Jonah said: “In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me. From the depths of the grave I called for help, and you listened to my cry. You hurled me into the deep, 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 brought my life up from the pit, O LORD my God. “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 forfeit the grace that could be theirs. But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD.”
It seems impossible for someone to survive for hours and even days inside a great fish. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jonah. Our Bible reading for today is a summary of Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish. With a miracle of God Jonah survived, and by a command of God the fish vomited him onto dry land.
It seems impossible for someone to lie dead in the grave for hours and even days, and then come out alive again forever. But it’s true, for that is what the Bible says happened to Jesus. Jesus even predicted that he would be in the heart of the earth just as Jonah was in the belly of the fish (Matthew 12:40). When Jesus suffered hell for us on the cross, banished from the sight of God the Father, he could have easily prayed this prayer of Jonah.
With a miracle of God, Jesus rose from the dead. And as Christians face their own deaths, they can pray this prayer of Jonah. We call for help and Jesus listens to our cry. He brings our life back from the pit. Because Jesus lives, we will live. We do not cling to worthless idols. Instead, we bask in the grace of God, his undeserved love for us in Christ Jesus.
Even when Christians do not think they are near death, they sing songs of thanksgiving and make their lives a living sacrifice for the Lord God who saves them.
With a song of thanksgiving, I will sacrifice to you, O LORD, because salvation comes from you. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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