Belly of the Beast

Jonah 1:17–2:3 (NKJV)

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.

2:1 Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said:he heard me

“I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction,

And He answered me.

“Out of the belly of Sheol I cried,

And You heard my voice.

3 For You cast me into the deep,

Into the heart of the seas,

And the floods surrounded me;

All Your billows and Your waves passed over me.

This monologue of Jonah describes his anguish over being thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish.  His horror of being in this fish is evident, comparing it to Sheol (Hell).  He was in the belly of the fish three days.  The neat thing is how the text says that the Lord prepared a fish.  If not, Jonah would not have survived in the stomach of the fish.  This fish could have been any number of species, although some think that this could have been a whale.  Either way, God prepared this animal to house Jonah for three days.  It is speculated that he could have been affected by the experience, perhaps losing hair or having his skin and hair bleached by the acid in the animal’s digestive system.  This was a horrendous experience, from which he earnestly desires deliverance.

Jonah’s experience is one with which many people can identify.  Oh, no, not the overboard fish experience, but the experience of helplessness and impending doom.  Jonah felt as if he were in a no-win situation in the belly of the beast.  Without God, there was no hope.  Whatever situation you find yourself in, do not give up hope.  If God could bring Jonah out of the whale, He can deliver you as well.  God is a waymaker, a miracle worker.  He will never forget where you are.  He saw you heading there, may have even helped you get there (like Jonah), but will not necessarily leave you there.  You can find deliverance through faith in God.  Although the belly of the beast is unpleasant and harsh, it is often temporary and will pass.  If you call to Him from the terror, He will hear your prayer.  Be sure of the help of the Lord, even in the belly of the beast.

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