September 18, 2019
Bulletin for Sunday 22nd September, 2019
September 19, 2019

CHURCH OF NIGERIA (Anglican Communion)


Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, GRA – Ikeja



The Book of Jonah, Chapter 2.

A reminder- Lessons from previous study- Jonah 1

  1. We learnt that God’s message came to Jonah and then he went in opposite direction of where he was sent to go. Meaning: it is very easy to hear God, know His will and still do otherwise.
  2. We learnt that God called on Jonah to go to Nineveh because He saw the wickedness of the people. Meaning: God can see. He sees everyone; there is no pretence before Him. He sees those who are wicked as well as those who are righteous.
  3. We learnt that out of what God provided for Jonah he took to buy his ticket to go to Tarshish. Meaning: It is quite easy to abuse God’s provision and resources in our lives when we use them to pursue our own agenda rather than God’s agenda.
  4. We learnt that Jonah’s sleeping in the boat was not just a physical sleep but a spiritual sleep. If it were just physical sleep, the storm would have woken him up with others.
  5. We learnt that until Jonah was removed from the boat, the boat had no peace. Meaning: there could be some ‘JONAHs’ we must cast out of our lives in order to have peace and progress. Hope you have identified yours?


Introduction: When we left Jonah at the end of chapter one, it is fair to say he was in a serious trouble. The Lord had given a specific great fish a new task – swallow Jonah! The fish had been obedient and did its job well. Now you would think that would be the end of the story, but Chapter two presents to us a merciful God who does not desire the death of a sinner. When God’s mercy is at work, things often take a new shape.

There are some remarkable comebacks in the Bible. When men and women in the Bible have found themselves in situations where, under normal circumstances, should really be the end of them or at least they should never had been restored to such a position that they did achieve? Example is Jonah. Thank God that He is the God of comebacks. As we see with Jonah’s experience here, any great comeback is going to start with prayer. Prayer brings God into the circumstance. It matters not where the prayer comes from. Even the belly of a great fish is not too far gone to still pray and find deliverance.

The Highlights

  1. THEN, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the inside of the fish’ v 1
  • A HARDENED HEART– ‘THEN, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the inside of the fish’ v 1

Notice the word ‘then’. This literally means – ‘after Jonah found himself in the fish’s belly, then he prayed to the Lord’ or ‘When Jonah found himself in the fish’s belly then he prayed….’.  All along, Jonah saw no reason to pray to God. Even when the sailor came to him and begged him to pray, He did not pray- 1:6. He only thought of praying when he saw death face to face.

What does this mean to us?

  1. We must not wait until the worst happens before we remember to pray.
  2. Prayer should not be our last option in facing issues of life.
  • Prayer is not a wish, you do not pray until you pray.

The Basis of Jonah’s prayers

  1. The prayer was born out of material loss: At this time, He had lost all. Do you know that some people would never have served God if they were rich?
  2. The prayer was born out of affliction than affection: He cried out to God because he was in danger, not because he delighted in the Lord. At this point, Jonah wants God’s will simply because it’s the only way out of his dangerous plight. Like too many people today, Jonah saw the will of God as something to turn to in an emergency, not something to live by every day of one’s life.

Question: is it possible to change God’s mind through prayer?

  1. Jonah 2:2saying, “I called out to the LORD, out of my distress, and he answered me; out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice.
  • Jonah prayed and he received answer even in the belly of a fish. How great is it when God answers? One of our fears in place of prayer is the assurance of whether God would answer or not. Look! God still answers prayer. Where and how we pray should not be an issue, the ultimate is God wants us to pray. 1 John 5:14-15
  • THE IRONY OF LIFE– As God dropped Jonah into the depths, He was reminding him of what the people of Nineveh were going through in their sinful condition: they were helpless and hopeless. In this verse, you will notice Jonah was happy that God saved him but he was sad that the people of Nineveh could enjoy the same. (kenimani Eda)
  • Do not stop the flow of God’s mercy on anyone- be a good channel of blessing


Question: how often do we tend to close the door of blessings on others because we don’t want them to become like us?

  1. Jonah 2:3-4“For You had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me. All Your breakers and billows passed over me. (4) “So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. Nevertheless I will look again toward Your holy temple.’

God’s Chastisement- The sailors didn’t cast Jonah into the stormy sea; God did. The sea men might have thrown Jonah overboard but he still knew that behind it all God was directing their actions


  • Of course, we should not forget that God can and does cast us into the deep sea at times. These are times when wave upon wave of difficulties and troubles come our way. But remember again – When God casts us into the deep sea it is to strengthen our faith and those difficult times are truly ‘mercies in disguise’
  • How we respond to discipline determines how much benefit we receive from it. According to Heb 12:5-11, we have several options: we can despise God’s discipline and fight (v. 5): we can be discouraged and faint (v. 5); we can resist discipline and invite stronger discipline, possibly even death (v. 9); or we can submit to the Father and mature in faith and love (v. 7). Discipline is to the believer what exercise and training are to the athlete (v. 11); it enables us to run the race with endurance and reach the assigned goal (vv. 1-2).


Questions: a. Do you think God cannot save Nineveh without Jonah going there? Can we say Jonah was indispensable to God? Despite his reluctance, God ensured he went

  1. How can one differentiate between God’s discipline and God’s wrath?
  2. Jonah 2:5-6“Water encompassed me to the point of death. The great deep engulfed me; Weeds were wrapped around my head. (6) “I descended to the roots of the mountains. The earth with its bars was around me forever, but You have brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God.
  • Jonah had been going only in one direction since the hour he rebelled against God’s plan for his life. He went “down to Joppa” and “down into the sides of the ship” (1:3,5). Now he was going “down to the bottoms of the mountains” (2:6); and at some point, the great fish met him, and he went down into the fish’s belly (1:17). When you turn your back on God, the only direction you can go is down.
  • God is capable of bring us up from our pit. What pit are you in now as a result of disobedience to God? Pit represents problems, bondages and afflictions. Some of the pains we see around us are self-made. Nevertheless, we have a God who can deliver us.
  1. Jonah 2:7-9“While I was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to You, Into Your holy temple. (8) “Those who regard vain idols forsake their faithfulness, (9) But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving. That which I have vowed I will pay. Salvation is from the LORD.”



  • At this point of self judgement and reflection, Jonah realises that his running from God had resulted in emptiness
  • We can faint at any stage of life and under any trial or struggle, but when you are tempted to faint, remember God.
  • Now, Jonah admits that there were idols in his life that robbed him of the blessing of God. An idol is anything that takes away from God the affection and obedience that rightfully belongs only to Him. One such idol was Jonah’s intense patriotism. He was so concerned for the safety and prosperity of his own nation that he refused to be God’s messenger to their enemies the Assyrians. We shall learn from chapter 4 that Jonah was also protecting his own reputation (4:2).

Question: what are the idols that are common among Christians today?

  1. Jon 2:10And the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.

Back from the dead… A good vomit! A sign of God’s redemption

  • Finally we see that our obedient fish, which did exactly what the Lord asked in swallowing Jonah, is equally obedient in giving him up! We see cases in the bible where animals had showed their loyalty to God at the point Men were obviously showing their disloyalty-e.g- Balaam and his donkey Num 22:21-39
  • Everything has ear to ear God. Trees, Mark 11: 12 – 25; Mountains, Mark 11:23; even our problems.
  • In Chapter 1, Jonah paid his fare to Tarshish but in Chapter 2 God paid for him to get to Nineveh. This tells us that when we pursue our selfish ambition, we are bound to pay heavily for it but when it is God’s mission, He is always ready to finance his mission and make it easy for us

Question: God commanded the fish; it obeyed immediately while he commanded Jonah and he disobeyed. Why is it difficult for man to obey instruction easily?

Conclusion:    The summary of lessons this passage teaches about God

  • God is omnipresent. We cannot escape from Him.
  • He hears the cries of His children.
  • He disciplines His children.
  • He not only sometimes throws us into difficult situations, but He creates those situations for our good.
  • He has the capacity to change every situation.
  • He is in charge of creation, and it obeys Him.
  • Even while we are wrong, God still cares
  • He is holy and merciful
  • He answers prayer
  • Salvation is from Him.
  • Repentance is the prerequisite for God’s restoration.
  • Prayer is a potent weapon of deliverance.


Hymn- What a friend we have in Jesus

  1. What a friend we have in Jesus,

All our sins and grief to bear!

What a privilege to carry

Everything to God in prayer

Oh, what peace we often forfeit,

Oh, what needless pain we bear,

All because we do not carry

Everything to God in prayer!


  1. Have we trials and temptations?

Is there trouble anywhere?

We should never be discouraged

Take it to the Lord in prayer

Can we find a friend so faithful,

Who will all our sorrows share?

Jesus knows our every weakness;

Take it to the Lord in prayer.









Prophet Jonah,  the son of Amittai of the tribe of Zebulun of the northern kingdom of Israel, lived in the city of Gath-Hepher, about four miles north of Nazareth during the reign of Jeroboam II (793-753 B. C.) 2 Kngs.14:25. He was a lover of Israel and one of the only four writing prophets ( Isaiah, Daniel, and Zechariah) that Jesus mentioned by name during His earthly ministry, he was the only one sent to preach to the Gentiles at that time and the only prophet that rejected his commission, and ran away from God.

On separate occasions, there had been declarations of punishments upon the land of Israel from popular prophets like Hosea and  Amos who were Jonah’s contemporaries due to their rebellion, and that the nation of Assyria would be used for the woes that will come the nation of Israel. This made the hatred an average Israel had for Assyria to increase and all the Israel wished for Assyria was destruction, hence Jonah, finds excuses in going down to Nineveh with a message of mercy, salvation and deliverance. This chapter has a parallel expression in the Jesus of the Bible, but the difference is that, while Jesus was willingly succumbed to the will of the Father, Jonah the central character of the book and a metaphor of a savior did not.




The command of God, The disobedience or resistance of Jonah, The storm, the violent wind, the sailor’s fear, dilemma, blame game, the distress call, the confrontation, the shedding of weight, the enquiry, casting lot, the confession, casting forth into the sea, calming of the sea, God’s providence, the sacrifice and vows.





The word of God came to Jonah son of Amittai- 1:1


The instructions to Jonah were clear- go to the land of Nineveh and preach it because of its wickedness which has come to the Lord. God is always in the business of talking to believers and this still comes to us every day and everywhere- Gen.7:1,8:15; Hos.1:1,2; Heb.1:1,2; Ps.143:8; Is.30:21. The word of the Lord is everywhere we go and wherever we turn to, we will find Him speaking. The question is, what will you make of His word as you heard Him speak to you?


‘’Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.’’ 1:2

God was not interested in judging the people of Nineveh. He had to first provide an escape for the Nineveh. Rather His mercy is always calling out to all forms of wickedness. His love suffers long. He waits patiently for the sinner to have a change of heart.


He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed to Tarshishi to flee from the Lord- 1:3


Mortal man always finds a way round the will of God- Gen.3:1ff; 1Sam.15:7-9. Jonah expected his thought towards Nineveh to be God’s thought and having found out to be otherwise- Is.55:8, he did not find this will of God comforting and he ran away. Many people are running away today from the presence and will of God. Many people don’t want to have anything to do with God. He used his money to board a ship. Many times we use our resources in the wrong direction. We use it to go against the will of God. We use our resources to do things that do not conform to the will and purpose of God for our lives. Jonah was a typical representation of modern man who uses his resources to fight God and disobey Him.


Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. But Jonah had gone below deck, where he lay down and fell into a deep sleep- 1:4,5


Jonah was in the ship when the violent wind began. There is always a consequence for all acts of disobedience and sometimes not only the disobedient person suffers, several other people also suffer with him. In the case of Jonah, it was the Lord who sent a violent wind to the ship. In the midst of this confusion, all the people in the ship began to cry out to their gods. The ship is the life we live. The confusion in the world today is because the children of God are not doing the will of God. The confusion in Nigeria for instance is because many of us are little Jonahs who have refused to do the will of God. Until we repent Nigeria may never get it right. The trouble in the county is a reflection of the disobedience of the children of God. Are we ever ready for divine discipline and redirection?


The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” 1:6


The truth is that the people of the world know that the solution to the problem of the world is in the hands of believers. The sailor came to Jonah having tried in vain to calm the ship and asked him to call on his God. Unfortunately Jonah was in deep sleep and He was below the deck. Many believers are far gone into sleep. Many of us know the right thing and we know we are the solution to the crisis around us but we have become lethargic and gone too far into the world system that we have become useless. But then the people were not deceived. They knew Jonah had the solution and they came to him to call on his God. The world is waiting for us to call on our God perhaps he would have mercy on the world. We are the instrument of change. Jonah was the instrument of change though he ran away from God.


Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” 1:7, 8


By the time they got Jonah’s attention they began to ask series of question from him. These questions carry some great significance. In the first place they cast lot and the lot fell on Jonah. These people were superstitious people. But then God still allowed that circumstance to teach Jonah a lesson. Every believer must have to answer to the questions of the sailors; Who is responsible for this trouble?

Is it the who question or the what? The who question situates the source of our problem in people while the what question situates our problem in what went amiss. For the sailors, it was not about the ship being faulty. It was not about not being able to sail well. It was not a mechanical fault or the fault of the inclement weather. They were so discerning to know that the source of the problem was a person not the surrounding circumstances.

The next question to Jonah is; what kind of work do you do? We must pause to ask ourselves this question: What is our trade? What do we lawfully do for a living? One day, we will have to answer that question whether we like it or not. The world system is built in a way that throws up this question again and again. If your work does not glorify God, you are part of the problem of the world. Jonah was a preacher of the gospel but he was living in disobedience. There will also come a time when people will want to know where we come from. It may look harmless, but where you come from and the kind of person you are will determine what happens to you in life. What is it about your tribe and its disposition and love for other tribes?

He answered, “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 1:9


This is a turning point for Jonah. He had woken from his slumber and was alive to his person and responsibility. It is one thing to be deep in sin and disobedience. It is another thing to come out of it and come to our senses. In the case of Jonah he came to his senses. He declared his identity. He declared the God he serves. He declared that he serves the God that made the sea and the dry land. What a great declaration! Jonah had come back to his senses- Dan.4:34,37. It does not matter how far we have gone, when the chips are down we must wake up and confess the Lordship of God.



This terrified them and they asked, “What have you done?” (They knew he was running away from the Lord, because he had already told them so. The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us. Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” 1:10-12


This was perhaps the most trying period in the life of Jonah. He was faced with imminent death.  But he had to sacrifice his life for others to live. That is exactly what Jesus did. He had to sacrifice his life for our sins. In the case of Jonah he gave his life so that the ship will be calm and the people will be saved. He realized that it was his fault. He confessed it and was ready for the consequence. It is expected that believers should come to the realization that the solution to the crisis around them lies in their hands. If all believers live in the will of God, the world will be a better place. Jonah declared, Pick me up and throw me into the sea. He admitted his fault and proffered solution to stem the storm.


Instead, the men did their best to row back to land. But they could not, for the sea grew even wilder than before. Then they cried out to the Lord, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life. Do not hold us accountable for killing an innocent man, for you, Lord, have done as you pleased.” Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the Lord, and they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made vows to him- 1:13-16.


This confirms that salvation cannot be procured without Jesus’ supreme sacrifice. The world can’t save itself from pending destruction. The world needs a savior. That is what is demonstrated in the scripture here. The men did not want to sacrifice Jonah. They tried their best to row back to land. The human effort they are making would not save them or calm the tempest until Jonah was thrown into the sea. The way of God for the salvation of man is different from the way of man. Jonah paid a fare but Jesus paid with His Blood.



Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights- 1:17.


This scripture brings to mind the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was in the belly of the earth for three days and three nights just like Jonah. It is instructive to note that there is a connection between Jonah and Jesus. The two of them are saviors of some sort. One saved a country, the other saved the world. One was in the belly of the fish; the other was in the belly of the earth. One was obedient the other was disobedient and was forced by circumstances to obey. The link between the two: Jesus and Jonah underscore the mercy of the Lord for sinners.



This chapter has established the fact that God alone is sovereign, He is always right and also the fact that whoever stands in the way of working towards the accomplishment of His important task will be displeasing to Him.



  1. When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.



Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.


  1. Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet.
    Or we’ll walk by His side in the way.
    What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
    Never fear, only trust and obey.



Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.














Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × 2 =