November 26, 2021

God's Provision Is Our Protection

Jonah 1-4

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Jonah Flees the Presence of the LORD

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil 1 has come...

Jonah Flees the Presence of the LORD

Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil 1 has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD.

But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up. Then the mariners were afraid, and each cried out to his god. And they hurled the cargo that was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone down into the inner part of the ship and had lain down and was fast asleep. So the captain came and said to him, “What do you mean, you sleeper? Arise, call out to your god! Perhaps the god will give a thought to us, that we may not perish.”

Jonah Is Thrown into the Sea

And they said to one another, “Come, let us cast lots, that we may know on whose account this evil has come upon us.” So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. Then they said to him, “Tell us on whose account this evil has come upon us. What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” And he said to them, “I am a Hebrew, and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” 10 Then the men were exceedingly afraid and said to him, “What is this that you have done!” For the men knew that he was fleeing from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.

11 Then they said to him, “What shall we do to you, that the sea may quiet down for us?” For the sea grew more and more tempestuous. 12 He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you, for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you.” 13 Nevertheless, the men rowed hard 2 to get back to dry land, but they could not, for the sea grew more and more tempestuous against them. 14 Therefore they called out to the LORD, “O LORD, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not on us innocent blood, for you, O LORD, have done as it pleased you.” 15 So they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased from its raging. 16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.

A Great Fish Swallows Jonah

17  3 And the LORD appointed 4 a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah's Prayer

Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the belly of the fish, saying,

“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.
For you cast me into the deep,
    into the heart of the seas,
    and the flood surrounded me;
all your waves and your billows
    passed over me.
Then I said, ‘I am driven away
    from your sight;
yet I shall again look
    upon your holy temple.’
The waters closed in over me to take my life;
    the deep surrounded me;
weeds were wrapped about my head
    at the roots of the mountains.
I went down to the land
    whose bars closed upon me forever;
yet you brought up my life from the pit,
    O LORD my God.
When my life was fainting away,
    I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
    into your holy temple.
Those who pay regard to vain idols
    forsake their hope of steadfast love.
But I with the voice of thanksgiving
    will sacrifice to you;
what I have vowed I will pay.
    Salvation belongs to the LORD!”

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

Jonah Goes to Nineveh

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, 5 three days' journey in breadth. 6 Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The People of Nineveh Repent

The word reached 7 the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God. Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from his fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.

Jonah's Anger and the LORD's Compassion

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, 8 and he was angry. And he prayed to the LORD and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. Therefore now, O LORD, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the LORD said, “Do you do well to be angry?”

Jonah went out of the city and sat to the east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, till he should see what would become of the city. Now the LORD God appointed a plant 9 and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. 10 So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.” But God said to Jonah, “Do you do well to be angry for the plant?” And he said, “Yes, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die.” 10 And the LORD said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labor, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. 11 And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”


[1] 1:2 The same Hebrew word can mean evil or disaster, depending on the context; so throughout Jonah
[2] 1:13 Hebrew the men dug in [their oars]
[3] 1:17 Ch 2:1 in Hebrew
[4] 1:17 Or had appointed
[5] 3:3 Hebrew a great city to God
[6] 3:3 Or a visit was a three days' journey
[7] 3:6 Or had reached
[8] 4:1 Hebrew it was exceedingly evil to Jonah
[9] 4:6 Hebrew qiqayon, probably the castor oil plant; also verses 7, 9, 10
[10] 4:6 Or his evil

God's Provision Is Our Protection

Key Verse | Jonah 1:17a

And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah.

Bio | Lauren Iriarte

Hey, y'all! My name is Lauren. I've been married to Will nearly five years, and we have a spunky 3½-year-old who keeps us on our toes! I love coffee, writing, and rainy afternoons. Bonus for all three at once! My prayer for you today is that you would understand just how much God hears us, loves us, and wants the best for us. Let's dive in!

Central Truth

God always offers provision for us, even if it might not seem ideal at the time. The Lord can deliver us; He will deliver us; and when He delivers us, He will place us exactly where we need to be.

Devotional | Jonah 1-4

In Jonah 1:17, we learn that God provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah—yes, He provided a fish. When the options are to drown in the ocean or to be swallowed by a fish to avoid death, that fish is...

In Jonah 1:17, we learn that God provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah—yes, He provided a fish. When the options are to drown in the ocean or to be swallowed by a fish to avoid death, that fish is God's provision. Has there been a fish situation in your life? Maybe nothing was going right and none of your options seemed good at the time, but God provided something that ended up bringing you closer to Him? I can relate!

Not long ago, I found myself in my own "fish belly"—my marriage was on the rocks and divorce was on the table, but God used a tough season to bring both my husband and myself closer to Him. That season didn't seem like a great provision at the time, but when the other option was divorce, it absolutely was.

In Jonah 2:1, we learn that Jonah prayed while he was inside the fish. He prayed when his circumstances were at their worst: he was in the belly. Of. A. Fish! He trusted that God was listening. And God was listening. He is always listening.

I love Jonah's prayer in Jonah 2:2-9. I can identify with Jonah 2:5 (NIV): "The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head." I can relate to the phrase "engulfing waters." Sometimes, it feels like the hits just keep coming.

Finally, in Jonah 2:10, we learn that God commanded the fish to vomit Jonah onto dry land. Okay, kinda gross, but there is so much packed into this verse. God commanded the fish—He is in control of everything, all the time. He provided the fish to swallow Jonah, and He never lost control of that situation. Nor did He forget about Jonah. And the fish vomited Jonah onto dry land, yet another provision.

God will always offer provision for us, and He will always deliver us at the right time, at the right place, and to safety.

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Discussion Questions

1. Has God ever provided a "fish belly" in your life? What was your response at the time?

2. What situations in your life can you now look back on and see how the Lord provided?

3. Are you facing less-than-ideal circumstances right now? How can you respond in a way that could honor God's intention of bringing you closer to Him through this ordeal?

4. Do you doubt that all of God's plans for you are good? Check out Jeremiah 29:11-14.

8 Comments available

Linda Green about 1 year ago

Thanks for sharing the encouragement of your “fish-belly” deliverance story, Lauren. My challenge, like Jonah, is to rejoice in God’s goodness when His perfect answer is “No”, or “Not your way, Linda”.

Have been reflecting on the similarities in the circumstances of Jonah and Jesus and their differing responses to God’s call (Matthew 12:38-41). This “spiritual Ninevite” is so thankful Jesus always said “Yes!” to His Father!

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

What would you pray in the dark for 3 days?

Jonah quotes from the book of Psalms a lot in his whale of a problem

Psalm 3 David is on the run due to his own sin from Absolom. Jonah is on the run and yet God is the lifter of his head and Jonah will end his prayer with ‘salvation is of the Lord’

Psalm 42 The deer may pant for water but Jonah has plenty. He still quotes part of Psalm 42. All your waters break over me.

Psalm 18, 32, 51, 69 also quoted.

Jonah is a piece of work and an unfinished one. The book ends honestly with Jonah unfashioned, God merciful and in control having shown scandalously generous mercy to the gentiles in Jonah’s sight.

Michael Scaman about 1 year ago

Jonah was in conflict and in the book his conflict was never resolved.

God warned of a very much deserved long in coming judgement of gentile Ninevah. Jonah knew God’s character was merciful and long suffering and God sending Jonah in person somehow meant God might relent if they repented.

He heard “Go cry against the great city of Nineveh” an extension of mercy if they repented and Jonah didn’t like it.

Jonah took things into his own hands he thought, but learned things are in God’s hands.

(God does judge Ninevah and Nahum will prophesy that it’s walls will fall, it’s soldiers flee, there is a flood and fire and all will happen in the future and all happened eventually, for now God will warn and extend mercy and Jonah did not like it).

Sue Bohlin about 1 year ago

Super devo, Lauren!

I’m thinking about that great question we always need to keep in mind when reading the Word: What does this teach us about God? And in Jonah, there is this MASSIVE contrast between the goodness and compassion of God, who cares about His enemies, and the self-centered, unjustified anger of Jonah, who gripes at his God for being so ridiculously kind and loving. I had not noticed before that Jonah throws God’s own identity from Exodus 34 in His face like an insult: “You’re compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in loyal love and faithfulness!” As the Bible Project points out, there’s disgust in Jonah’s voice.

Man, do we need to repent of our Jonah-ness and throw ourselves on the mercy of our good good God!

Greg Jones about 1 year ago


2-references to the Leviathan in Job. Job3 is Job’s lament, we know that Job’s troubles come just to test the theory of an accusation, Job only worships because of a hedge of protection. Job’s lament-let those who rouse Leviathan curse the day I was born.

Jonah would rather die than preach to Nineveh, he nearly does. Those who served him on the ship worship God when they see his death as saving them.

Job41-God basically ask Job, “who are you? what match are you against this monster?” The description of Leviathan would have fit Jonah’s Nineveh. Who was Israel? and what match were they against Nineveh?

Job received back wealth and replacement children. Jonah sees the people who could be the source of something like what Job experienced saved.

Doubting the reality of a fish I imagine my experiences/actions/thoughts, into scriptures like Jonah and Job.

Greg Jones about 1 year ago


“Let’s dive in”

I caught that, made me chuckle.

Q1)Do you doubt that all of God’s plans for you are good?

I would say I’m more like Job-sometimes I just don’t know why some bad things happen. I’m okay with that doubt. My other choice is to be not ok with doubt.

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

2 of 2

Bible Project on Jonah

Got Questions on Jonah – Don’t miss these fascinating details.

Priscilla Shirer on Jonah. “Divine Interruption”.

David on Jonah. Don’t miss the sermon notes!! And the links!!

Hugh Stephenson about 1 year ago

1 of 2

GM Lauren. Love your title linking provision to protection. Also your truth that He never makes a mistake in timing or placement.

Wow. Another super powerful message in such a short book; 48 verses.

Favorite take-a-ways:

I want His call to me to match my desire; rationalization rather than transformation, (Luke 9:23).

Disobedience always takes me in the wrong direction.

I am prone to rationalize my disobedience.

God can use my disobedience to take me down and spit me out into a NEW direction.

If I repent, God may relent.

“Grace for me but judgement for them” conveys a disordered heart. I am called to celebrate all lost sheep who are found.

My sinful nature wants:

Convenient compassion. Safe suffering. Painless perseverance.

Father, again I pray to know you so well that trust, surrender and obedience is as natural as

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