The Word Made Fresh
1Jonah prayed to the LORD from the belly of the fish. 2He said,
“I called out to the LORD in my misery, and the LORD answered.
Out of the belly of death I cried out, and you heard me!
3You threw me into the deep waters,
into the very heart of the sea.
The waters closed in around me,
all the waves and swells passed over me.
4I saw that I was pushed away from your sight
and wondered if I would ever see your holy temple again.
5The water closed in over me and I was surrounded by the deep.
Weeds from the foot of the mountains
had wrapped around my head.
6I sank down into the seafloor
and the waters closed in over me.
But you brought me back up!
You saved my life, O LORD my God!
7I called on you when my life was ebbing away,
and you heard my prayer in your holy temple.
8Some have worshiped meaningless idols
and have turned away from you to whom their loyalty belongs.
9But I will sacrifice only to you with prayers of thanksgiving.
Whatever I have promised you I will do,
for deliverance belongs to you, LORD!
10And then the LORD spoke to the fish, and it spit Jonah out upon the dry land.
1-9: A psalm of deliverance is spoken by Jonah while in the belly of the fish. You will recognize elements of Jonah’s prayer that are in common with many of the psalms: a cry of distress, a plea for deliverance, a description of the suffering the supplicant has undergone, a description of how God comes to the rescue, and an ascription of praise to God for God’s mighty deeds of deliverance.
10: God tells the fish to spit him out. Luckily, he is spat onto dry ground. Do notice how everybody and everything in the story immediately obeys whatever God says, except Jonah.
It is natural for the faithful to ask God for deliverance from difficult situations. We are told that Jonah prayed from the belly of the fish. He was already in grave danger. Perhaps we can avoid the very dangerous or difficult times in life if we simply pray for deliverance before we need to be delivered.