Jonah 1-4, "And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice"
Let’s now see God’s act of mercy in preserving Jonah, Vs. 17, "Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights". I have met people who blame God for what they brought upon themselves. People who did terrible things that landed them even in jail and yet they stood to blame God. They cry, "why did God do this to me or why did God allow this to happen to me?" It’s the choice made by an individual that will cause them to either suffer or be safe. In this case, though Jonah brings all the calamities upon himself and deserves to die, in the midst of his foolishness God was still gracious to him and showed him mercy.
Now you might say how was God gracious to him if He had prepared a great fish to swallow him? Someone may say, “how was God gracious when he allowed me to go to prison or be down and broken?” Here is something to ponder on, something worse than where you were could have happened but His hand of mercy kept you from the worst of worse. It’s not that they could not happen, He kept them from happening. I am not better than those who have already gone to an early grave, the worst could have happened to me too but he preserved me even in the mess I was in. Jonah could have drowned without repenting and we don’t know what could have happened to him in eternity. In the sea he could had been torn into pieces by other the sea creatures but God preserved his life by allowing a great fish to swallow him that eventually He would bring him to a place of repentance.
Jonah acted what Jesus would do many years to come. Even in his foolishness and not knowing what he was doing, he was acting what Jesus would do. Jonah being in the belly of the fish three days and three nights signified what Jesus did when He died on the cross and was buried. He was in the tomb three days and on that third day He rose again and became a victor over death.
While we are still on the subject of being swallowed by fish, Jonah was covered by a lot of yucky stuff, his freedom was taken, nothing to eat, dark place, could not even move and he may have not even been aware of where he was apart from being in the belly of the fish. I think this is the time when people appreciate what they had before they landed in the worst places. A number of things could have been going through his mind in there. He had a chance to repent but he blew it, he almost drowned but God was still there to show him love and mercy. He began to evaluate his life and how he had made it this far by the grace of God.
God still loves His people and will always fight for them even when they fail because HIS LOVE IS NOT BASED ON WHAT WE DID BUT WHAT HE’S SON DID ON THE CROSS. Romans 5:8, "But God demonstrates His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us". In the midst of Jonah’s rebellion, God still preserved him. To finish. Blessings Ev