How do you know you’re a Christian? God will keep Christians forever and yet God warns them to keep going. For someone who really knows Jesus, they will see that the Bible gives warnings about giving up.
We have Jonah’s prayer from inside the fish. He views it as a kind intervention by God.
Jonah was in deep water
His description is quite horrific. He says that he was in the depth of the grave. He was facing certain death and feeling totally helpless and alone. Death is like the water. A sea of darkness coming towards us. Even though he is nearly physically dead, he says there’s something more serious going on. He’s realised that there’s a problem between him and God. It’s God’s verdict on anyone no matter who they are if they reject him. If you’re a runner from God, Jonah is showing that it’s very foolish and that God will hold you over the pit. It’s a taste of how it will be to be shut off from God forever.
God will respond to panic prayers
Jonah doesn’t express remorse about what he’s done. He still doesn’t love God that much. He only prayed because he was so distressed. He remembered the Lord when his life was drifting away. God helped and rescued. He is much more interested in you than the proof that you’re sorry. We don’t earn our way back by the quality of our apologies. Even the banished can look back. God wants to be personally welcomed back. The prayer was from a strange place in which he had ended up as a result of rejecting God.
Salvation comes from the Lord (v9). God wants to save. He always hears these prayers. Just the slightest hint that we want his help and he will hear and respond. God isn’t distant or judgmental to anyone who wants to know him. God is very committed to answering this prayer. It’s brilliantly fitting for his problem. The great fish is showing that God is always prepared to deal with sin through the most miraculous solution.
Jesus is perfect for us and the mess we have made. If you’re a real Christian, you will take Jonah’s warning that Jesus is the real God. So stop running.