Salvation Belongs to the Lord: Jonah, Part 2

Brian Mahon - 5/21/2023


Call to worship: Exodus 33:12-19

Text: Jonah 1:17-2:10


Jonah is down, but not dead; because God is no vain idol, but the true, living, and faithful Lord of salvation. A great fish is appointed as an instrument of rescue. Jonah has sunk to the bottom of the sea, the depths of almost certain despair and death due to his rebellion---but God above is able to deliver His people from our lowest depths. The fish is an ark, sustaining Jonah's life; it's made into a kind of sanctuary, in which the prophet remembers the Lord, calls out to Him, hopes in His mercy, exalts His truth, crowns Him Savior, and redirects himself toward faithfulness to the call. The Lord then commands the fish to give up the prophet upon dry land. His impending ministry is miraculous, a sign of God's Lordship and sovereign mercies upon all the world of sinners. It's a type of what's to come in the greater Jonah, our Lord Jesus Christ. He will be swallowed up, buried for three days, and spit out again alive from the dead. Will we listen to Him? Will we live to Him? Will we carry out the grace of new and risen lives to those in need?

Sermon Outline:

  1. God to the rescue. (1:17-2:1)
  2. A psalm of the rescued. (2:2-9)
    • God's sovereignty in our sinking.
    • God's salvation in our sinking.
    • God's sanctuary in our sinking.
    • God's service in our steadying.
3. The reset of the rescued. (2:10)


Discussion Questions:

  1. 1: Read Jonah 1:17-2:10.
  2. 2: In 1:17-2:1, how do you observe the sovereignty of God? The mercy of God? How is Jonah's rescue distinct from the mariners' rescue? Do you think the fish looked like a rescuer to Jonah? If not, is there any lesson to be drawn about the instrument(s) of God's salvation?
  3. 3: From where does Jonah pray? Think on that, full stop. Is there any place we cannot pray? Any place we can be that God cannot be? In 2:3, who does Jonah understand to be in control of his sinking? Why is that more helpful than becoming a functional atheist in our troubles? If you could identify when the fish came along to save Jonah's life, where would you locate it? Have you thought of the fish as an ark, or an instrument of salvation?
  4. 4: Once seemingly in the belly of the fish, what does Jonah do? See 2:1-2, 7. What does Jonah believe about prayer? What does he believe about God in relationship to prayer? If Jonah can pray from inside a fish in the depths of the sea and have his prayer reach into the presence of God above, what encouragement is there for us in prayer? Is it our habit to pray in our despair?
  5. 5: What does Jonah vow and confess from the belly of the fish (2:9)? If you place your trust in vain idols, what do you forsake? What is the hope of steadfast love? What is the import of Jonah's confession at this point in the book, 'Salvation belongs to the Lord'? What's added to that wonderful truth in terms of application? After declaring this, what happens (2:10)? What do we make of the 'resets' God gives us to serve at His bidding? How does this episode relate to the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Luke 11) and to the obligations of our 'newness of life'?
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