Taking it In
Jonah uses vivid imagery and poetic language here to describe his experience in the waters. From the waters that came over his head to the sea weed that he got tangled in you get the picture that he felt, and indeed was, drowning before the fish swallowed him. The “land” mentioned in verse 6 is undoubtedly Sheol, aka death, that was mentioned earlier in 2:2. This is the lowest point that Jonah could be in. It is important to note that when Jonah says, “I am driven aways from your sight” that it was not God that put him in the predicament he is currently in, looking back at the end of 1:3 we see that Jonah was the one who ran from the Lord’s presence not the other way around. The key word in this section of verses is the word “yet”. Jonah says this word twice in just a few verses and both times it is when he is feeling the farthest from God. The first when he is recognizing that he is not where God wants him to be, and the second is when he is about to die. Both “yet”s hold the hope and knowledge that God is taking care of him, that God is in charge of the situation.
Working it Out
When was a time that you felt far from God? Or like you were “drowning” and didn’t know where God was? As you look back at that time, ponder on the question “who moved?” So often we can feel like Jonah did and feel far from God or like He isn’t there for us like He used to be, but if we really dig in to where those feelings originated we find that we are actually the ones who have been removing ourselves from God. Maybe not consciously, but by not spending the time in the Bible that we used to or letting any number of other distractions get in the way of our spending time with Jesus we naturally drift away.
But Jonah doesn’t just show us what it looks like to drift away from God, he also helps to show us the way back. In this prayer he continually is quoting different psalms. He has memorized scripture and now it is coming in handy to remind him of God’s faithfulness. We can do the same thing. Instead of focusing on the feeling of “drowning” and wondering where God is, we can immerse ourselves in scripture that shows us that God is always with us and faithful to help us through the hard times of life.