called a sea-dog? Was it a toothless great white shark?
  • We know what scripture tells us, it was a great fish (dag). But we don’t know the type. What we know is that the great fish was used by God for this specific purpose.
  • Throughout scripture we see many miracles, circumstances and situations that were beyond the ability of nature.
  • To name a few: We see plagues to change the heart of Pharaoh, waters parted, walls flattened, God’s provision during 40 years in the desert, water flowing from a rock, sacrifices consumed, and protection in a den of hungry lions.
  • I trust in looking at the story of Jonah historically, that the Lord, made a way, and used a great fish for His purpose in a miraculous way.
  • Some have tried to make the book of Jonah easier to “swallow” by calling in a myth, or allegorically representative of the Jewish people. The book of Jonah, however, should be interpreted historically. Jesus himself mentioned Jonah.

Luke 11:29-30, As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. 

  • The Lord will move in your life in ways you may not expect even today. To keep our Lord within the realm of what you deem possible would be to limit a limitless God.
  • Jonah was in the belly of the great fish God provided, waiting, while the Lord was working. There are fewer things we have to wait for today than when I was young.

Illus. Waiting for a song to record.

  • The prospect of waiting for anything is becoming less common. Answers are readily available to our most outlandish question, only to be topped by the answers we can find if we search hard enough.

B. Keep your hope in Him

  • There are many things we can choose to cling to while we wait. Keep your hope in the Lord, He will point you towards what is sure and steadfast.

Romans 8:24-25, For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly.

Hebrews 6:19, This hope we have is an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.

  • This hope we have in God is sure and steadfast. The Lord is the anchor to your soul and it crucial to be reminded of that in seasons of waiting.
Illus. The early church had burial places below ground called Catacombs. It was a place where in times of great persecution in Rome, Christians would hide or hold worship services.
  • No matter what comes our way, we are anchored in the hope found in Jesus.

Illus. Rip current.

  • When you are waiting, when you don’t see what is around the next corner, keep your hope in Jesus.
  • Don’t go back to temple worship as the author of Hebrews implored. Don’t go back to finding comfort in the things you used to find comfort in before you knew God, be anchored in Christ.

Jeremiah 17:7-8, Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

  • When your trust and hope is in the Lord, the heat (or difficulties) that come, will not throw you off course, it will not be the end to your effectiveness. Rather, it will deepen, rather than derail your faith.

Illus. The effect of boiling water.

  • Jonah came to the place where his heart was softened, and in his darkest hour he cries out, and the Lord hears him.

II. Cry out to God

  • There have been times when I have avoided seeking the Lord in prayer; wrongly believing that He would only hear me on my good days.
  • The days when I had done it mostly right. Believing that if I messed up, the Lord wasn’t interested in hearing.
  • Fortunately, that just isn’t true. As Jonah is about to experience, the Lord is gracious and merciful no matter what we are going through, or what mistakes we have made.
  • Jonah realized that God was merciful, even in his rebellion, and he cries out to the Lord.

Jonah 2:2, I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice.

  • The Hebrew word “Sheol” is indicative of the place of the dead, the grave, pit, the place of no return, or hell itself.
  • Surrounded by whatever else was in the stomach of this fish and seaweed wrapped around his head, Jonah cried out.
  • Wherever you would pray to the Lord from this morning, know that He hears you when you call. 

Jeremiah 29:12, Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.

  • You may feel stuck in the place where marriages die, families are destroyed, where you feel there is no return. You might be surrounded by darkness and difficulty. But I encourage you to look toward the Lord, cry out to Him.

A. Our God hears

  • Perhaps Jonah waited to call out to the Lord because he didn’t deserve a response, he had run away, why would God listen?
  • If you are there today, the place whereby you wouldn’t even listen to what you have to say…God will still listen. 
Illus. Downtown retail marketing.
  • Jonah declared to the Lord, “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, But you have brought up my life from the Pit”…”While I was fainting away I remembered you and my prayer came to you.” (Vs. 6-7)
  • The Lord heard Jonah as he recognized his need to cling to the Lord rather than any other.
  • He also recognized where his salvation had come from, it came from the Lord.
  • Jonah turned his heart to the Savior, before he knew what would happen next. Before the next scene, before seeing the light. He surrendered in the midst of utter darkness knowing his prayer was heard.

B. He will place you back on solid ground 

  • As soon as this prayer was completed, the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up on dry land (vs. 10).
  • God was working while Jonah was waiting. When Jonah did not know which direction, this fish was heading. When he thought he was in Sheol. God was working.
  • When you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel, when you are waiting, you feel your life is going nowhere, be encouraged, God is working.

Romans 8:28, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

  • When Jonah thought his life was going nowhere – the whale God provided was moving. Moving to the place he was supposed to be.
  • This is true for you as well. In the situations and circumstances when you cannot see, the Lord is working. Call out to Him and He will place you back on solid ground.
  • The Lord is working in your waiting.

Psalm 40:2, He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and he set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

Jonah 2:1-10    NSAB

1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish,
2 and he said,
"I called out of my distress to the Lord,
And He answered me.
I cried for help from the depth of Sheol;
You heard my voice.
3 "For You had cast me into the deep,
Into the heart of the seas,
And the current engulfed me.
All Your breakers and billows passed over me.
4 "So I said, 'I have been expelled from Your sight.
Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.'
 
5 "Water encompassed me to the point of death.
The great deep engulfed me,
Weeds were wrapped around my head.
6 "I descended to the roots of the mountains.
The earth with its bars was around me forever,
But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God.
7 "While I was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
And my prayer came to You,
Into Your holy temple.
 
8 "Those who regard vain idols
Forsake their faithfulness,
9 But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving.
That which I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation is from the Lord."
10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

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