The Deep, Deep Mercy of God – Jonah 1:17-2:10
17 And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
2 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the belly of the fish, 2 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.
3 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.
4 Then I said, ‘I am driven away
from your sight;
yet I shall again look
upon your holy temple.’
5 The waters closed in over me to take my life;
the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
6 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.
7 When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the Lord,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
8 Those who pay regard to vain idols
forsake their hope of steadfast love.
9 But I with the voice of thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
Salvation belongs to the Lord!”
10 And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
In our passage, we encounter a desperate, disobedient, prophet who is knocking on death’s door—despairing of life, distanced from God, and yet needing His merciful intervention. And what we find in this powerful passage—most of it a prayer offered by Jonah himself—is that no matter how deep our despair might be, the mercy of God is deeper still. No matter how significant our sin is, the grace of God is sufficient to cover it.