When we come to Jonah 2:7 we see a change take place. In 2:6 we left Jonah deep in despair, sinking and sinking further into the ocean, with no hope and a growing realization that he’s probably going to die soon; and at the end of 2:6 we see God save Jonah. See it? “…you brought my life up from the pit…”? It is this moment when the whole feel of the prayer radically changes in 2:7-9 says, “When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But I with the voice of thanksgiving will sacrifice to you; what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD!”
What changed in 2:7? Before from 2:2-6 Jonah was describing his dire circumstances, he was drowning, and the deeper he went into the sea the more understood the end was coming! Then in 2:7 we see Jonah begin to pray “as his life was fainting away,” or in other words “as he was losing consciousness,” and throughout these final words from Jonah’s mouth in 2:7-9, Jonah praises God for what He’s done! What a different man we see now! Jonah is no longer the silent, racist, running prophet. This trial, sent by God, has turned Jonah’s sinful attitude into praise! Who cares what kind of fish this was, Jonah is no longer a rebel!
Before I end this post, let me say one thing about Jonah’s praise here. Do you notice who he is praising? GOD! Jonah praised God for saving him, not himself. You may be thinking, well that’s a weird point to make. It may seem weird, but I think you and I praise ourselves far more than we should. Let me explain: I recently heard a song by “Mike’s Chair” on the radio that made me a bit upset. The song started out by explaining that the singer is having all sorts of hard times and trouble in his life, then the chorus comes, and says this, “Am I really something beautiful? I wanna believe that I’m not just some wandering soul, that you don’t see and you don’t know, yeah I wanna believe that I’m someone worth dying for.”
Can you tell why I got mad at this? The point of the chorus is to answer his hard times and troubles, and he answers his troubles by singing about own worth, beauty, and significance before God by saying, “I’m someone worth dying for.” To which I respond and say, WHAT!? Is this really how this guy views salvation? Is this really worship? NO! You don’t look at Jesus who lived, died, and rose to save us and then say, “Look at me, I must be lovely and beautiful to God because He saved me! I’m worth something.” You don’t say that! You say what Jonah said, “I was dying and I am now alive, praise God, praise God, praise God! Salvation is from the Lord!” You see the difference? The song’s chorus was praising man’s worth, Jonah’s prayer was praising God’s worth!
I’m not being a theological nit-picker, that song is not Christian, because Christians praise God, and get happy about God, not their own significance! Jesus does not save us so that the story of our worth, beauty, and significance could be broadcast over the whole earth. Jesus saves us so that the story of His worth, beauty, and significance can be broadcast over the whole earth!