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Reflections From the Belly of Sheol

Updated: May 29, 2022

Jonah, Servant of the word of the Lord


Imagine being in a friendship where the other person only spends time with you or talks to you when something is going terribly wrong in their life. After that season of trials, they simply return to their daily activities until another difficulty comes around.

While you ponder on times that happened to you and maybe when you did that to others, keep in mind, that's how we approach God as well.


We spend more time with God in our distress than we do in joy.

We reach out to Him, hold on to the promises He gave us in moments of trials just like Jonah but our God is so loving that even in our distress, He orchestrates moments for us to pause and reach out to Him.


Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. God hurled him into the depth, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled around Jonah. All God's waves and breakers swept over him. The engulfing waters threatened him; the deep surrounded him, seaweed was wrapped around his head. To the roots of the mountains he sank down; the earth beneath barred him in forever. The Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah.

(Jonah 1:16, 2:3, 2:5-6; NIV, Zondervan 2020)


The God who Made the Sea and the Dry Land

Reflecting back on the earliest part of the story, my attention focuses on the sailors. Imagine being a sailor, or fisherman and thinking this night on sea was going to be like any normal day. Now, here you are, in the middle of a storm that your gods were too weak to do anything about so you had to try and rely on the things you knew that would prevent the boat from sinking. But that doesn't work either. They must've thrown so much cargo into the sea to lighten the ship. It's interesting how the worldly worries fade when your life is at stake.


The cargo must've been a week's worth of groceries for their family, a paycheck to pay an overdue bill or whatever it may have been, none of it mattered because they were trying to survive. Their desperation for survival led them to lean on Jonah's God, who they found out was much more powerful than the idols they worshipped.

In their distress, they cried out to the Lord, the God of heaven who made the sea and the dry land: