Jonah tried to run away from the Lord. The Lord protected Jonah (Jonah 1:17). The Lord hadn’t given up on Jonah. God had a purpose for Jonah. What a great purpose it was! The call of God (Jonah 1:1-2) wasn’t obeyed by Jonah – but the call of God remained. God was still planning to use Jonah to bring great blessing to the people of Nineveh. Jonah’s attempt to go to Tarshish (Jonah 1:3) was a detour – but God had not forgotten His plan for Jonah. The “big fish” was the beginning of God’s way of getting Jonah to the place where He wanted him to be. The “three days and three nights” were God’s way of getting Jonah ready for being His faithful and fruitful servant. In this time of preparation for service, there is prayer (Jonah 2:1-10). Jonah’s prayer was preparing the way for revival in Nineveh.
“From inside the fish…” – Not a great place to be; Jonah prayed to the Lord our God” – Can prayer change things? – Yes! “I called to the Lord in my distress, and He answered me” (Jonah 2:1-2). Humanly speaking, Jonah’s situation was hopeless: “The deep sea covered me completely… I sank to the bottom, where bars held me forever…” Humanly speaking – Is this all that there is? – No! There is more than this. There is God: “But You brought me back from the pit, O Lord my God” (Jonah 2:5-6).
"Then the Lord spoke His Word to Jonah a second time" (Jonah 3:1). "A second time" - This is so wonderful. This is the grace of God. He doesn't give up on us. He comes to us "a second time." Jonah was to give to the people of Nineveh the message that had been given to him by the Lord (Jonah 3:2). We don't make up the message as we're going along. We speak the message that has been given to us by the Lord.
"Jonah was very upset about this, and He became angry" (Jonah 4:1). After the high points of prayer (Jonah 2 and revival (Jonah 3), we come to this! This is pathetic. It's more than being upset and angry. Jonah became suicidal (Jonah 4:8-9). Why? - There's no good reason for him to feel like this. There are good reasons for him to rejoice in the Lord and give thanks to the Lord. What are we to say about this? "The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9). There's something else we must never forget - God knows the heart, and He can change it!