Taught March 10 and 17 at church.
Jonah 2:9: "Salvation is of the LORD."
Salvation can mean temporal deliverance or eternal salvation. The Hebrew word is "yesh-oo'-aw"--almost the same as the word for Jesus ("yesh-u-a"). In Hebrew, there is here one extra letter in the word for salvation, which adds to the sense of not only physical deliverance, but all kinds of salvation. All are of the LORD.
Other verses that say the same thing: Psalm 3:8; 37:39; Acts 4:12; Rev. 7:20.
The LORD's Work
God uses the belly of a whale to bring Jonah to the necessary point of humility and repentance. A sinner will not be saved until he sees his sin, and has humility and repentance. Jonah here made a great prayer, but his prayer was not what saved him from the whale's belly--it was the LORD. Jonah 2:6--God's deliverances are so sure that we can look into the future and speak of God's mercy and deliverance in the past tense.
God's work of salvation is sure because it's founded on Christ and His work. The same God who could cause a whale to swallow and spit out a man is the same God who sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us.
Just as Jonah could take no credit for being spit out of the whale alive, we can take no credit for being plucked out of the pits of Hell. Ephesians 2:8,9. Jonah was as good as dead, and the lost are dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1)--only God's power can heal the sick and raise the dead. Only God in flesh could fulfill the law and die to pay the price of all the sins of all humanity, to defeat Hell and death.
The LORD's Will
Jonah ran off and hid from the LORD. God sought after him and used the belly of a whale to get his will in submission.
You can run away from God's will, but it won't do you any good. If you're His, God will chase after you and chastise you until you get on board with what He wants you to do.
Before Jonah could be saved from the whale, he had to be put in the whale and brought low. In the salvation of a soul, God first brings the sinner down--His Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Once the sinner's heart is humbled and turns to God in faith, God saves. Through it all, God is working in the heart of the sinner. God brings low, and God raises back up again. God's Spirit and God's law seek out and convict the sinner, and God's Christ saves the sinner through the Gospel. This happens according to God's timing. 2 Cor. 6:2. A sinner can only repent with God's drawing. John 6:44; Acts 11:18. But it is another fact that God draws all men unto Himself, and God wills all men to be saved—1 Tim. 2:4 and John 12:32.
John 1:12,13--we didn't will ourselves into salvation. We didn't seek God in our lost state. God came down and sought us and gave us the free offer of salvation, which He gave us the grace to respond to.
The LORD's Wisdom
What a strange story, that God swallowed Jonah by a whale! But this is no fancy, for the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus stand on the historicity of Jonah. Mat. 12:39-41. 1 Cor. 1:17-31. The cross seems so foolish--that God should come and die for all His creatures, as the only way to save them from Hell. But it was the only way for God to be just, and the justifier of him that believeth on Jesus (Rom. 3:26).
God's justice must punish sin. It cannot be overlooked. Josh. 24:19. Heb. 12:14. Rev. 22:14,15. God's love and mercy desire to save us, and the cross was the only way to reconcile the two. Psalm 85:10.
Eze. 11:19. Not only does God forgive our sins on the merit of Jesus Christ, who paid our penalty, when we repent and believe; He also turns our hearts to righteousness. He grants the prisoners pardon and, to be just on society, He changes the prisoners' hearts, for when we learn of the agony that Jesus endured so that we could be saved, the Spirit of God fills us with the desire to serve Him in love.
And so it was with Jonah, that his physical trouble and salvation from the whale was so shocking and foolish, that it caused him to turn around and go to Ninevah (yet, as a parallel, we see he still had to deal with his sinful flesh). Salvation causes one to stop running against God's will, and to change direction. In this sense, it's not only of the Lord, it's for the Lord. 1 Pet. 5:10.
Taught March 10 and 17 at church.