Morning Moments

with Sandra Bivens Smith

Lessons From Jonah

1 Comment

AnchorThen Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, (Jonah 2:1)

Lesson 3 – Confession.

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice. For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the flood surrounded me; all your waves and your billows passed over me. Then I said, ‘I am driven away from your sight; yet I shall again look upon your holy temple.’ The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains. I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God. 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!” (Jonah 2:1-9)

Jonah found himself on a ship in the middle of a fierce and deadly storm,

as if that wasn’t bad enough

Jonah was hurled into the ocean to be consumed by the sea, an experience he compares to being in the pit of hell,

and as if that wasn’t bad enough

Jonah found himself in the belly of a fish.

Jonah went about as deep into despair as any man could imagine.  Finally, he prayed to God, and what a prayer it was.  Jonah’s prayer is one of brokenness and humility.  It’s a prayer of confession and repentance.  It’s a prayer of deliverance.

As we look back over the events of Jonah’s life, I think we can all relate to Jonah’s experience of despair.  You know, that rude awakening, cold water in the face point when you realize that you are helpless. That point of being hopeless; until you remember God.

I hope you’ll bear with me but we’ve come to a place in the lesson where I need to preach.

“Why do we do the things we do?  We find ourselves in bad situations, either by our own doing or by life’s circumstances; the reasons don’t matter.  But, there we are and we wring our hands and we fret and worry.  We turn this way and that, we look for advice from our family and friends (advice which, by the way, we seldom follow).  All the while, things continue to get worse.  Finally, we realize we don’t know what to do, because there isn’t anything we can do; everything has spun completely out of control.  And so, we do what Jonah did – we get down on our knees, humble ourselves before the Lord and confess our need to our God.  I have a question for us.  Why don’t we start there?  We would save ourselves so much wear and tear if we would begin with God.”

Throughout biblical history, we see what happens when man does it his way before he does it God’s way.  Time and again scripture says:  “then he cried to the Lord”.  Read Psalms 107, it’s a pretty good picture of what I’m talking about; pay special attention to the last verse-

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD. (Psalms 107:43)

You’ve seen what happened when Jonah ran from God.  Has God called you to do something you don’t want to do?  Have you decided to rebel rather than surrender?  Have you convinced yourself that God loves you so much that He really wouldn’t want you to do something that may be unpleasant.  Learn from Jonah.

You’ve watched as Jonah was disciplined by God.  Ask yourself, “is it worth it”?  Is having your own way so important to you that you’re willing to risk the discipline of God?  Learn from Jonah.

You’ve seen Jonah crying out to God.  This is where we came in today.  Jonah recognized his sin and confessed it to his God.  Sooner or later we all end up in Jonah, chapter 2 – why not go there first?  Learn from Jonah.



Final Thoughts

This study series is called “Lessons From Jonah”.  We’ve got more lessons to be studied but I pray that you’re not waiting until the end of the study to start learning.  I hope you’re not just piling up words thinking you’ll get back to them later.  As most of you know, the foundational scripture of my ministry is Isaiah 55:11

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

If you’re following this study, or even if this is the only lesson in the series you’ve read, you can be sure that you’re not here by accident.  God has brought you and me to the book of Jonah for a purpose.  Why wait for another time?  Open your mind and heart and ask God to show you today, His purpose for bringing you into this place in history, let Him reveal to you what He wants you to learn from the life of Jonah.  I promise, you won’t be sorry.

From time to time, I am led to share on this site the gospel of salvation.  If you have never confessed Jesus Christ as your Saviour and submitted to Him as your Lord, the bible says you are not His child and therefore have no hope of eternal life with God.

And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:11-12)


But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
(John 1:12)


There is only one way to God, that way is through faith in Christ Jesus.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

If you are ready to accept His free gift of salvation, all you need to do is ask.  You don’t have to pray any special formulated prayer, you just need to pray from your heart –

  • confess you are a sinner
  • admit you need a savior
  • agree that salvation is only by the finished work of Christ
  • commit your life and your will to Christ.

If you have taken this step, please let me hear from you.  I would like to pray for you and help you in any way I can as you begin your new life in Christ.

Author: Sandra Bivens Smith

Christian Writer Speaker Small Group Leader/Teacher

One thought on “Lessons From Jonah

  1. Beautiful study lesson. I love your passion for our Lord.


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