Rebel on the Run (Just Another Fish Story) - Part 2

May 10, 2019 Preacher: Brian Cozzens Series: Guest Speakers

Topic: Foundations Scripture: Jonah 2:1– 3:10

Home Group Study - Sermon Date: 10 May 2019

Text: Jonah 2:1-10

Opening Discussion: What is your favourite fish to eat? While some people don’t like fish at all, many do. Fish can be delicious if prepared properly or it can be terrible if not. Have you ever vomited because of a fish dish you have eaten? Share your story.


Jonah’s prayer in chapter 2 is a poetic description of his deliverance from drowning. The great fish’s vomit proved to be Jonah’s divinely appointed means of deliverance (2:10). One can only imagine the thoughts which must have passed through Jonah’s mind as he was swallowed up by the fish. As he sank below the surface of the water, Jonah knew that he was certain to drown (2:2-7). In his last conscious moments, he cried to the Lord for deliverance. God not only sometimes throws us into difficult situations, but He creates those situations for our good. Jonah acknowledged his desperate condition and his needy state, and his desire to return again to the Lord.

Suddenly, everything went black. As Jonah regained consciousness, imagine the horror of his first sensations: the feel of the stomach lining of the fish pressing about him; irritation of the acidic stomach juices of the fish beginning to bleach his skin; the foul smell of the place; the passing-through of the normal diet of the fish; the darkness of this place. In time, Jonah must have realized that this fish was not the means of his destruction, but the means of his deliverance. His prayer for deliverance had been heard by God. He was to live. The Lord proved His sovereignty in having the fish vomit Jonah up onto dry land. He is in charge of creation, and it obeys Him. Jonah knew that the Lord, alone, had saved him.

Jonah’s prayer, recorded in verses 2-9, was composed in the stomach of the fish and later recorded for our edification. Nowhere is outside of the Lord’s presence, and He always hears the prayers of His children. He is omnipresent. We cannot escape from Him. He is holy. Salvation is from Him.

Investigation & Interpretation:

  • Read: Jonah 2:1-10
  1. What did Jonah ask God for in his prayer in verse 1-9?
  2. What was Jonah’s conclusion about his proximity to God after he was cast into the sea? Was his conclusion accurate? v.4
  3. What is verse 5 describing?
  4. According to verse 7, when did Jonah remember the Lord?
  5. What is the consequence of looking to idols for deliverance? v.8
  6. What was Jonah’s sacrifice to the Lord? v.9
  7. Where is salvation from? v.9
  8. What was the Lord’s response when Jonah made this confession of faith? v.10


How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

Some commentators say that chapter 2 offers no evidence of Jonah’s spiritual repentance because it focuses on Jonah’s physical deliverance from death by drowning. What then is repentance? Is repentance a revelation of our own sin and self righteousness, or is it a change of heart?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

Jonah’s prayer reveals his disdain for Gentiles and a smug self-righteousness as an Israelite. We have already been informed of the faith of the Gentile sailors in chapter 1, and of their obedience to all that they knew they were to do. What lessons can we learn from Jonah about grace, love, mercy and prejudice?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

While Jonah was quick to condemn the idolatry of the Gentiles (Jonah 2:8), Jonah failed to recognize that his disobedience was as offensive to God as the idolatry of the heathen. How would you define self-righteousness?


Jonah symbolizes the stubborn rebellion of God’s people, Israel. Just as Jonah disobeyed God’s commands, Israel disobeyed God’s law. Just as Jonah refused to carry out his task of preaching to the Gentiles, so did the nation Israel. Just as Jonah called on God for deliverance, yet without genuine repentance, so did Israel. Just as Jonah had the outward trappings of righteousness, the right forms and the right terms, but lacked genuine righteousness, so did Israel. The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day typify this same willfulness and rebellion. 

The salvation of Jonah reminds us that salvation is all of the Lord. There is nothing we can do to earn our forgiveness. God’s means of saving us are not those we would have chosen. We should never presume upon God’s grace or use it as an excuse to sin.  

Trusting in the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of sins is the only way we can be delivered from the judgment to come and enter into eternal life. Jesus Christ is the only means which God has provided for man’s eternal salvation. If you have not experienced His salvation, you may have to be brought very low, as low as Jonah, so that any means of salvation is gladly received.


Prayer Points:  

  1. Pray that NLC would love the grace of God and not use it as an excuse for disobedience.
  2. Pray that we would not presume on God’s grace and pray to him only when we are in distress.
  3. Pray that God would protect us from a self righteous hypocritical attitude by ignoring our own sin, while recognising sin in others.

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