October 20, 2019
Scripture: Jonah 2:1-10
I. Grace is something you don’t deserve.
A. What does Jonah do as soon as he gets swallowed by the fish? He does what you or I would do. He prays (vs. 1). When Jonah prayed, he must have wondered if God would help him. He wondered for a few different reasons. First, who does it say in Jonah 1:17 sent the fish to swallow Jonah? The LORD. And then in Jonah 2:3 we read who Jonah knew had thrown him into the stormy sea. Again, it was God. Jonah knew that he was being judged by God for his rebellion, and he knew he deserved it. Why then would God save his life?
B. Jonah had been thinking that he did not need God’s grace. “Other people do. But not me.” Jonah was a Jew. He was one of God’s chosen people. And he was also a prophet of God. He was the best of the best. Now, the Ninevites, those wicked people who were guilty of state-sponsored terrorism, they needed God’s grace. But then Jonah hit rock bottom in his life. Jonah in the belly of that fish finally understood that he did not deserve God’s mercy and grace either. He deserved God’s judgment – not God’s grace. So, Jonah prayed for God to save his life.
II. Grace is realizing you can’t repair your relationship with God.
A. In verse 4 we read what Jonah thinks as he prays. While he sinks into the ocean, he prays to God, “I am driven away from your sight.” He thinks that he has now been completely rejected by God. Jonah begins thinking about a place he mentions in both verse 4 and verse 7. It is the temple in Jerusalem. What was it about the temple that gave Jonah hope? In the temple there was a box covered with gold that was in the most holy place of the temple called the ark of the covenant. On top of that ark was something called the mercy seat.
B. Exodus 25:22: “There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.” God had promised to show mercy to His people in the temple even though they had sinned and did not deserve mercy. There were no good deeds the people could do to repair their relationship with God. But God had still promised to show mercy to His people. And it was this promise of mercy that gave Jonah hope.
III. Grace is realizing how costly God’s salvation is.
A. In Jonah 2:8 Jonah prays, “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” The words steadfast love could also be translated with the words goodness, kindness, faithfulness. In short, it refers to God’s grace. God will remain faithful to us even when we sin and are unfaithful to Him. But it costs God something to forgive us. We see the cost of salvation on the Day of Atonement in from Leviticus 16:14: “And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.” It is only when the death of another secures our forgiveness that we can have a restored relationship with God. So, Christ had to shed His blood to save us.
The miracle of God’s grace is real. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
The book of Jonah
Commentaries on Jonah by Desmond Alexander and Timothy Keller