A Prayer from the Heart…of a fish!

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly, Jonah 1:17-2:1 KJV

A great fish was already prepared and awaiting the appearance of Jonah! It’s probable that this fish must have been tracking the boat for awhile under guidance from the Lord waiting patiently for its prisoner! How obedient is that compared to Yahweh’s runaway prophet?! Why did Yahweh resort to such a wonderfully spectacular and strangely exaggerated way to arrest Jonah’s flight? He could have stopped Jonah even before he boarded the ship to Tarshish! It’s reported that the name Nineveh has an obscure origin and may have probably meant the seat of Ishtar the goddess which also had the Babylonian name Nina therefore meaning house of fish. If that is so then we cannot possibly miss the act of Yahweh in causing a fish to swallow Jonah! It’s as if He’s saying Jonah won’t go to the fish then the fish will come to Jonah! Jonah was running from the house of fish and Yahweh slapped him right into the belly of the fish! Jonah is being prepared inside the belly of the fish to go back and proclaim in the house of the fish! This incident takes on a whole new and greatly significant meaning when it is made use of by the Lord as He rebuked the Jewish leaders for seeking a sign...an obvious affront, having witnessed all His works and heard all His words. Because of their rebellion and hardness of heart there would be no sign given them except that of the prophet Jonah. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here. Matthew 12:39-41 KJV Jews read the book of Jonah during the afternoon prayer service on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), the holiest day of their year. They completely miss the significance of it all as Jesus announced it in another parable like statement to them! Jonah the prophet that Jesus was wholly endorsed by Jesus and uses him to illustrate his own death and resurrection! As far as Jonah and the world were concerned he was dead. He refers to his incarceration as hell! In similar manner Jesus was in the place of the dead to all intents and purposes dead to the world. Did you know that the early Christian believers used a fish drawing as a secret sign of their allegiance? The Greek letters making up the word fish (I-ch-th-y-s) were an acrostic for the sentence Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter which transliterated means Jesus Christ of God, Son, Savior. Instead of being the verbatim prayer apparently Jonah is rehearsing to his readers the way he prayed while in the fish's belly. He states that Yahweh heard him when he cried.

What was it that he remembered about Yahweh that caused him to be confident in crying out to Him? In the fish Jonah would be totally disoriented but yet he says that he will look again towards the temple of Yahweh. But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving. Was he anticipating God's mercy or was he looking in his spirit towards the place where the presence of The Lord was? It appears that Jonah made a vow to do as God had commanded him if a merciful God would deliver him from his prison. It is indeed remarkable that God's kindness and mercy are invoked for his rescue but he is totally hardened against the lives of the inhabitants of Nineveh.Jonah's prayer from the fish's belly is based on the knowledge of God's mercy and kindness. I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD. Jonah 2:9 KJV Ironic that when Nineveh forsook their lying vanities and repented in sackcloth Jonah was angry! .