Swallowed up with the Word

May 18, 2011 at 9:31 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments
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The illustration in the children’s picture Bible seemed so accurate then. I have to laugh, though, when I think back on it now. There’s Jonah, the prophet, wearing a long robe, with his long hair and serious expression. He’s sitting on a wooden bench, with only a candle for light, intently reading his Bible, surrounded by huge white ribs and shadowy internal organs. The caption beneath the illustration proclaims that he’s in the belly of the whale.

https://swimthedeepend.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/whalejpg.jpg?w=300

When I read the Book of Jonah today I find that the swallower is not even called a whale (although Jesus referred to it as a “whale” in Matthew 12:40). In Jonah the swallower is called a “prepared fish” (prepared by the Lord.) I prefer to think it was a Megalodon shark, but what do I know?

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSwXAvZ5M4cJ-miAYavR7NoZGpdaequcDnZpPgyleFi9unosS-H

The point is, it is not likely that Jonah sat calmly on a bench reading by candlelight during his three days and three nights in the fish’s belly.

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.

Jonah 1:17

In fact, Jonah was probably squeezed in there, alone in the dark, like a man buried alive in a submarine coffin.

Thankfully, though, this did not keep Jonah from reciting the Word of God. Jonah 2:9 (“But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”) shows that Jonah had memorized Psalms 3:8 and 37:39.

There are many good reasons for memorizing Scripture (showing off is not one of them), but one of the best reasons for doing it is so that we can call out the promises of God in times of great peril. I pray that you will never find yourself in the belly of a great fish, but if you do find yourself alone and trapped and in the dark, you will be thankful if you have been long in the habit of spending time alone with God, letting Him sear upon your heart the light of His Word.

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  1. […] “your copy of God’s Word”). He does not study for the purpose of idle amusement, nor for the purpose of showing off intellectual […]

  2. […] we think of some of the heroes of the faith who were themselves broken before God, like Job, Jonah, Isaiah, David, and Peter, just to name a few – and when we recall all the times that God, in […]

  3. […] Psalm 119:15-16 (emphasis added) Delight leads to love, which leads to meditation, which leads to delight, which leads back to love, which leads to back to meditation. Study a verse with this attitude, and pretty soon you’ll have it memorized! […]

  4. […] Edom, Nahum pronounced God’s judgment against Nineveh. Nineveh was a major city of Assyria. Jonah had already gone to them, preaching repentance, and they had repented, but after a little over 100 […]

  5. […] know what’s on my heart. Before speaking, I need to make sure that I am filled up with the Word of God and with the Spirit of God, so that what comes out is helpful, not […]

  6. […] to the mighty powers of this world and defeating them when they all thought He was dead. Jonah was swallowed by a big fish and went down into the sea, which is a picture of Jesus going down into the grave and coming back […]

  7. […] have God’s word in our hands makes it imperative that we have it also saturating our minds, and hidden in our hearts. It is likewise imperative that we live according to its principles, […]

  8. […] in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is […]

  9. […] repented under the preaching of Jonah, but after a while the Ninevites went back to their old ways, and when Nahum and the other prophets […]

  10. […] Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. […]

  11. […] don’t want our kids to think of a cartoon man and a cartoon whale, and definitely not a cucumber swimming around with a talking […]


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