After reading Jonah 1 and Jonah 2, do you notice how different Jonah is in chapter 2 than chapter 1? Before in chapter 1 Jonah was trying to avoid contact with God in any way he possibly could whatsoever, but here in chapter 2 we see a completely different Jonah. We see a Jonah that is not running away but a Jonah that is humble, repentant, and actually praying, asking God for help. Jonah has “manned up” to his own sin, and “manned up” to God by facing Him directly rather than continuing to run. Part of me pauses here and thinks, “Well, yeah that may be true, but where else are you going to turn when you’re treading water in the middle of a massive ocean with no help in sight?” The other part of me thinks, “Man; that had to be hard for Jonah to do. I mean, Jonah was not disobeying a motherly request to take the trash out or walk the dog, he was disobeying the God and Lord of the universe; the very God who commands obedience from creation.”
This God looks at stars after He made them and says, “All you stars, move yourself to this place and rotate in this order do this until I give you another word.” He says to the planets, “Planets pick yourself up and spin, make this formation until I give you another word.” He looks at mountains and says, “Be lifted up”, He looks at valleys and says, “Be cast down”, He looks at the sea and says, “Come this far and stop!” The stars obey Him, the planets obey Him, the mountains and valleys obey Him, even the ocean obeys Him. Yet when God looked at Jonah and said, “Go to Nineveh.” Jonah said “NO!” Who does Jonah think he is to tell God no, and run away? It’s not a small thing to disobey the God who gives you your very breath!
I really do think Jonah is being bold and honest here, and facing up to God as he ought to because Jonah knows he messed up, and notice that even though he knows he messed up bigtime (!) Jonah doesn’t let his own failure stop him from coming back to God to make things right in prayer. I wonder if you, when you’ve sinned, immediately go back to God and deal with what you’ve done, or I wonder if you think, “No, I can’t talk to God after I did that, or looked at this, or said that, or lied like that. No, I can’t go to God. I’m too dirty.” Learn from Jonah, that no matter how far you’ve gone, or no matter what you’ve done, God will always welcome you home. Look at what Jonah says in 2:1-6. He “called to the Lord” in his distressful mess, in the middle of the ocean, while the waves were crashing into him and over him, and you know what happened? 2:2 says, “I called…and He answered me.” 2:4 says, “Though I’m driven away…I shall look on your holy temple again!” 2:5-6 say, “The water closed in to take my life, it surrounded me, seaweed was even wrapping around my head down at the bottom of the ocean…yet You God…brought up my life from the pit.”
You see, Jonah had confidence that God would not only welcome him home, but rescue him from his messy sinful situation as well. I want you to have the same confidence, and be as bold in your messy-ness.